BOOK REVIEW: Someone Else’s Life, by Katie Dale

someone else's life
Date(s) read: December 20 – 21, 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary


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When seventeen-year-old Rosie’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington’s Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty-per-cent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when she tells her mum’s best friend, ‘Aunt Sarah’ that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie was not her biological mother after all…

Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, hitching along on her ex-boyfriend’s GAP year to follow her to Los Angeles. But all does not go to plan, and as Rosie discovers yet more of her family’s deeply-buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonising decision of her own – one which will be the most heart-breaking and far-reaching of all…

My Thoughts

When I received this book as a RAK from Kelsey (over at Kelsey’s Cluttered Bookshelf) MONTHS ago, I don’t think I knew what I was getting into. This is the story of Rosie, whose mother dies of Huntington Disease. The only thing I knew about HD was from what I saw in the TV show House, and I remember that character going through many emotional struggles about getting married, having children, etc. because the disease changes a person and can be passed onto children. I couldn’t even imagine what it would feel like to think that you could one day go through something like HD after watching someone you love deteriorate from it, so I really felt for Rosie — but when she finds out that she’s not actually her mother’s biological daughter, I was completley thrown! (This may also be due to the fact that I just dove into the book without reading anything about it — seeing as it’s on the dustjacket and all)

This was a very emotional read and I liked how it was written. There’s an invisible voice at the beginning of the story, a character without a name. The mystery about that voice grabbed me right away and I wanted to know how it was connected to Rosie. I was also very interested to go on a journey with Rosie to find her birth mother. Of course, so many other things happen that I want to touch upon, but I don’t want to spoil the story! 

At any rate, this was a very good, emotional read. It wasn’t like anything I was expecting, which was a good thing. I enjoyed all of the characters and felt like they all had their own stories to tell — I loved seeing them interact with one another, as well as seeing how they all grew as characters as the story went on. My only complaint would be the length and the attitude of one character (who I don’t want to name, since I don’t want to give anything away!) — the turnaround for this character was a little too quick for me. There’s also a bit of romance, which seemed slightly forced. Part of me wanted the romance, but the constant yes-no-yes-no of the characters kind of got to me after a while.

Still, this is a powerful book and one that takes a reader from the UK over to America, seeing the perspectives of so many characters, and different families. It’s definitely well worth the read. And that cover — that’s what grabbed me right away! It’s definitely gorgeous. And while I had a few qualms with the book, this is still one that will stick with me. The scenarios in it felt real and I couldn’t help but try to read as fast as I could to get to the very end.



12 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Someone Else’s Life, by Katie Dale

  1. I’ve been on the fence about reading this one, simply because I thought it might be one step back from a “cancer book,” which I’m not a huge fan of on the best of days. However, your review makes this sound a bit more like a character-focused coming of age novel, and I’m definitely interested in trying that out.

  2. Oh man, this book sounds intense. You know, it’s like… it needs to go in the stack of books I look to when I want to feel sad. (Is that weird?)

    Also, I really love the cover. I’m such a sucker for hand-drawn lettering and doodles.

  3. Pingback: Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge (22) | Reading In Winter

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