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Publisher's Summary

A fiercely independent divorce lawyer learns the power of family and connection when she receives a cryptic message from her estranged mother in this bittersweet, witty novel from the nationally best-selling author of Someone Else's Love Story and Gods in Alabama - an emotionally resonant tale about the endurance of love and the power of stories to shape and transform our lives.

Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with Southern oral tradition to reinvent their history as they roved. But everything - including Paula's birth name, Kali Jai - changed when she told a story of her own - one that landed Kai in prison and Paula in foster care. Separated, each holding secrets of her own, the intense bond they once shared was fractured.

These days, Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn't seen Kai in 15 years, she's still making payments on that karmic debt - until the day her last check is returned in the mail along with a mysterious note: I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how karma works.

Then Kai's most treasured secret literally lands on Paula's doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother before it's too late, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and into the deepest recesses of her heart. With the help of her ex-lover, Birdwine, an intrepid and emotionally volatile private eye who still carries a torch for her, this brilliant woman, an expert at wrecking families, now has to figure out how to put one back together - her own.

The Opposite of Everyone is a story about story itself, how the tales we tell connect us, break us, and define us and how the endings and beginnings we choose can destroy us...and make us whole. Laced with sharp humor and poignant insight, it is beloved New York Times best-selling author Joshilyn Jackson at her very best.

©2016 Joshilyn Jackson (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Joshilyn Jackson's abilities extend beyond her writing - insightful, funny, and poignant - to her narration. She breathes fiery life into Paula...she creates touching scenes and builds suspenseful twists, capturing the listener's complete attention and admiration." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Janice
  • Sugar Land, TX, United States
  • 06-27-16

Goddess of destruction and rebirth

I hesitated to select this story because its main character was a supporting (and largely unappealing) character in Jackson’s last book (Someone Else’s Love Story) which was not one of my favorites, although not bad. But the reviews have been good and I am fan of JJ’s, so I took the gamble – and it’s a winner.

Much in the way Fredrik Backman made us understand Britt-Marie, Jackson has pulled back the curtain and revealed the source of Paula’s steel edge and high wall against the world. With an unerring comprehension for navigating the stormy rapids of the mother-daughter relationship, Jackson gets to the heart of the emotionally devastating rift between Paula and her mother (Kai) and how that has shaped both their lives for 15 years of yearning silence. Although Paula has built a prosperous and independent life for herself, a sad little girl still whispers inside her, and when Kai swings a wrecking ball, Paula’s inner child finds full voice, setting her on a new life journey with two very different companions who both love her in very different ways, and have much to teach her about the meaning of family.

As with all of JJ’s books, there is quirkiness, humor, serious reflection, and tears of sadness and of joy. In other words, there is life. This is probably my favorite of JJ’s since A Grown Up Kind of Pretty.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amy
  • MOBILE, AL, US
  • 02-20-16

I love Joshilyn Jackson's way with words.

Joshilyn Jackson spins a Southern yarn like no one else. The way she tells it will leave you spellbound.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Adored this book!

Buy this book--NOW. It will knock you out & Im a tough literary critic. Every single word is a gem, not a wasted sentence from beginning to end.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story!

I have enjoyed everything she has written and this new story is no exception! She is a master storyteller. I hated for the story to end. Can't wait for the next one!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda
  • Salem, OR, USA
  • 02-27-16

Poetic and mesmerizing

Joshilyn Jackson has become a favorite author. She can spin a tale with poetic metaphor and simile as well as building characters who either jump into your heart or repel you. All her books look at modern life through the eyes of flawed women who work to make sense if their world. This one is no exception. I'm a very relational person and by the end of each book I want to call on these characters and check in with them. I miss them when the story is over.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Love the books!

Awesome narration, love she reads
her own books! Love her books, can't wait for the next one.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Skeptical for first 15 minutes

At first I didn't see where this was going but as it went on it was another winner by Jackson! She seamlessly goes back and forth between the troubled past of this woman and her mother and her perfect but not so perfect present. I'm guessing this author has mother issues as there is always a mother/daughter conflict in most of her books but hey I can relate at times! Great read/listen!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Paula, Paula, Paula

I rarely write reviews, but I felt I had to with this one. I won't bore you with a recap of the book. The Publisher's publisher's summary is sufficient. I have read and listen to all of Joshilyn Jackson's novels. Her books provide me with characters that I adore. She creates beautiful, deep characters with lovely, yet redeeming flaws - people you want to spend more time around. After I finish each of her books, I go into a slight morning period. By the time I finish her books, I feel so connected with her characters that they feel like my real friends. (Weird, perhaps) And, I miss them when our story finishes. This book was no different. If you haven't read or listened to Someone Else's Love Story, I recommend that you do so first. We met Paula first there, here we learn all about her in center stage.

This book was such a rough one for me. I cried at the end. I loved getting down deep inside Paula, learning what happened during her life to shape her into the woman she is today. And, I loved watching her blossom and grow through this journey. The tone of this book, while still full of fun quirky Joshilyn phrases, was definitely heavy.

As for narration, I love Joshilyn's voice and the way she brings her pages to life. She is definitely the only person who should be narrating her books. I doubt another narrator could bring them to life in the same manner.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another incredible book!

I have read and loved all of Jackson's previous books so I could hardly wait for the release of this one. It did not disappoint me. Another beautifully told story. Narration is great too.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not her best

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I am about 3/4 of the way through this one and I am having problems even wanting to finish it. The story is good but getting to the story through all the flowery descriptions that to me were off the track and the going back and forth from past to present makes it hard to stay focused. I have had to go back and listen to parts of it again because my mind wandered since it did not hold my attention. I have loved all her other books, would give most of them 5 stars, but I just couldn't get into this one. It was like a movie that you come out of and say they could have cut 30 boring minutes from it if they just cut to the chase. It had a lot of extra "stuff" that didn't make sense to me and had nothing to do with the story itself. I noticed from other reviews that the way she read it bothered a lot of people but I found nothing wrong with the narration.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful