“Who hasn't wondered what alternate versions of their lives might look like?...As relatable as it is suspenseful cleverly exploring adulthood, identity, and shifting realities.”
—Margarita Montimore, USA Today bestselling author of Oona Out of Order
An inventive page-turner about the choices we make and the ones made for us.
One minute Kelly’s a free-spirited artist in Chicago going to her best friend’s art show. The next, she opens a door and mysteriously emerges in her Michigan hometown. Suddenly her life is unrecognizable: She's got twelve years of the wrong memories in her head and she's married to Eric, a man she barely knew in high school.
Racing to get back to her old life, Kelly's search leads only to more questions. In this life, she loves Eric and wants to trust him, but everything she discovers about him—including a connection to a mysterious tech startup—tells her she shouldn't. And strange things keep happening. The tattoos she had when she was an artist briefly reappear on her skin, she remembers fights with Eric that he says never happened, and her relationships with loved ones both new and familiar seem to change without warning.
But the closer Kelly gets to putting the pieces together, the more her reality seems to shift. And if she can't figure out what happened on her birthday, the next change could cost her everything...
Jeng makes her debut with an entertaining if lightweight Twilight Zone-ish thriller. Aspiring artist Kelly Holter is spending her 29th birthday at the Chicago gallery exhibiting the paintings of her best friend, endeavoring not to be too envious. Suddenly, she starts feeling unwell and heads to the bathroom. But once inside the bathroom, Kelly is somehow transported to another reality, in which she lives in Davis City, Mich., and is married to Eric Hyde, whom she remembers only as a friendly acquaintance from high school. While she's eager to find a way back to her real life, Kelly isn't all that disturbed by her new situation. That Eric has a friend working for a tech startup that's is developing a digital assistant that's "supposed to be smarter than anything that's come before it," makes the basic contours of what has happened to Kelly obvious. A lack of plausible emotional reactions undercuts the suspension of disbelief. Those looking for a more sophisticated handling of parallel worlds should check out Blake Crouch.