In Some Other World, Maybe

Originally published April 2015

Looking for a good Spring Break read? Fall into the world of Phoebe, Adam, Sharon and Oliver.

Shari Goldhagen’s “In Some Other World, Maybe” is the perfect beach/hotel pool/trip to your relatives kind of read. Not too heavy but definitely engaging—so much so, you’ll rip right through it in a marathon sun session.

Goldhagen introduces readers to her main characters in their servitude at different high schools—Adam, raised by his single mother and grandparents in Florida; Sharon, a quiet dreamer in Cincinnati; and Phoebe, having moved in with her dad in the Chicago suburb of Evanston for her senior year when her mom takes a job overseas. The connecting thread is a trip to see “Eons and Empires,” a movie based on a series of comic books, the focus of which is the existence of parallel/alternate universes.

Each are dealing with teen angst in their own ways, as Adam looks to escape to New York, Sharon to the movies instead of school and Phoebe to sunny L.A. The aforementioned Oliver? He’s there too, introduced as Phoebe’s first love. As their paths intertwine over the years thanks to the help of both the plot and peripheral characters, each makes small but profound decisions that forever alter the course of their lives.

Which leads the reader to wonder, “What if?”

We’ve all read these kinds of books before—this isn’t new territory Goldhagen is covering. That said, she tackles the theme with gusto, with a slightly soapy tinge that keeps readers interested in what happens next. Relationships that you think may crumble stand the test of time—those you want to work out, don’t, personal tragedy alters the path for some and ambition is always tempered by guilt.

I’ll be curious to know who likes the ending and who doesn’t—similar to a “How I Met Your Mother” kind of controversy, I’m sure there are people who will be thrilled with Phoebe’s outcome, while others will be insistent she should be with someone else. The romantic in me demands a flash forward.

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