Dark Thrill Reviews: I'll be you by Janelle Brown

 Pretty Things was my favorite book of 2020, so I was more than excited to read I'll Be You. And the premise will make every aspiring writer jealous. Identical twins grow up in Los Angeles, where they play the same role on a TV show in typical Hollywood fashion. One adores the vagabond creative actors' life; the other detests it. The actress, Sam, goes the familiar young actor-in-Hollywood way, booze, drugs, roles drying up. The other, Elli, finally free of the acting lifestyle, gets married, opens a flower shop, and leads idyllic but ordinary existence. 

Until it all comes tumbling down. And the irresponsible twin is left to pick up the pieces.

This book has everything: a deep understanding of the envy, the love, the co-dependency of twin sisters, where love is ingrained in the sisterhood, but is then buried and forgotten by huge misunderstandings, a twisted need to belong, a trust that is overlooked, and exasperation that can only come from knowing another too well. Then we have that juicy Hollywood sheen, trashy and entertaining, and Spoiler Alert, a cult!

And, that is not all: in the midst of all this, there is a three-year-old girl, left behind by her mother, now the burden for the former drug addict. 

I love these sorts of upmarket thrillers that skew all genre rules. Because, of course, the heart of this novel pumps on the mystery of Elli's disappearance, and we have Sam (!) playing detective, looking for clues, even going out of state on the hunt for her lost sister. 

It is tense, moving, and insightful; the plot is masterful, and the characterization of this novel is, like it was in Pretty Things, out of this world. And I haven't read a more satisfying ending in a while.