The Opposite of Everyone: A Novel (Hardcover)
Joshilyn Jackson has a way of creating characters you would swear she must have met in real life. I have read her novels since her brilliant gods of Alabama, and The Opposite of Everyone is her best yet. Joshilyn’s truest gift is her language, the way she tells her story, and how she brings you on an emotional journey right along with the characters, making you laugh out loud along the way. Paula Vauss is a no nonsense attorney in Atlanta with a sort-of boyfriend and a mother she sends checks to each month. One month the check is returned with a message that drags her back into her childhood, to trace her mother’s journey, trying to find her before it’s too late. It’s a story about family, how we choose to present ourselves when we are adults, and how the person we are as children never really goes away. It’s also about forgiveness and second chances, and it’s one of those you wish were just a little bit longer.— From Kym recommends
"A must-read."—New York Times Book Review
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 bestselling 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 re-invent 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 fifteen 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 bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson at her very best.
“Jackson delivers another quirky, Southern-based, character-driven novel that combines exquisite writing, vivid personalities, and imaginative storylines while subtly contemplating race, romance, family, and self. A searing yet ultimately uplifting look at broken people who heal themselves and each other through forgiveness, love, and the power of stories.”
“The smart-ass, no holds-barred narration by whip-smart Paula/Kali… should please the many fans of Jackson’s snappy writing style.”
“Beautifully written, fascinating and deep, The Opposite of Everyone is another must-read novel by Jackson... Jackson has done a phenomenal job of weaving the past with the present and unfolding the story layer after layer. This is a masterfully written tale that readers cannot put down.”
“Part twisting suspense, part unflinching exploration of the world of abandoned and exploited girls...This is one of those books that keeps you up late reading, and distracts you from your day, as you yearn to get back to its pages. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”
“Inevitable, surprising, and beautifully layered… I loved this book and you will also.”
“Jackson excels at weaving a wholly absorbing story with vivid characters… [she makes] some affecting points about the importance of the stories we tell to each other and to ourselves.”
“The voice is hard-boiled and the plot engrossing in Jackson’s new novel, a realistic, contemporary story with a mystery driving it....This is an excellent read.”
“Joshilyn Jackson has written her most unforgettable character, Paula Vauss. I love her, I hate her, I want to yell at her, then laugh with her, then fight with her before drinking with her. But mostly I want her to be real. And I didn’t want her story to end.”
“The unconventional characters in Jackson’s books often provide thought-provoking studies of love and loyalty; this must-read also contemplates the transformative power of storytelling.”