Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Released: February 14th 2012
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
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. (from Goodreads)
I didn’t know a lot about Huntington’s Disease before reading Someone Else’s Life – I had heard of it before, but I definitely learnt a lot more from reading this book and I appreciated that none of the difficult parts were glossed over. I’m glad things were addressed in a realistic way that really made me think about life and what I’d do if I were in Rosie’s shoes.
Rosie was generally a likeable character, and it was easy to understand the difficulty she was going through. Her mother had just died, and she was terrified that she was going to develop the same disease and suffer just as her mother did. But then she found out the mother she’d known all her life wasn’t her biological mother. Rosie was safe from Huntington’s – but her entire life was turned upside down. I really felt for Rosie. She didn’t know who she was anymore and didn’t know what to do with her life. All she could really think about was her birth mother, so she set off find her with her ex-boyfriend Andy. After doing some research, she ended up in America. And what she found there was so much more than she was expecting. It was a lot to take in, and so much happened that it seemed impossible for Rosie to ever go back to accepting the life she had before. It did start to feel a little dramatic after while, with unexpected revelation after unexpected revelation, and I felt Rosie lost some of her appeal by turning into one of those characters that just apologised for everything every five minutes. However, I was definitely absorbed and read the whole book in one sitting, desperate to find out what would happen next and how everything would end up for Rosie and her family.
Andy, the love interest, was a decent character but I didn’t really grow to love him. He was very sweet and obviously cared a lot about Rosie, but I think he did some stupid things and got impatient with her a little too quickly. I understood that Rosie wasn’t being the best of girlfriends, but she was going through a lot and I felt like he acted a bit selfishly at times. That being said, it showed how his character wasn’t perfect, and I appreciated the realism – because no-one is perfect. We’re all human and bound to make some mistakes once in a while, and I think Andy’s character accurately portrayed that.
I really liked the chapters running alongside Rosie’s point of view; they got me intrigued and curious about the other characters in the story. We didn’t find out whose chapters these were until half way through the story, and I guessed wrong at first, but worked it out later just before it was all revealed. The plot was well-paced and though some things were a little predictable, there were also a lot of things I never would have guessed. It was great finding out the mystery behind Rosie and her parents, and where she really came from.
My only real complaint is while I was satisfied with the ending as a whole, there was one part that I couldn’t get over. Something was withheld from one of the characters, something I think was very important, and needed to be revealed. I definitely would have wanted to know about it if it were me, especially considering what the whole book was about in the first place. However, this is just my personal opinion, and entirely due to the kind of person I am. Many other reviews I’ve read don’t seem to be bothered by this aspect at all, so definitely don’t let it deter you from reading Someone Else’s Life.
Overall, Someone Else’s Life was a compelling, emotional read that I really enjoyed, and would recommend to fans of more serious contemporary novels.
I reviewed this for NetGalley, so included the US cover and publisher, but I thought I'd show you the UK cover too, because I really like it and because this is a UK based book blog. What do you think, which cover do you prefer?
UK book details:
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Released: February 2nd 2012