I’ll Be You by Janelle Brown, 3.5 Stars

As children, Sam and Elli were two halves of a perfect whole: gorgeous identical twins whose parents sometimes couldn’t even tell them apart. They fell asleep to the sound of each other’s breath at night, holding hands in the dark. And once Hollywood discovered them, they became B-list child TV stars, often inhabiting the same role. 

But as adults, their lives have splintered. After leaving acting, Elli reinvented herself as the perfect homemaker: married to a real estate lawyer, living in a house just blocks from the beach. Meanwhile, Sam has never recovered from her failed Hollywood career, or from her addiction to the pills and booze that have propped her up for the last fifteen years. 

Sam hasn’t spoken to her sister since her destructive behavior finally drove a wedge between them. So when her father calls out of the blue, Sam is shocked to learn that Elli’s life has been in turmoil: her husband moved out, and Elli just adopted a two-year-old girl. Now she’s stopped answering her phone and checked in to a mysterious spa in Ojai. Is her sister just decompressing, or is she in trouble? Could she have possibly joined a cult? As Sam works to connect the dots left by Elli’s baffling disappearance, she realizes that the bond between her and her sister is more complicated than she ever knew. 

I’ll Be You shows Janelle Brown at the top of her game: a story packed with surprising revelations and sharp insights about the choices that define our families and our lives—and could just as easily destroy them.

Advanced Praise for I’ll Be You

“An addictive thriller that will keep readers burning through pages . . . sneakily hypnotic.”—Los Angeles Times


My Review:

I’ll Be You has really got to be inspired by America’s favorite annoying twins…The Olson Twins of course! Although I suppose there have been plenty of twins in Hollywood, especially as two are needed to play the role of one child with a bigger role. Still, it was the Olson twins that I pictured in my mind as I read the book. Although it was also NXIVM that I pictured when it came to the cult, so really it was just a mismosh of all the fun Hollywood child stars.

There’s one thing that child stars have proven time and again. Growing up in Hollywood messes you up. It’s no different for Elli and Sam. One turned to drugs and one worked hard to build the most stable, “normal” life she could fathom. But neither escaped without deep psychological issues.

I’ll Be You is a compelling tale of two twins who are stuck in the downward spiral of having lived through a dysfunctional household. But it’s also the tale of the bond between two sisters and definitely worth a read.

Special thanks to Netgalley and Random House for an advanced review copy in exchange for my honest review. This one is out now!

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