Your Perfect Life

A Novel

About The Book

Two childhood best friends wake up the morning after their twentieth high school reunion to discover that they’ve switched bodies in this hilarious and heartwarming debut by two childhood best friends.

With “a delicious, page-turning premise, and sweet and surprising insights” (New York Times bestselling author Jen Lancaster), Your Perfect Life perfectly illustrates that old adage: Sometimes, you have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes to see what’s in her heart.

Best friends since childhood, Casey and Rachel couldn’t lead more different lives. While workaholic Casey rubs elbows with celebrities daily as the host of Gossip TV and comes home nightly to an empty apartment, stay-at-home mom Rachel juggles an “oops” baby, two fiery teenagers, and a husband who barely seems the man she fell in love with two decades before. After an argument at their twentieth high school reunion, Casey and Rachel throw back shots to get the night back on track. Instead, they get a life-changing hangover.

Waking up in each other’s bodies the next morning, they must figure out how to navigate their altered realities. Rachel is forced to face the broadcasting dreams she gave up when she got pregnant in college, and Casey finally steps out of the spotlight to face the real reason why she’s alone. And they soon discover that they don’t know themselves—or their best friend—nearly as well as they thought they did.

Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke bring their “witty, winning style” (Sarah Pekkanen, author of The Best of Us) to every page of this novel that is sure to please fans of In Her Shoes and The Opposite of Me. Your Perfect Life is a story of humor and heart about two best friends, what they didn’t know about each other, and how, by switching lives, each learns to appreciate her own.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Your Perfect Life includes discussion questions and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

 
Topics & Questions for Discussion 

1. How did you interpret the title of the novel? Did switching lives show Rachel and Casey that the other’s life wasn’t as perfect as it seemed, did it make them see that their own life was pretty perfect as it was—or is the answer somewhere in between?
 
2. What do you think the book is saying about “having it all”? Is such a thing attainable? What does “having it all” end up meaning for each of the protagonists?
 
3. Who are the people in Casey and Rachel’s lives who seem most attuned to the shift in their behavior and personality after they’ve switched bodies? Who seems to most recognize that something is not what it should be? Consider the significance of these particular individuals—what does it say about each woman’s relationship with them?
 
4. As Rachel and John enter the reunion holding hands and smiling, she thinks, “It’s funny how quickly we can transform into the people we ought to be” (page 12). In this moment, Rachel “pretending” to be a version of herself that she doesn’t feel seems to have negative connotations. But when she and Casey switch lives, “pretending” becomes a necessity, and even leads to positive things for each of them. How does “faking it” ultimately prove to be empowering for both women?
 
5. On the surface, Casey’s life might seem more glamorous than Rachel’s. What are the cons of being Casey that you wouldn’t have anticipated? And what are the pros of being Rachel that you might not have recognized?
 
6. What are some of the hard truths about themselves that Casey and Rachel are only able to see once they switch places?
 
7. As her relationship with Audrey blossoms, Casey remarks, “The one thing I’ve learned since being her mom is that having a teenager is a bit like dating a new guy; you can’t let them know how bad you want it” (page 143). In what other ways do Casey and Rachel use experiences from their “real” lives to help inform the decisions they make while they are switched? What unique skills are they able to bring to their best friend’s life?
 
8. When Casey and Rachel visit Jordan, the psychic, she says, “You already have the answer to switching back and it’s right in front of you. You need to think about why you switched in the first place and that will lead you to how you switch back” (page 110). Discuss what enables Casey and Rachel to finally switch back. What had to happen for this to become possible?
 
9. Consider how certain dynamics and fixed roles can develop in long-term friendships. How did this apply to Casey and Rachel at the beginning of the novel, and how has it changed by the end?
 
10. Which of your friends would you most trust to take over your life? What is it about this person—perhaps their personality traits, or your shared history—that makes them the best suited for the job? Which friend’s life would you most want to test out—and do you think your answer is different having now read Your Perfect Life? Are these two friends one and the same, or are they different?
 
11. There’s an old adage that you need to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you can really understand them. In the case of Your Perfect Life, could it also be said that you need to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes to really understand yourself?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Bring your high school yearbook to your next book club meeting. Share how you feel you have changed since high school—and what you feel has stayed the same.
 
2. Rachel makes Casey a very detailed “How to Be Rachel” list to help her get through the days. Make your own “How to Be Me” list and consider sharing with the group. Try to think of everything that even your best friend might not know about your routine, your home, or your family.
 
3. Pretend that you are the casting director for the film version of Your Perfect Life. Who would you cast as Rachel and Casey? Who would play John and Charlie? What about Destiny and Audrey?
 
4. Speaking of films, consider watching one of the many movies that take the idea of “switching lives” as their central theme (Freaky Friday, Sliding Doors, Trading Places, The Change-Up, etc.). As a group, consider what it is about these kinds of stories that fascinate us so much. What desires do these narratives tap into? What do the common lessons of each seem to be?

About The Authors

Debbie Friedrich Photography
Photograph by Debbie Friedrich

Product Details

  • Publisher: Washington Square Press (June 10, 2014)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781476730585

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Raves and Reviews

“I loved this from the very first line (which will go down in history as the funniest, bravest first line ever). Hilarious, honest and truly touching, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke are two important new voices in women's fiction who write about life in such a real, relatable way."

– Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author of The Violets of March

"Your Perfect Life has all of the ingredients that I love in a book—relatable characters who make me laugh out loud, a delicious, page-turning premise, and sweet and surprising insights about the perfect life may be the one you've already got."

– Jen Lancaster, New York Times bestselling author

"Sassy, heartfelt, and smart, Your Perfect Life is a clever take on switched identities that will make you think hard about the choices you've made in your life and what matters most to us all in the end."

– Amy Hatvany, author of Heart Like Mine

"For every woman who's ever wondered about the path not taken, Fenton and Steinke mine—with tremendous humor and insight—the mixed blessing of unexpected second chances."

– Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, New York Times bestselling authors

“Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke blend their voices seamlessly and hilariously and remind us that even though the grass often looks greener under our friends’ lives, nobody gets happily ever unless they go after it. Your Perfect Life is clever, quirky, fresh, and ultimately, empowering!”

– Claire Cook, bestselling author of Must Love Dogs and Time Flies

“Liz and Lisa's voices are warm and comforting, like a relaxed chat with great friends while wearing cozy PJ's and sipping wine. I highly recommend Your Perfect Life!"

– Beth Harbison, New York Times bestselling author of When in Doubt, Add Butter

"Your Perfect Life puts a fresh twist on a 'Freaky Friday'-scenario: What if you switched bodies with your best friend, and got the life you'd always secretly coveted? I adore Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke's witty, winning style and gobbled up their debut novel."

– Sarah Pekkanen, author of The Best of Us

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