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The Opposite of Me: A Novel [Paperback]

Sarah Pekkanen
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 9 2010
Twenty-nine-year-old Lindsey Rose has, for as long as she can remember, lived in the shadow of her ravishingly beautiful fraternal twin sister, Alex. Determined to get noticed, Lindsey is finally on the cusp of being named VP creative director of an elite New York advertising agency, after years of eighty-plus-hour weeks, migraines, and profound loneliness. But during the course of one devastating night, Lindsey’s carefully constructed life implodes. Humiliated, she flees the glitter of Manhattan and retreats to the time warp of her parents’ Maryland home. As her sister plans her lavish wedding to her Prince Charming, Lindsey struggles to maintain her identity as the smart, responsible twin while she furtively tries to piece her career back together. But things get more complicated when a long-held family secret is unleashed that forces both sisters to reconsider who they are and who they are meant to be.

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The Opposite of Me: A Novel + The Best of Us: A Novel + Skipping a Beat: A Novel
Price For All Three: CDN$ 39.11


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Review

"Pekkanen's wry voice and engaging characters—the bumbling parents are especially lovable—keep things fresh" —People (3.5 out of 4 stars)

"With her smart, soulful novel, author Pekkanen explores the place where self and sisterhood intersect." - Redbook

"It's warm, it's whimsical, and it's a winner." --The Courier Mail (Australia)

“Fresh, appealing…the story is at turns funny and poignant.” — Booklist

“Pekkanen's involving debut is an honest examination of the limits we place on ourselves, with well-drawn female characters.” —Kirkus

“If a book makes you think and be introspective, well that’s magic, and The Opposite of Me has done just that. Pekkanen has hit the nail on the head with her unique premise and original observation on what makes us who we are…an absolute must read” —New York Journal of Books

“Fresh and funny and satisfying. A terrific book about sisters that actually made me laugh out loud. I was completely drawn into Lindsey’s world and rooted for her from beginning to end.” — Jennifer Weiner, New York Times bestselling author of Best Friends Forever and In Her Shoes

“Pekkanen's debut is heartfelt and richly drawn. With a delicate touch, she had me believing and sharing every laugh and every tear - it was a completely satisfying read. I look forward to more from this talented writer.” — Beth Harbison, author of Hope in a Jar

“Sharp-tongued. . .a spot-on portrayal of the existential dilemmas of young adulthood.” — Washington Post

"Sweet, smart, and funny" — Cosmopolitan.com

"This story hits the ground running and keeps going...an engaging read that delivers" —The Free Lance-Star

About the Author

Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally bestselling author of The Opposite of Me, Skipping a Beat, These Girls, and The Best of Us as well as a series of linked short stories for ereaders. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers. She lives with her family, including a rescue dog and cat, in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling and well-written debut June 22 2010
By BookChick TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Lindsey Rose feels like she's finally going to get out of her gorgeous fraternal twin sister, Alex's, shadow: after many long hours spent working at an advertising agency, she is in line for the vice presidency. She'll be the youngest vice president that her company has ever had, and she will have everything that she's ever wanted in life. One devastating night takes it all out of her grasp, and she heads home to Maryland with her tail between her legs.

Lindsey has always been labelled "the smart one", while her sister has been labelled "the pretty one", so Lindsey decides not to tell her parents that she has lost her job and everything that she has worked so hard for, and instead decides to keep up the charade that she is scouting out a new location for her former employer.

As if living with her parents and being unemployed isn't bad enough, Lindsey is forced to become involved with Alex's wedding plans to Prince Charming. Watching her sister, who has always had everything handed to her on a silver platter, preparing to walk down the aisle nearly breaks her resolve to re-invent herself. However, when an old family secret is revealed, and when Alex faces some unexpected challenges, Lindsey and Alex discover that things are not always what they seem to be and they both come to see themselves and their role in their family in an entirely new way.

I love "The Opposite of Me"'s gorgeous cover. I mean, I'm not one to generally judge a book by its cover and all that, but it certainly helps when the cover is as appealing as this one! The picture on the cover is of the back of the heads of two women, one a brunette and one a redhead, and when we learn that Lindsey is a brunette and Alex is a redhead, it made sense.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Lydia - Novel Escapes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I liked The Opposite of Me, but I'm afraid I didn't love it as much as I wanted to. There are rave reviews for this debut, but unfortunately I was disappointed. Pekkanen's writing has been compared to Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin, and while I could see that, it fell flat with me for several reasons. I don't know if it was because of all the hype surrounding this release, but it definitely didn't blow me away as much as Jennifer Weiner's Good In Bed, but then again, not much could live up to one of my favourite chick lit novels.

