The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen

The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen is about an empty shell of a woman whose career is her life and nothing else matters, other than being smarter than her twin sister, Alex, who looks nothing like her and is a beautiful model.  Lindsey is in line for a vice president position at her advertising agency in New York City when she’s outmaneuvered by a competing colleague who is not afraid to use her sexuality to get what she wants.  Cheryl’s down-and-dirty tricks shatter Lindsey’s hopes, leaving her twisting in the wind and rudderless after the announcement that Cheryl is the new VP.

“He kept hold of my hands as he rubbed his thumbs along my palms.  Doug made Bill Clinton look like a nun wearing a chastity belt at a Victorian tea party.”  (page 67)

While this may sound like the crux of the novel, it isn’t.  Lindsey is tough to like from the first pages with her obsessive nature and her workaholic personality.  It’s almost like she’s forgotten how to be a human being and interact with people beyond work projects and business dealings.  Although she knows the ins and outs of her job and refuses to play dirty, she also lacks the social skills to really connect with her co-workers and fails to have friends outside of work.  Her only friend is her colleague Matt, who she jokes with about Cheryl and other work-related things.  Once forced to start over, she heads back to Washington, D.C., and rethinks more than her advertising job.

“I put on my new black bra and matching panties, then slipped into my Rock & Republic jeans and black turtleneck.  The turtleneck looked simple and classic from the front, which made the flash of bare skin in the back all the more unexpected.  And my jeans hadn’t gotten any looser since yesterday.  I squatted and squeezed and shimmied my way into them, working up a light sweat.  On the bright side, if I wore them often enough, I wouldn’t ever have to go to the gym.  (On the not-so-bright side, I might be developing multiple personalities.  But hey, at least one of my personalities would be skinny!)” (page 174)

Pekkanen has created a dynamic that any reader with siblings can relate to, a deep-seated jealousy of what the other sibling seems to have.  Whether it’s Lindsey’s jealousy of her sister Alex’s beauty or the nuanced envy of her sister Alex for what Lindsey has, Pekkanen has created a set of characters with stories interwoven in a way that keeps readers in a state of anticipation.  What’s even more ironic is the job Lindsey lands once back home living with her parents and how much in common she has with the desperate people she meets.

In many ways, the title of the book is ironic because her sister is no more different from Lindsey than the clients she meets.  Each searches for the human connection that’s missing from their lives, whether that means connecting with their soul mate or connecting with their sister.  Lindsey’s clients help teach her to seek out what’s been missing from her life.

The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen is fun and serious, with a deeper message about finding confidence in yourself and your skills so that you can grab everything that life has to offer, even if it isn’t exactly what you planned. To answer Lindsey’s question about how you know which life is the right one for you: You Feel It. And Sarah Pekkanen has definitely chosen the “write” life.

About the Author:

Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally-bestselling author of the novels The Opposite of Me and Skipping a Beat and the upcoming These Girls, as well as the linked short stories available for ereaders titled “All Is Bright” and “Love, Accidentally.” For more information please visit her Website, Facebook, and Twitter.





This is my 38th book for the 2012 New Authors Challenge.