Ella wakes up one Monday morning and her bed is in the wrong place. In fact her whole room is wrong. Yet she’s still at home. Her hair is longer and her clothes are not her style at all. Her mum’s hair is grey. She appears to be a completely different Ella with a whole life she can’t remember. Yet she still remembers the Ella she used to be. Which one is real?
I liked the concept of When I Was Me; what if you woke up one day and your life was different? You’re still you but nothing else is quite right? Ella starts to question her sanity; she was told she was in a car crash, so maybe she hit her head harder than everyone thought? Or maybe she’s living a life that could have been. One decision can change everything…
It makes you think about identity and what makes us who we are. Teenagers are going through a huge period of change, friends come and go and it does sometimes feel like they have changed into another person overnight.
Ella’s amazingly self-centred and a tad arrogant. I think her character’s pretty realistic but I did find myself getting annoyed with her. What if it was a body swap where the other Ella would eventually return to find stuff had been done to her? Changing your hair and clothes is one thing, but there were other things that felt a bit wrong. Ella never considers this at all.
The truth is, I have already lived many lives in my lifetime; there have already existed more versions of me than I can count. I have been constantly changing, little by little, cell by cell, pore by pore. All these other transformations were so slow I simply didn’t notice them happening.
I’m not sure she’s the brightest spark either. I can understand being confused and disorientated, but even once she’s got the hang of the fact her life is different, she still goes around expecting everyone else is going to be the same. After the first few mistakes, it gets a bit tiring and predictable. On one hand, it’s going to be hard to separate her feelings from the new reality, but a bit of common sense would have been nice.
I want to avoid spoilers but I found where Ella is led at the end a bit on the icky side. It felt like taking advantage of a disturbed young woman but I suppose it depends how you read it. I did like the fact that there are multiple endings, different ways the story could go. Each one shows a different choice she could have made and a different path. Maybe they are all the dimensions that were created at the end.
When I Was Me is published by Hot Key Books and is available now in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.
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Also reviewed @ Page to Stage Reviews
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.
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