Cover Image: All This Could Be Different

All This Could Be Different

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Member Reviews

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this book. This was such a quirky book with a protagonist who is VERY different from any other I've read. At first I thought it was going to be pretentious because of the strange style of writing and odd chapter numbering, but once I got over that I became fully absorbed in the narrator's life. A great coming of age story with complex queer characters!
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All This Could Be Different is an insightful book on friendship, love, community, capitalism, and coming of age. The narrator is a little like the leads in Raven Leilani’s Luster and Weike Wang’s Chemistry– a woman of color whose thoughts are unfiltered on the page in their honesty. Although, how honest the narrator is with the people in her life varies and has consequences. I found the book to be humorous and tender, fairly fast-paced with short chapters (perfect if you commute on the train). The final couple chapters felt a bit rushed for me–a lot of information compressed into a small section. Overall, I greatly enjoyed following the journey of the four main characters—the good and the bad. This book contains multitudes. The narrator, a South Asian woman living in the United States, lives almost a double life. The one in America where she is free to mould herself as she wants and freely date women, and the one in India with her parents with expectations she holds off at arm’s length. A new life and an old life at odds, but not entirely incompatible. There are moments of radical joy and humor amidst the difficult times individual characters confront in the face of things like addiction, coming out, racism. 

Highly recommend, especially to those who enjoyed Raven Leilani’s Luster and Weike Wang’s Chemistry.
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After graduating into the unstable landscape of the recession, S is lucky to move to Milwaukee for a new job. She’s balancing friendship, romance, community, and her own identity as an immigrant and daughter.
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Matthew’s put her whole foot in this book. Reading it you can tell this was a story she needed to write. It’s funny and tender and feels so much like I what I remember being in my early 20’s to feel like. S is deeply flawed and human and lovable. She’s queer and brown and worthy. She struggles and she carries on. That’s the book. That’s life.
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All that being said I was medium on this book. It went on too long for me. It lost its focus and started to meander in the last third. Some things happen but mostly it’s just a character/relationship study, which isn’t my favorite. It also felt sort of YA or New Adult to me in a way that seemed as if the author softened some of the jagged edges for the sake of audience.
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This book is a joy.  It's a quiet book about an Asian American woman in her 20s figuring out life in Milwaukee.  It's about work and relationships (romantic, platonic, familial) and the immigrant experience.  Sneha is a fully developed character with all of the nuances that real young people have and all the situations that real people face.  I holy enjoyed this one and am excited to see what Sarah Thankam Mathews come up with in the future.
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What a gorgeous debut. The relationships have such texture, the emotions are so authentic. I can't (and don't want to) put it into a box--it's a new adult story of lessons hard-learned; it's a love story to friendship and finding a way to not be alone; it's an immigrant story of never quite feeling on the inside; it's an anti-capitalist story of the ways in which leaders have failed us and no one will save us but ourselves; it's a queer story of self-acceptance denied and developed; and so much more. In this way, this book really has it all--but to me, it pulled it off without feeling like it was overreaching and trying to do too much. 

I was in love with every character and their nuanced relationships with one another. I was swept away by little things rarely done well in books--conflict faced and overcome, a feature of friendship without being central. There were so many sentences that were so gorgeous I was constantly stopped in my tracks to re-read them and let them soak into me. 

If you want a simultaneously raw but hopeful look at a queer Indian woman's post-college life as she finds her way to deep friendship, forging a path her own and not that she's been fed by others--one that's not always easy to read but that feels so fundamentally true that I wanted to bear witness, pick this up. Throughout this book, I felt privileged to have this access to Sneha's life and that of her people; I'm grateful to know her story.
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A complex, funny and moving coming of age story about finding work, friends, and love in the midwest. The narrator has a horrible landlord and boss but is able to survive thanks to her incredible friendships. The book addresses family trauma, assault, suicide, etc in a careful, thoughtful way. The book is not PC in how it handles the narrator's desire for a white woman or even her initial reaction to a non-binary person. The book is honest, fresh and provocative
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This was such a quiet gem of a book that I really loved. Everything about it was just so effortlessly but meticulously wrought, the characters vivid, relatable, and incredibly real. Sneha was the perfect narrator and a main character you can't help but root for in every sense of the word. She's messy, scared, uncertain, stubborn, yet wonderfully lovable. The queer relationships are heart-wrenching at times but authentic (and for once didn't make me want to throw the book across the room).

There's just something to refreshingly normal about All This Could Be Different. It doesn't make major waves, and that's part of the beauty of it. It's content letting itself exist as-is, offering up some big feelings and a lot of things to think about rather than being deliberately provocative or cliche. Unlike many of the other coming-of-age stories out there, this is the one that was not only the most enjoyable to read but also seemed the most genuine. Definitely a fan of Mathews' writing and would happily read anything else she publishes.
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All This Could Be Different is a compelling and tender look into the lives of a group of young people in Milwaukee, brown and queer and broke. Set in the cusp of the 2009 recession, the novel is more specifically centered around Sneha, a young woman reeling still from her father's imprisonment and later deportation. Sneha is not only navigating her family that has been broken apart, but a past sexual trauma, in addition to her foray into the pits of capitalism and a newfound sense of queerness. The novel is sharp, funny, heartbreaking. Matthews' prose, in particular, is something extraordinary to behold. Her sentences are never boring. Nor is the story she tells. I loved it.

Thanks so much for the publisher for the e-galley!
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