The Opposite of Everyone

In The Opposite of Everyone, Joshilyn Jackson (Gods in Alabama, A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty) revives a familiar place and character. Paula Vauss, a minor player in Someone Else's Love Story, is now front and center when she receives a cryptic message from her estranged and itinerant mother. Kai has always marched to her own tune, mixing Southern folklore and Indian mysticism. But now she is dying, and Paula, a fiercely independent divorce lawyer in Atlanta, must come to terms with the shocking surprise Kai has revealed in her final letter.

Exploring the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters and the sad reality of so many abandoned girls in the foster care system, The Opposite of Everyone is completely gripping. Paula's rigid beliefs about justice and loyalty (which don't always conform to society's rules), and her brusque manner of standing up for herself, make her an extremely enjoyable character. As Paula struggles to untangle her mother's legends from the facts and is forced to confront many memories from her childhood in a new light, readers will eagerly root for her to solve the mystery Kai has left behind.

Jackson's writing is elaborate, pointed and poetic, and it's easy to imagine the dialogue being drawled over a glass of sweet tea. Her ability to weave such disparate themes as Indian gods, ugly divorces, small-time pot growers and racial injustice in the South into a comprehensive and beautiful narrative is truly impressive. The Opposite of Everyone is a book to be devoured quickly, and then reread and savored. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

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