Monday, 12 March 2012

Review: Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale

Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale
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


  1. I've been curious about this book for a while now, and yours is the first review I've read for it. I love emotional reads! I'm definitely going to have to check it out. :) So glad you enjoyed it!

  2. I liked this one, but in the end it all got a bit too dramatic for me. A plot twist too far, I guess! Liked the writing style though. I prefer the UK cover! :)

  3. Okay first off: CONGRATULATIONS ON MAKING 500 FOLLOWERS!!! <3 Soooo awesome.

    And wow, I just did a project on Huntington's Disease... weird. I am definitely interested to see how all of the DRAMA (maaaajor drama it seems) affects Rosie. I can see why you would be annoyed by Andy... even when I'm watching a movie sometimes, I'm annoyed when characters are so impatient with people that have a ton going on :/ Glad you liked this one though! :) I'll have to check it out.


  4. Yeah I agree, it did get a bit too dramatic and I did get a bit fed up of Rosie's apologising. I really liked the end but can see why you'd want the answer

    The Cait Files

  5. First off I do agree that the UK cover of this one is much better. Normally UK covers put me off because they aren't as special but this one raises the bar.

    I'm not sure I could make it through this book. I use to read books many years ago about cancer and other diseases and while I loved them they were really emotional and hard to get through. I just don't think I'm up for that type of read right now but I'm glad you liked this one.

    Thanks for the great review!

  6. While his flaws didn't exactly make him lovable, I like that you say Andy felt very human with his imperfections. Shame that you kinda grew tired with Rosie at times, the constant apologising would get on my nerves too, I think. But overall, this sounds like an emotionally engaging novel and will definitely check this out at some point! Brodie needs moooore contemporaries. Fab review!

  7. I like the US cover more! But, I'm so happy you happen to review this one because I've been curious about it. I like the idea of a girl trying to find out more about her family, dealing with a lot. I don't know if I can appreciate Andy very much, but I can be understanding to his plight, and hopefully his flaws won't turn me off too much. Since you liked it so much, I plan to give this one a whirl and see what happens!

  8. I loved this book and I really liked the ending. I can see where you are coming from but I'm not sure I would want to know if it was me... I dunno, Its a lot to think about. I definitely prefer the UK Cover!

  9. This one is definitely worth a read if you want a break from the usual paranormal fare. Just be prepared for a bucket load of plot twists! :)
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