“Fresh and funny and satisfying. A terrific book about
sisters that actually made me laugh out loud.”
#1 bestselling author of In Her Shoes and Best Friends Forever
When Sarah Pekkanen (The Debutante Ball Class of 2010) introduced herself in the September 1, 2009 post, So nice to meet you!, she told a bit of her own life backstory before ending with these thoughts:
“I can’t tell you how honored I am to be a part of this sisterhood, and how awed I am by all the Debs that have gone before me. They’ve set the bar very, very high. I’ll do my best not to drag it down too much!”
Well, for those who may not know what happened last Wednesday, March 3rd, the Jennifer Weiner PRE-ORDER Book Giveaway was an Internet phenomenon (with sales for our Deb’s novel going far above Jen’s early recorded numbers) and that means tomorrow Sarah will officially debut as a bestselling author for The Opposite of Me!
Now how high has the bar been raised? And was this all pre-planned?
On her Facebook page, Sarah commented:
“I’ll be forever grateful to Jennifer Weiner for turning me into a bestselling author yesterday, a week before my debut even came out! Jen is the new Oprah!”
So how did it happen?
“Jen and I have the same editor, but this was all Jen’s idea – not our publisher’s at all! We’ve never even met, but Jen read an early copy of my book and has been following its progress. She just really wants to support other authors because she remembers what it was like to have her debut.”
A lovely and generous act of kindness more than jump-starts Sarah’s career as a novelist, yet it’s the book’s story that truly matters. Let’s take a look at what created such Praise (on the left sidebar) for The Opposite of Me.
Although the author detailed her thoughts for the storyline in this guest post — Sarah Pekkanen: In Her Own Words — she also offers a more concise backstory:
“As for getting my ideas, I’m intrigued by the notion of identity. How is it that we get assigned certain roles in our family – like the drama queen, the smart one, the funny one, the pretty one, even if those roles aren’t exactly right? I spun that idea around in my head for awhile and it eventually turned into the plot of my book.”‘
While many novels begin with “what if?,” The Opposite of Me began with “whys” about identity and sisters that evolved into this synopsis:
Twenty-nine-year-old Lindsey Rose has, for as long as she can remember, lived in the shadow of her ravishingly beautiful fraternal twin sister, Alex. Determined to get noticed, Lindsey is finally on the cusp of being named VP creative director of an elite New York advertising agency, after years of eighty-plus-hour weeks, migraines, and profound loneliness. But during the course of one devastating night, Lindsey’s carefully constructed life implodes. Humiliated, she flees the glitter of Manhattan and retreats to the time warp of her parents’ Maryland home. As her sister plans her lavish wedding to her Prince Charming, Lindsey struggles to maintain her identity as the smart, responsible twin while she furtively tries to piece her career back together. But things get more complicated when a long-held family secret is unleashed that forces both sisters to reconsider who they are and who they are meant to be.
In reality, Deb Sarah has two brothers and three sons — no sister(s) in her immediate family –, however she’s always wondered what it would be like to have a sister and fascinated by the rich, complex relationships her friends had with their sisters. When it came time to write The Opposite of Me, she allowed the relationship between Lindsey and Alex to be “as messy and loving and complicated and competitive as possible.”
And why not include those complexities because — after all — the bottom line to this story is family. In fact that’s where Sarah’s strength and warmth come from, simply read her December 1, 2009 post, Deb Sarah’s dayjobs to fully understand.
Also, to read more of Sarah’s writing, here’s the excerpt of Chapter 1 from The Opposite of Me.
As far back as October there was good buzz about this novel which The Divining Wand received in November and read in December. Yes it was a definite holiday treat since Sarah — with her natural gift for writing and engaging voice — told a refreshing tale of two young women searching for their identities. Sisters/twins, seemingly different yet nonetheless the same, are at a crossroads in life. Rather than rely on and share with each other, they take the avoidance path and create a refreshing, believable story. Seriously who among the closest of sisters shares everything and then to be a twin…well you too would want your own identity and personal role in the world, wouldn’t you?!
With vivid description, thoughtful insight, and clever narrative, Deb Sarah elevates contemporary women’s fiction to another level. The Opposite of Me is both smart and fun. Or, as Courier Mail (Australia ) proclaims: “…it’s a winner!”
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand will be giving away two copies of The Opposite of Me in a random drawing. Simply leave a comment on this post — by the deadline of Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EST — and you’ll be entered in the contest. The winners will be announced in Thursday’s post.