Paula Vauss, has the predatory grin of a wolf, especially when she scents weakness in an adversary. She is a partner in an upscale Atlanta law firm, her specialty is divorce, always a rough and tumble trade especially with the wealthy clients eager to keep all their assets her firm attracts. Off the books, she does pro bono work for poor women who got on the wrong side of the law. Paula is a tall, athletic woman, with a healthy appetite for male company and an abhorrence of commitment or ties. Other than her friend William, there are few people Paula truly trusts, very few. She has her reasons. Paula was born in Alabama, her free spirited mother Kai told her stories involving Indian Gods and called her Kali. Something shattered that life, leaving Kai in jail and Paula in foster care, something that makes Paula feel very guilty. She hasn’t seen her mother in fifteen years, but every month she puts a check in the mail, guilt money. The addresses change, Kai always did move around, but the checks are cashed, or they have been until now. This month a check is returned with a cryptic message, Kai has secrets that Paula needs to discover fast. She will have help; Birdwine is a big man, a former cop and a detective with a dogged insistence on finding truth. For a while he was one of Paula’s casual men friends, except he wasn’t taking it so casually and called a halt to their relations both personal and professional. As the story opens, Paula is intently re-establishing their working relationship, he is a fine detective and she values his skill. When her mother’s message is followed by more disclosure, she needs his help. Paula is a great character! Flawed, striving, able to be fierce, but also incredibly vulnerable and caring at the core. She is wonderfully complex and is perfect for Jackson’s lively, prose. There are lots of twists and turns, humor, and at its heart, a fine story.— Deon Stonehouse
"A must-read."—New York Times Book Review
A fiercely independent divorce lawyer learns the power of family and connection when she receives a cryptic message from her estranged mother in this bittersweet, witty novel from the nationally bestselling author of Someone Else’s Love Story and gods in Alabama—an emotionally resonant tale about the endurance of love and the power of stories to shape and transform our lives.
Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with southern oral tradition to re-invent their history as they roved. But everything, including Paula’s birth name Kali Jai, changed when she told a story of her own—one that landed Kai in prison and Paula in foster care. Separated, each holding secrets of her own, the intense bond they once shared was fractured.
These days, Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn’t seen Kai in fifteen years, she’s still making payments on that Karmic debt—until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a mysterious note: “I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how Karma works.”
Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother before it’s too late, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and into the deepest recesses of her heart. With the help of her ex-lover Birdwine, an intrepid and emotionally volatile private eye who still carries a torch for her, this brilliant woman, an expert at wrecking families, now has to figure out how to put one back together—her own.
The Opposite of Everyone is a story about story itself, how the tales we tell connect us, break us, and define us, and how the endings and beginnings we choose can destroy us . . . and make us whole. Laced with sharp humor and poignant insight, it is beloved New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson at her very best.
About the Author
Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including gods in Alabama and The Almost Sisters. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages. A former actor, Jackson is also an award-winning audiobook narrator. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her husband and their two children.
“Jackson delivers another quirky, Southern-based, character-driven novel that combines exquisite writing, vivid personalities, and imaginative storylines while subtly contemplating race, romance, family, and self. A searing yet ultimately uplifting look at broken people who heal themselves and each other through forgiveness, love, and the power of stories.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review), THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE
“The smart-ass, no holds-barred narration by whip-smart Paula/Kali… should please the many fans of Jackson’s snappy writing style.”
— Library Journal (starred review), THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE
“Beautifully written, fascinating and deep, The Opposite of Everyone is another must-read novel by Jackson... Jackson has done a phenomenal job of weaving the past with the present and unfolding the story layer after layer. This is a masterfully written tale that readers cannot put down.”
— RT Book Reviews (top pick) on THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE
“Part twisting suspense, part unflinching exploration of the world of abandoned and exploited girls...This is one of those books that keeps you up late reading, and distracts you from your day, as you yearn to get back to its pages. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”
— Susan Rebecca White, author of A Soft Place to Land
“Inevitable, surprising, and beautifully layered… I loved this book and you will also.”
— Sara Gruen, NYT bestselling author of At The Waters Edge and Water for Elephants
“Jackson excels at weaving a wholly absorbing story with vivid characters… [she makes] some affecting points about the importance of the stories we tell to each other and to ourselves.”
— Booklist, THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE
“The voice is hard-boiled and the plot engrossing in Jackson’s new novel, a realistic, contemporary story with a mystery driving it....This is an excellent read.”
— Publishers Weekly, THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE
“Joshilyn Jackson has written her most unforgettable character, Paula Vauss. I love her, I hate her, I want to yell at her, then laugh with her, then fight with her before drinking with her. But mostly I want her to be real. And I didn’t want her story to end.”
— Elaine Lui, founder of Lainey Gossip and author of Listen to the Squawking Chicken
“The unconventional characters in Jackson’s books often provide thought-provoking studies of love and loyalty; this must-read also contemplates the transformative power of storytelling.”
— New York Times Book Review on THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE