BookBrowse Reviews The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Discuss |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Opposite of Everyone

by Joshilyn Jackson

The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson X
The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2016, 352 pages
    Oct 2016, 352 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book



Tinged with elements of mysticism and Southern storytelling tradition, this quirky tale from a popular author proves that family and the power of love win every time.

Joshilyn Jackson's unconventional plots and powerful writing style are in fine form in The Opposite of Everyone, delighting many BookBrowse First Impression reviewers who rated the novel a strong 4+.

You can never really escape your past. It makes you who you are. Paula Vauss has had to reinvent herself so many times it is amazing she has become a successful lawyer. It is obvious that her upbringing has not only haunted and driven her but also held her back in ways she didn't necessarily fully understand until one fateful day when a letter draws out emotions that she never knew she possessed. The Opposite of Everyone is a complicated web of a story but one that will touch you to the core (SB).

Readers enjoyed the exploration of mother-daughter relationships

Having just recently lost my mother, I was caught up in the mother-daughter dynamics and how the mother, Kai, despite many shortcomings, always wants her daughter to be proud of her roots and succeed in life. The Opposite of Everyone is full of twists and is about finding the true meaning of family and real love (Amy M). When I first started this book, I wasn't sure if it was for me — new author, unfamiliar territory, etc. But the characters of mother and daughter and others are interesting and well drawn. I enjoyed the style of going back and forth in time and between characters and liked how all the loose ends are tied (Robin N). This book shows no matter what, family always wins out. The complications involved with dysfunction also prove that things can turn around with faith and hope (Mary Lou F).

The character studies are a strong point

The development of the protagonist, Paula Vauss aka Kai, is outstanding. The gypsy life she led with her mother, the strength she developed over the years, her acute insight in difficult situations, her ability to overcome all the obstacles to become a successful lawyer — this turned out to be a story worth savoring, and I did...down to the last word (Dorinne D). Joshilyn Jackson is terrific at melding the characters and giving the reader a feeling of friendship with each of them (Roe P).

Dashes of Hindu mysticism and Southern storytelling add to the charm

I love Joshilyn Jackson's writing. Her characters and plots, usually what I describe as quirky and active, seem even more so here. For this reason, I was not sure how I would take to this book — the first few pages were stranger than usual. But I am so glad I persevered. The diverse and deep themes of this book, delivered in frenzy and flashback, take us from southern culture to karma and may appear dichotomous at times, but in the end — and surprising that ending is — Jackson delivers to her readers one of her richest works in so many ways — one that is truly the opposite of what most everyone who reads it will expect but all will find deeply enlightening and satisfying (Susie J).

Some readers were ambivalent about the mysticism elements

Loved the bones of this book, just wish it had less mysticism (Teresa R). I am an impatient reader and always feel annoyed when a plot thread is interrupted for a flashback or in this case a mythological tale. Joshilyn Jackson is a skilled writer and in her hands this device is well done and makes sense. This was the best way to explain the characters and how their history made them who they are (Joan P).

The novel has all the right ingredients

Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue made this a great book! From the very first pages I couldn't put it down. The characters were so real to me, and their story was so believable that I felt myself immersed in their lives (Donna W). At first I wasn't sure Paula wasn't just another hardboiled detective/lawyer, but this novel is so much more. The suspenseful story of her current life and flashbacks to her broken family drew me in emotionally to the very end. I'm sure reading groups will find plenty to discuss here (Dona H).

This review was originally published in February 2016, and has been updated for the October 2016 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Tridevi in Hinduism

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Memories of the Future
    Memories of the Future
    by Siri Hustvedt
    I've never kept a journal, but my mother has written in hers for years, the annual volumes she's ...
  • Book Jacket: Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
    Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
    by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
    Rajeev Balasubramanyam encapsulates the theme of Professor Chandra Follows his Bliss in its first ...
  • Book Jacket: The Workshop and the World
    The Workshop and the World
    by Robert P. Crease
    The longest glacier in France, the Mer de Glace, is losing roughly 12 feet of ice height each year. ...
  • Book Jacket: Instructions for a Funeral
    Instructions for a Funeral
    by David Means
    Following a venture into novels with Hystopia in 2016, Instructions for a Funeral is a return to ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Greek to Me
    by Mary Norris

    The Comma Queen returns with a buoyant book about language, love, and the wine-dark sea.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    When We Left Cuba
    by Chanel Cleeton

    An exhilarating historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Fly Girls
by Keith O'Brien

How five daring women defied all odds and made aviation history.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Book Club Giveaway!
Win Ecstasy

Win copies to share with friends or your book club!

Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, author, daughter, mother, wife, lover, and muse.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

A B Penny A T U

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.