An ISTJ through and through, I have some rules for myself and books. Sort of a flow chart type of deal. If it ends up on my Goodreads to-read list for some reason (intriguing CBR review, loved another of the author’s books so much I added their entire catalog to the list, it looked interesting at a bookstore, recommendation from my Granny), it will be checked out from the library (if you think I don’t have a system for randomizing which one’s up next, you’ve never met an ISTJ). Even if I can’t remember why the hell it would’ve ever appealed to me.
Once I have it, I have to read the first chapter (in the occasional book without formal chapters, 10 pages). If I love it, great. If I hate it, great. If it just hasn’t grabbed me, I do a couple things.
That’s where I was with Why Can’t I Be You, in which Jenny Shaw – newly and unexpectedly single, carrying around a lot of childhood trauma, generally underwhelmed by her life – attends an out of state work conference in the same hotel as a high school reunion. She’s mistaken for Jessie Morgan by a reunion-goer, the woman’s larger than life high school best friend who disappeared at graduation and was never heard from again. Jenny goes with it, and falls into Jessie’s old group of friends for a while.
The logistics of this (she looked that much like Jessie, really? not knowing any of Jessie’s memories?) are actually handled in a way that was satisfactory for me, but I was just not feeling it. I’ve never cared about the life-swap genre at all. I was underwhelmed by the first chapter.
In this case, the first thing I do is the page 69 test. Page 69 isn’t usually deep enough into a book to have any major spoilers, but the table setting is out of the way and you can get a sense of the book. Page 69 was actually…really good.
I still wasn’t convinced. The next thing to do is check the Goodreads reviews and see if a lot of people have felt the same as me. I figure if my issue with the book is a common complaint, it probably won’t get better. But…Goodreads loved it.
I reluctantly continued and I’m so glad I did. This book ended up just amazing. The character development truly surpassed what I expected from the genre, there were some genuine insights about being an adult who had a shitty childhood, and I loved the inevitable romance. I was so pleasantly surprised and it totally validated my whole system.