Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: All These Lives by Sarah Wylie

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: June 5th, 2012
Number of Pages: 245
How I got this book: e-ARC from Netgalley
My rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads Summary:

"Sixteen-year-old Dani is convinced she has nine lives. As a child she twice walked away from situations where she should have died. But Dani’s twin, Jena, isn’t so lucky. She has cancer and might not even be able to keep her one life. Dani’s father is in denial. Her mother is trying to hold it together and prove everything’s normal. And Jena is wasting away. To cope, Dani sets out to rid herself of all her extra lives. Maybe they’ll be released into the universe and someone who wants to live more than she does will get one. Someone like Jena. But just when Dani finds herself at the breaking point, she’s faced with a startling realization. Maybe she doesn’t have nine lives after all. Maybe she really only ever had one."


The premise is interesting - Dani appears to have 9 lives. She was told that when cats lose one of their 9 lives, that it goes towards another's life. So, she starts thinking that maybe the same thing would work for her and Jena. She figures she has defied death twice already, she has 7 more lives to live - she can afford to waste a few if it means trying to save her sister. More than anything else, she just wants her sister to be well again. Plus, she is burdened with guilt over the fact that she has these "extra" lives, while her twin sister can barely hang onto the one that she has.

So, whenever she sees that her sister's health is worsening, she tries to kill herself. The first time, she tries to drown herself in a swimming pool. The "stunt" seems to work. Dani doesn't die, and Jena does appear to grow stronger, although she is not cured. This goes on a few more times throughout the book, while Dani struggles to deal with her guilt. She does this by mostly by being moody and sullen and acting out at school. For me, this was kind of irritating.

I didn't much care for Dani as a character throughout most of the book. I don't feel like her character was consistent, so I don't feel like I made much of a connection with her. Also, the whole "9 lives" thing was not written as well as I thought it could have been. When I read the blurb in the book, I kind of thought I was getting a paranormal/fantasy type of book, but it wasn't that way at all. It ended up being kind of a background element of the story. I don't know...the plot fell kind of flat for me. I did like the ending, and I did like the sister bonding element of the story. Overall, just an okay read...


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