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Every once in a while, I pick up a book that’s so compelling I just can’t put it down until I reach the last page. Sometimes it’s because the book is flat-out amazing; sometimes it’s because the book is good enough and the plot is amazing.
Un-put-down-able books, for me, have certain qualities: great characters, strong narrative drive, a premise that hooks me. The writing is often strong (though “serviceable” will suffice, if you know what I mean), and it can’t be so dense or challenging that I can’t read it while I’m sleepy, or mentally exhausted.
The second category for the 2017 Reading Challenge—for those of you who want to put the “oomph” back in your reading life—is “a book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able.” Why? Because it’s fun. (Well, it’s usually fun—but every once in a while you may reach the last page of a breathtaking book, read the dud of an ending, and hurl it across the room. Readers, you’ve been warned. And if this has happened to you lately, tell us in comments.)
Need ideas for this category? I polished off each of these 17 books in 24 hours or less, because I couldn’t put them down:
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From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold - with stunningly different results.
At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby's guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.
Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she's ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?
In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?
Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she's found him.
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