I really enjoyed Pekkanen's voice. It was fresh and felt like a friend was telling me a story which made the novel easy and fun to read. The first part of this chick lit tale, set in New York City, flew by and I felt the frantic life Lindsay led with her long hours and pressure to advance her career. When she moved home, I immediately felt the change of pace and thought this was very well done by Pekkanen because it was such a dramatic change. The beginning of this novel had me hooked, but it was once she left for home that things started unravelling for me.

I became annoyed at Lindsay's jealousy of her sister and at times didn't understand it, maybe because we weren't shown any actual interactions with Alex for such a long time so I couldn't see firsthand why she felt this way. I don't have any sisters, so was left wondering if that's why I couldn't relate, but Kathryn does and she felt similarly. And to be fair, I actually didn't relate much to Weiner's In Her Shoes either, so maybe novels about sisters don't engage me much.

This chick lit tale wasn't as predictable as I feared it might be part way through, which was nice, and I enjoyed several of the other characters, but found they were lost in the shuffle.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and entertaining May 20 2013
By Swimmer
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed this book - it was entertaining and I could definitely see what motivated the characters and how we all think we know our families so well but often we don't know everything about them. Lindsey was fun and I liked that she realized she needed to let go of some things and that dwelling on the past can stop you from enjoying your present or future. I also liked that she didn't know everything and learned from her mistakes. The serious part of the story felt well integrated and not just a plot device - it felt natural. Will definitely look for more from this author.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Similar to Sophie Kinsella's writing Dec 29 2010
By C. B.
Format:Paperback
I had no idea what to expect with this book, didn't even know what it was about; I just bought it based on the cover! I was surprised with how much I enjoyed it. I'm a fan of Sophie Kinsella and I found the writing style similar. There isn't as much humour as with Kinsella's books but all in all it was a good read and I will definitely read more from this author.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  110 reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT book! March 11 2010
By WriterCrys - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love the whole premise of this book - how the roles we are given when we are growing up stick with us. In this case it's about two sisters (fraternal twin sisters here) - one who is the smart one, and one who is the pretty one. Having grown up with two sisters, I can totally relate to the labels that our own parents, teachers, family and friends gave us. My whole life (even now into my thirties), I've been defined by those labels put on me (and the same for my sisters) when we were young.

This novel is about how Lindsay (smart one) and Alex (pretty one) begin to understand that those roles they were given, which caused them to feel very opposite of each other, may not be who they truly are, definitely not all they are, and that they have more in common than they thought.

Sarah Pekkanen has a fresh and funny voice, I laughed out loud many times and could relate to both sisters who were adoringly flawed and fantastic. The premise is that Lindsay, who was working in NYC at a high powered ad agency, gets fired (thanks to a comical bad decision and scenario in the boardroom) and goes back home to Maryland to get her ducks in a row. Back home, her beautiful sister Alex, who seems to have it all, is getting married to a gorgeous, rich prince charming. There's also the old high school flame and the very funny parents. Things unfold in a humorous way, at a good pace and even when things get serious and the story turns in a way that's unexpected, Pekkanen has the gift of balancing the right amount of humor and heart.

You will LOVE this book... If you love Jennifer Weiner, Emily Giffin and Allison Winn Scotch, then be sure to embrace Sarah Pekkanen because I believe her career in women's fiction (fun, relatable and real stories for women) is just taking off.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE this book! March 11 2010
By Liz Fenton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I Loved this book! I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance copy and was hooked from page one, when we are thrown into the life of ambitious advertising exec Lindsey Rose as she prepares to receive the promotion of a lifetime.

When things don't work out exactly as planned, Lindsey is forced to move back in with her parents and face the many issues she has with her seemingly perfect twin sister.

Poignant and funny, THE OPPOSITE OF ME is a must read for any Giffin or Weiner fan. I couldn't put it down!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Would've been great if not for the cliche sob story Feb. 28 2011
By endlesswonderofreading - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Okay, so I've got a crapload of sisters. I have two older sisters and two younger sisters (although the youngest sister is 16 years younger than me and only six so she really doesn't fit into the competitive mold), so I understood the relationship between Lindsey and Alex perfectly. While my sisters and I have all gotten over the whole competitiveness a few years ago, I still remember when it was rampant during our teenage years and it was FIERCE! So, again, I identified with Lindsey on that and that was why originally I intended to give this book five stars. But then, it turned for me.

