Ainsley Janine “AJ” Colthurst isn’t a household name, but everyone knows her famous movie star father, Gabe. The world doesn’t know that AJ is a triplet, that Gabe is her father, or that Gabe is married. AJ’s parents decided to keep the kids out of the public eye and to keep their relationship private, which isn’t an easy thing to do when both parents are famous. The secrecy took its toll on AJ’s self-esteem and she’s currently estranged from her parents. AJ went through a devastating relationship and the pain still cuts so deep and she needs her parents, but she doesn’t know how to tell them the whole truth and still feels like she needs to protect someone they are close to. It certainly doesn’t help that her parents are separated, something AJ finds completely unacceptable, and she is going to do something about that as well.
Gabe changed his life in the 80s. He was on track to be a financial analyst, but modeling and then acting jobs had his career going in an entirely different direction. The one thing he always wanted was a family and he knew he needed to keep them away from the paparazzi. But those decisions are coming back to haunt him as his marriage, his family, and even his health are taking more hits than he is prepared for. The next order of business is to put everyone back together.
Unlike Any Other is the type of book that you have to go into not knowing much about it. The style is designed to keep you off balance from the start and then the pieces will slowly start to come together. This is not a new release and the book is the first in a five-book series, which are also all released now as well. The style reminded me somewhat of the TV show, How I Met Your Mother, where the end result has many stories to be told. It’s also not as much a romance as a retelling of a love story and then a look ahead to stories yet to come in the series.
AJ appears first and she is in a bad place emotionally. When a headline regarding her father catches her eye, she roars back home in a fit of rage to confront him. At first, it’s not clear what type of relationship AJ has with her parents. She is close to her two brothers, as they are triplets, and even though AJ hasn’t spoken to her parents in a while, she has kept her relationship with her brothers. Also, for a while we don’t know who Gabe is married to and who AJ’s other parent is, which brings us back to the 1980s.
The book alternates between present day, which in the book is 2015, along with a few years prior to that to learn AJ’s history, as well as 1980s for Gabe’s story. The time shifts worked fine for me as the story slowly pieces together for the full picture of where the family is today.
The style was an interesting concept, but ultimately didn’t quite hit all the marks for me. There is a lot of telling in this book; even during the flashbacks, it’s a telling style and there is only a small amount shown. I really needed more than the feeling of an overview to Gabe’s love story. The same holds true with AJ as she recounts her story to her parents and it’s all telling. I also had a more difficult time believing that the paparazzi never found out about Gabe’s life with the story talking about how often the media follows him, and reading about how he treated women in the 80s was less than appealing.
That’s all that can be divulged on this one as the style drives you to read on to see the story come together. I do like books that are designed to unravel the story in an unexpected fashion but, while I did like the story, the delivery left me looking for more from all of the characters. The characters are all interesting though and the rest of the series will see them all find their own love story.