Bronwen Oliver does not fit into her fractured family. Her mother is emotionally distant and never talks about Bronwen’s father, who died when she was six, and she worships Bronwen’s older brother, who is equally distant and silent about the subject. Bronwen and her stepfather were once close, but the years and a rocky middle school experience have pushed them apart. Bronwen feels so out of place, she even used to dream about her fantasy “other family”, from whom she was separated at birth. But then she meets Jared Sondervan, and quickly falls in love. He and his family are exactly what she dreamed a Real Family would be like, and Bronwen desperately wants to be a part of it, which is why when Jared proposes on her 18th birthday, she accepts…and sets the big date for only three months after graduation.
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else is a lot of different things at once: humorous, sad, heartbreaking, romantic. Bronwen is a smart and upbeat character, but her home life is less than perfect, making Jared akin to her savior and the rest of the Sondervans seemingly perfect. The chemistry between Bronwen and Jared is hard to resist, and their romance is definitely one of the best parts of the story. As their relationship blossoms, Bronwen begins to feel comfortable with herself and her confidence grows. Though you are continuously rooting for them, once the couple decides to get married the summer after Bronwen graduates, their relationship changes, and it becomes evident that they are both sacrificing their dreams and individuality for the sake of being together.
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else is a bit of a cautionary tale as it demonstrates to readers that ignoring the real problems, like Bronwen’s pent-up feelings toward her stepfather, and her family’s lack of communication, can have adverse affects on the rest of your life as well. McCahan handles all of these issues quite well though, and though the ending doesn’t leave everyone full of bliss, the solutions are practical and healthy. Readers leave Bronwen with a lot of hope for the future and a much stronger person. Full of lots of laughs, heartbreak, and some most excellent romantic settings, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else is a realistic book that you can easily fall into and enjoy.
Tirzah Price is a sophomore at Ferris State University and blogs regularly at thecompulsivereader.com. If not reading or writing, she is most likely lurking around Twitter @compelledtoread.