I liked The Opposite of Me for the most part, but in the beginning I thought that it was wonderful. I loved it and couldn't wait to get back to it when I put it down. I just loved Lindsey and was so curious about her relationship with Alex. But then the sob story happened. I'm sorry, but does EVERYTHING have to have a sob story?! Don't get me wrong, I don't want the very few chick-lits I read to be all fluffy and airless, it's just that that particular sob story has been done to death. I would've preferred a different sob story, one that doesn't happen in every other women's fiction/chick-lit book. And another thing: that HUGE family secret? A bit on the disappointing side and just made Alex seem more like a Mary Sue. And I don't like Mary Sue characters. At all. Also, I didn't buy that crap that Alex said (very mild spoiler here) about not knowing that Lindsey was jealous of her. No one is that oblivious.

Now that I got that off my chest, I have to say that I did like some of the other aspects of The Opposite of Me. I loved the whole dating service storyline. I thought that it was actually a good way to have a dating service. I also adored Lindsey's parents. They were just so cute and hilarious. Speaking of hilarious, Matt was also great. Such a sweet and great friend. Basically, all of the supporting characters in this book were good. Plus, this book was a major (and I do mean MAJOR cause even when I was complaining about it, I couldn't put it down) page-turner. I basically read it in one day in breaks between my classes.

So, regardless of my little rant above, I did like The Opposite of Me. I thought it was pretty funny and pretty sweet if a bit predictable. However, I would've liked it more if it had been sans big sob story and a little more about the sisters dealing with their issues without that major thing prompting it.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book!! March 24 2010
By Ocean Lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just finished The Opposite of Me: A Novel by Sarah Pekkanen and I absolutely loved this book. The author did an incredible job of describing the competition that occurs between sisters no matter how much they love each other. It had wonderful insight into what siblings are really feeling. I was drawn to the main character Lindsey and became her biggest cheerleader. I wanted her to find happiness, success and herself. When a crisis in her sister's life occurs and brings her closer to her twin you see them grow in new and wonderful ways. I am definitely going to share this book with my sister. Highly recommend this book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book! Aug. 22 2014
By Regina Niesen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Goodreads Description- Twenty-nine-year-old Lindsey Rose has, for as long as she can remember, lived in the shadow of her ravishingly beautiful fraternal twin sister, Alex. Determined to get noticed, Lindsey is finally on the cusp of being named VP creative director of an elite New York advertising agency, after years of eighty-plus-hour weeks, migraines, and profound loneliness. But during the course of one devastating night, Lindsey’s carefully constructed life implodes. Humiliated, she flees the glitter of Manhattan and retreats to the time warp of her parents’ Maryland home. As her sister plans her lavish wedding to her Prince Charming, Lindsey struggles to maintain her identity as the smart, responsible twin while she furtively tries to piece her career back together. But things get more complicated when a long-held family secret is unleashed that forces both sisters to reconsider who they are and who they are meant to be.

First of all, I have to say that this book starts off very slowly. So much so that I almost gave up. But OMG...I am SO glad that I didn't because I really would have missed out on a really good book. I have to say that I am really shocked to find myself giving a book that started out the way it did 5 stars! The novel really picked up at about page 150 in the trade paperback edition. Then it took off and flew! I am excusing her slow start to the fact that this is her debut novel, but if this is the only problem then I simply cannot wait to read more of her writing as it matures.

I thought that the relationship between Lindsay and Alex very real. When you have two daughters, especially fraternal twins, there is most definitely going to be comparisons and jealousy especially when one, Alex, is obviously much more beautiful than the other. Of course Lindsay is going to feel ignored and almost invisible behind the shine of not only Alex's looks but magnetic personality. This is just real relationship stuff between sisters and anyone who has sisters, and it doesn't have to be a twin, has felt jealousy at some point of the other. And it definitely goes both ways. As Lindsay finds out throughout her transformation in the book and her renewed relationship with Alex, Lindsay realizes that Alex was jealous of Lindsay's academic abilities. Alex wished she lived an independent life in New York with a high powered job in a big time ad agency, but Lindsay was so wrapped up in her own feelings to ever realize that Alex may have some of the same feelings toward her. Alex and Lindsay were so real and fully developed that I felt like they could be members of my own family. I understood exactly what they were feeling and the problems that were keeping them apart. It's was just a shame that it took such a major event to get the sisters talking again and re-inventing their relationship.

One another note, I absolutely loved Alex and Lindsay's parents. They provided great comic relief during some tough times during the book. They were portrayed perfectly as an long happily married couple who bickered and fought hilariously throughout the book! They were great!

The major event that got the girls talking again was a mind blower. I can't say much more because I don't want to spoil the book but it was written with such love and bittersweetness. This was when the sisters truly started to re-connect. It felt so real and it truly touched my heart.

I can't say enough about this book! It was fantastic! I had my doubts at the beginning but the author redeemed herself with an excellent comeback with a wonderful story and beautiful writing with characters that were true and real. I highly recommend this book! Just stick with it if you are having trouble at the beginning. Trust me...it gets so much better. 5 stars!
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