As children, Sam and Elli were two halves of a perfect whole: gorgeous identical twins whose parents sometimes couldn’t even tell them apart. They fell asleep to the sound of each other’s breath at night, holding hands in the dark. And once Hollywood discovered them, they became B-list child TV stars, often inhabiting the same role.
But as adults, their lives have splintered. After leaving acting, Elli reinvented herself as the perfect homemaker: married to a real estate lawyer, living in a house just blocks from the beach. Meanwhile, Sam has never recovered from her failed Hollywood career, or from her addiction to the pills and booze that have propped her up for the last fifteen years.
Sam hasn’t spoken to her sister since her destructive behavior finally drove a wedge between them. So when her father calls out of the blue, Sam is shocked to learn that Elli’s life has been in turmoil: her husband moved out, and Elli just adopted a two-year-old girl. Now she’s stopped answering her phone and checked in to a mysterious spa in Ojai. Is her sister just decompressing, or is she in trouble? Could she have possibly joined a cult? As Sam works to connect the dots left by Elli’s baffling disappearance, she realizes that the bond between her and her sister is more complicated than she ever knew.
I’ll Be You shows Janelle Brown at the top of her game: a story packed with surprising revelations and sharp insights about the choices that define our families and our lives—and could just as easily destroy them.
What’s it about (in a nutshell):
I’ll Be You by Janelle Brown is a psychological thriller about the disappearance of Ellie and her twin sister’s quest to find her. It is a look at the power of the bond between twins and when that bond goes too far.
What I Enjoyed:
The writing gripped me starting at page one and kept me enthralled throughout the entire tale. I loved Brown’s writing style. There is a casual deliciousness about it, like being privy to a secret about a friend. I just couldn’t put it down even if I tried.
The twists and turns took me by surprise – each and every one. I always love to be shocked, and this story did that on more than one occasion. There is so much to this story. It is hard to tell which threads lead to the truth and which ones take the reader down a rabbit hole. I especially loved that the story didn’t utilize all the twin-inspired twists that I have seen in many other stories.
The characters are exceptionally well developed, and the differences are so apparent that it felt like I could even tell them apart on the page – that I didn’t need the visuals to be able to do it. They are twins, but they are very much their own individuals.
Lastly, I enjoyed exploring what it means to be a twin, the powerful bonds, and how that bond can lead each down a wrong path. It is hard to think badly of either of them because there is no doubt that their choices, good and bad, were born out of the desire to give the other one what she needed and wanted.
Samantha is the twin who loves to be in the limelight. She is bold and independent but has a drug and alcohol addiction that has been hard for her to kick. When she suspects her sister’s disappearance is more dangerous than she first thought, she puts that boldness to use and risks everything to get her sister back.
Ellie is the quieter twin. All she ever wanted was to live a normal life, but once she has it, she realizes that she is missing something, and her quest to find that something puts her in a lot of danger.
Reminds Me Of:
This story is unique for a twin psychological thriller, but it does have aspects that I have seen in other thrillers that I can’t mention for fear of giving some excellent twists away.
What I Wish:
I can’t imagine wishing anything to be different in this story. In every way, it was an excellent, enjoyable read for me.
To Read or Not to Read:
If you are looking for a psychological thriller that will hold you in its grip from page 1 and surprise you as you go around each corner, I’ll Be You needs to be the next book you pick up.