How Am I Not Myself? Multi-selves in Teen Fiction

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In the 2004 movie I Heart Huckabees, Jude Law’s character is asked, “Are you being yourself?, to which he responds, “How am I not myself?”. This becomes a penetrating focus phrase that he can’t get out of his head, and leads to the question: can you not be yourself? According to my recent reads, YES! Here are three identity-defying books where the main characters are essentially not themselves. Are the characters crazy? Not quite, but they are part of some crazy-good books though!

In one story, the main character wakes up in a different body every day. That means this person is essentially nameless, genderless, possession less, friendless… all while simultaneously taking on every aspect of the bodies he/she inhabits. Another story revolves around a world where two souls live in one body. In a third, our heroine is entirely herself… until she chases her father’s killer through various universes, becoming a different version of herself in each world.

Each of these books provide satisfying stories of action, adventure, and romance while also exploring the essential essence of self. The reader really gets to feel what it’s like to be someone else while experiencing the different selves of ‘A’ in Every Day. In What’s Left of Me, one of the twin souls falls in love. What would you do? Could you ever be “yourself”? Marguerite too falls in love in A Thousand Pieces of You, but is it legit? As the multi-verse Marguerite, she is herself, but also not herself. Would the Marguerite she’s inhabiting act the same way?

Dig into these creative questions by checking out these three books. While watching these characters struggle through the ultimate identity crisis, ask yourself: How am I not myself?

Every Day

‘A’ wakes up every day in a different body.  ‘A’ tries not to interfere with the life of the person being inhabited and never wants to get too attached because tomorrow will mean a different body and a different life.  Then one day ‘A’ meets Rhiannon, a person who seems worth spending every day with.  How can ‘A’ make her fall in love when it will seem to her as if she is meeting a different person every day, while ‘A’ remains the same inside every day?    

What's Left of Me : the Hybrid Chronicles

Addie and Eva were born to a world where two souls inhabit one body.  Eventually a dominant soul should take over, and the weaker one will disappear, except that didn’t happen to Addie and Eva.  Eva still lives inside their shared body, though she can no longer speak or move, but Addie knows she’s there.  It’s illegal to keep two souls and they must hide their secret at all costs.  Addie and Eva meet Hally and her brother Devon who show them how to let Eva gain control again, giving her the opportunity to have a shared life with Addie, but is it too dangerous in the world they live?      

A Thousand Pieces of You

This book has all the hallmarks of a great read: murder, revenge, romance…and parallel universes. ‘Nough said.