Book Review: Someone Else’s Life

Title/Author:  Someone Else’s Life by Katie Dale

Genre:  Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic, Medical

Published:  February 14th, 2012 by Random House Children’s Books, Delacorte Press

Advanced E-Book Copy, 464 pages

How I Got This Book:  Received as ARC through NetGalley

Why I Picked It Up?:  It was
compared to Jodi Picoult and Lurlene McDaniel, two authors who I have read A LOT of.  So it peaked my interest.

Book Jacket Blurb:  “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.”

My Review of this Work:

This novel is not what I expected in the least.  Though that is probably due to the fact that I hadn’t read a blurb about it sense I received it for review from NetGalley.  Needless to say, this novel surprised me, though I must admit, it was a surprise for the worse.  The premise of this novel sounded good, but the more I read, the more I just….lost it.

The novel opens up in Rosie’s emotional world, full of loss and anger and emptiness.  She has just lost her mother to Huntington’s Disease, the no-cure illness that deteriorates the body and the mind.  At the age of 16, Rosie drops out of school to become the full-time caregiver for her mother, and now, a year and a half later, she is all alone.  She put her life on hold to take care of her mom, and now she doesn’t know what to do.  Except get herself tested for this mutated gene, which actually leads to her finding out that she was not her mother’s child–she was switched at birth by her “Aunt Sarah”, next door neighbor and nurse at the hospital where she was born, because her not-real mother’s baby was dying.  And so, determined to find her real parents, she sets out on a journey that leads her to the USA with her boyfriend, Andy.

Miraculously, she stumbles upon the woman that she determines is her mother–a glamorous soap opera star.  But Rosie is immediately turned down by “Kitty”, who claimed that she had no daughter.  So then, somehow, Andy stumbles upon a restaurant that just happens to be owned by Rosie’s real dad, who has his own family, including an 18 year old girl, who was supposed to be dead, and who was supposed to be Rosie.

This meeting between Holly–from whom we get her story, even from the very beginning–and Rosie does not go over so well, thus causing all sorts of familial drama that one would assume would occur when a teenager from England claims to be Holly’s father’s real daughter.  And they must work through and deal with a lot of emotional turmoil that comes with such a life-altering revelation, including Holly worrying about a Huntington’s diagnosis for her and her unborn child that no one knows about.

See, I am all about “realistic fiction”–I read and love Jodi Picoult and Kristin Hannah, and I loved Lurlene McDaniel when I was in middle school–so I can understand and appreciate a story with a premise like this novel has.  However, that being said, the emotional feelings just weren’t there for me.  The adults in this novel, for the most part, were fine.  They displayed emotional competence (or lack there of, if appropriate) that was equivalent to the situations at hand.  A caring father, in spite of everything; a stepmother and wife who is afraid of being second-best; a grandmother who loves and keeps loving, even if situations change; a woman trapped in the world of publicity where appearances are everything.  That was all, for the most part, fine with me.

What was not fine with me were the main characters.  you have Rosie, who just lost her mom, who is trying to deal with that empty feeling, who just jumps on a plane a week later to go find her “real parents”, as if the woman who raised her and loved her didn’t matter all that much.  Andy kind of brought that complaint up in the book, but he was so angsty and a teenage boy that he, too, got annoying.  But I guess that was realistic in its own way.  But then you have Holly, who’s whole world as she once knew it was destroyed, and she hated Rosie (which is understandable emotion) but then goes up and down with her relationship with her that you wonder where her head really is.  But then, she let’s her be baby’s Godmother?!

The plot was both rushed and dragged out forever, which is really  not a great combination for readers.  I really wanted to like this book, but I just wasn’t convinced of the “realities” a situation like this could bring about.  It had a great potential, but somewhere along the way it got lost admist the lack-of-real emotion.

My Bookshelf Rating:

Meeehhhhhhhhh.  This book just didn’t convince me of much of anything other than a bunch of teenagers being superficial teenagers stricken by love and a father who loves his children, even if they aren’t really his.  The plot was readable, but not really so likeable with me.  And many of the characters just annoyed me, especially when their actions were not realistic to to what was going on in the story at all.  Not really a fan, and this novel CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be compared to Jodi Picoult.

I was in no way compensated for this review.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love and real realistic ficiton (which this was not),


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