Monday, March 12, 2012

Book Review: Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale

SUMMARY: When 17-year-old Rosie's mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington's Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty percent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when Rosie tells her mother's best friend, "Aunt Sarah," that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie wasn't her real mother after all. Rosie was swapped at birth with a sickly baby who was destined to die.

Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, joining her ex-boyfriend on his gap year travels, to find her birth mother in California. But all does not go as planned. As Rosie discovers yet more of her family's deeply buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonizing decision of her own, one which will be the most heart breaking and far-reaching of all.


Most memorable about this book is how emotional it is. Intense and authentic, Someone Else’s Life ties together both life in England and the States in a great way. With very well rounded and developed characters, a hard scenario to start and an even rougher one to play out, and some awesome twists thrown in, this one is gripping and enamoring, and I seriously could not put it down.

Rosie is a great character, one who can be a bit selfish at times yet is also trying to make it through one of the most painful times of her life. Relieved to have Andy back, but also knowing how much she has messed some things up, watching her navigate everything is both poignant and real. I loved this girl, even at her worst, and truly wanted things to work out for her. Angry that the woman who raised her isn't really her mom, Rosie’s determination to find her real birth mom is understandable and well done. Though she does some underhanded things at times, and was infuriating at others, Dale easily keeps Rosie’s motivations and desires in mind and smoothes any reader annoyances out pretty quickly.

Andy is fabulous, charming and sweet and the kind of boy any girl would be lucky to have at her side. Caring deeply for Rosie, and also trying to make up for his own anger at how she handled things, Andy has some stellar moments and is a very memorable character. He goes through his own fabulous development, and the interactions he and Rosie share are endearing and fun. They play off each other, grow with each other, yet also have their individual elements, and Dale blends this perfectly.

The rest of the cast has its own wit and charm to it, and each character is distinct. Though some were bratty, and there was a little too much drama at times, the overall characterization is well done. Adding to this is the pacing itself, with something always going on to keep readers interesting. I couldn’t put this one down, even when I admittedly found myself rolling my eyes and feeling like it was too over the top and soap opera-ish. Underneath all that, however, is an emotional and sweet story, and one that I loved overall.

Source: Netgalley 
Reading level: Ages 14 and up 
Hardcover: 464 pages 
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 14, 2012

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