Book Review: I Now Pronounce You Someone Else

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan
Release Date: June 2010 
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Pages: 272 
Source: Publisher

The teen-girl fascination with weddings comes to fiction in this hilarious debut, as 17-year-old Bronwen Oliver plots her escape from her family . . . by marrying into someone else’s. Here Comes the Bride — If She Can Pass Chemistry. Eighteen-year-old Bronwen Oliver has a secret: She’s really Phoebe, the lost daughter of the loving Lilywhite family. That’s the only way to explain her image-obsessed mother; a kind but distant stepfather; and a brother with a small personality complex. Bronwen knows she must have been switched at birth, and she can’t wait to get away from her

The Short of It: I’ve been done with this one for a couple weeks now, but I’m still not sure what I think of it. I went in expecting one type of story and, honestly, got something completely and utterly different. It’s a cute story with a good ending message; one I liked, but didn’t love.

Plot: While I love the end message of this book, something about it has been nagging at me since I’ve finished. At first I thought it was the unrealistic aspect of being engaged and planning a wedding while being a senior in high school. Or how quick it was all happening or even how she was allowing her dreams and plans to be changed by another. But in the end, I feel all of this was a cover-up for what was really going on in her life. I wish McCahan had spent more time fleshing out the family problems. That was the real issue and should have gotten a bit more page time.

Characters: There were times I really liked Bronwen and other times I just wanted to shake some sense into her. Ok, mainly it was shake some sense into her. I hated how she allowed others to take control of her life, especially when it came to her mother. Even with Jared she let what she wanted be pushed aside for his desires. I hated seeing her create a fantasy life because she was so unhappy with her own.

Without trying to ruining too much, I will say once she stopped hiding behind the lies and fictional stories, I loved who she became. McCahan sent a strong, positive message to teenage girls with the road she took Bronwen down. In fact, the change is what made me finally really adore Bronwen. It was good to see her get to a healthy point in her life–one that included becoming who she wanted to be.

Romance: I have to admit I really enjoyed Bronwen and Jared’s relationship. Admittedly, it moved a little too fast, but they were still cute nonetheless. I found myself awing at some of their moments and secretly cheering for them even when everything went very wrong. Most of all, I love how McCahan shows that even when a relationship goes off track, it doesn’t have to be the end. I’m glad it wasn’t exactly a happily-ever-after, although, there was enough hope that one may be somewhere around the bend. I applaud for capturing the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to relationships.  It was nice to see a realistic look at the ups and downs and the messes a real romance can cause and leave behind.

Writing: Overall, I think the writing is pretty strong. However, there were a couple of spots that made me stumble/reread passages, mainly in regards to who was speaking and time continuity. While I can pass the who was speaking off to me reading late at night, the time issue bothered me the most. McCahan would describe how the characters did something, then would jump back in time and continue as normal. While I understand why it was done, it was hard as a reader to keep track of the timeline at times. And I know this is kind of small, but it drove me a little crazy, especially when I had to flip back and forth. Other than that I think McCahan has a great style of writing and would be willing to check out future books.

Librarian-Mode: This is going to fit best in with the realistic fiction crowd. While not exactly alike, it would be a good pairing with Twenty Boy Summer, Not that Kind of Girl, or The Karma Club.

So, now it’s your turn…have you read I Now Pronounce You Someone Else? If so, be sure to let me know what you thought.

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