Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review: Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale

Title: Someone Else's Life
Author: Katie Dale
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pages: 464
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository (Hardcover) | Bookdepository (Paperback)
Read from Febraury 25-28, 2012
My rating: 4 stars: I really like it
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.

Well, I'm a sucker for sad stories. This one is it. This book made me cry big time.

Someone Else's Life is sad, dramatic, and tense. Heavy stuff, you might say. I enjoyed it very much, although it's kind of too long for my taste. The writing is enjoyable, the story rich and powerful. 

Rosie Kenning, 17, decides to have her DNA tested to see whether she's inherited Huntington's Disease that took her mother Trudie away from her. This disease is hereditary and the offspring has 50 percent chance of inheriting it. Sarah, Trudie's best friend and midwife, tells Rosie that she doesn't need the test, because she definitely doesn't have the disease. The reason Sarah is so sure is that Sarah swapped Rosie with another baby. She meant well. That night, two mothers gave birth to two babies. One was Trudie, the other a 17-year-old girl who wanted to give her baby up for adoption. Trudie's husband was driving to the hospital to be with her but got into a car accident and was killed that very night. The baby Trudie desperately needed was extremely weak and it looked like it wouldn't survive. The other girl's baby who was named Holly Woods, on the other hand, was healthy, and in no way wanted by the mother. Sarah thought she wouldn't be able to stand watching Trudie suffer anymore that she already did, so she swapped these two babies, believing it was the right thing to do, since Trudie's baby was going to die, and the other wasn't wanted. When Rosie hears this, she is devastated. Then everything begins to make sense -- the way Trudie's hair color was chestnut while hers is dark, etc. It's around then that Andy, Rosie's ex boyfriend, comes around again. Together they try to search for Rosie's biological mother, only to find out that she's working as an actress in America. When Andy says he's going traveling, Rosie sees it as a perfect opportunity to look for her, as America is the first destination. It starts out as a quest to only find her biological mother, but little does Rosie know how many lives she will be affecting, how much pain she'll be causing... It is much more than she bargains for. 

Such a powerful story! WHOA WHOA WHOA! Seriously. I remember crying my eyes out for such a long, long time, and I wasn't even half way through yet. I have to admit I have never heard of Huntington's Disease before I read this book. It was heart-breaking to read how greatly and horribly a disease can affect you and the people around you. I personally find the story very rich and complex. Kind of complicated, too, but that's what makes the story so interesting. There's always something that keeps you from putting the book down. Always some sub-plots and twists and turns that are constantly thrown into the story.

If you plan to read this book, know that you just sign up for an emotional roller coaster ride. A good one, too, I might add. There's sadness, confusion, anger, jealousy, guilt, shock, surprise as well as love and hatred. It was overwhelming for me in a good way. To feel all these emotions within an hour or something. I was feeling sad and sympathetic with Rosie for a moment, and then the perspective switched and I was extremely angry at Rosie, cursing her, hating on her. I was really into the story. It has a way to suck you right in. 

I like how the characters are portrayed. But to talk about them here is like showing you spoilers, because there are many more characters involved in this than you might imagine. So, no, not gonna do that. I only have a few things to mention about the main characters that you already know about: Rosie and Andy. 

Hmm... I don't think there's a gentler way to put this... but I kind of hate Rosie. I don't know... I guess some things are better left alone, especially when it's too late to change anything. But of course, she has to try to find her mother, and when she does, that should be the end of it, accept it and move on. Except that it isn't and she doesn't. She has to make her way into other lives and shatter them with all this I-have-to-tell-them thing. Really? I don't think so, Rosie. You think you're doing them a big favor by showing up and changing everything, but darling, I think they're better off before you came around. Sorry. 

And Andy. Ugh, dear God. He annoys me. This guy keeps leaving her and keeps coming back. He keeps demanding the truth and promising to understand and can't take it and keeps getting mad. If it's just once or twice, it would be fine with me. But it was more than that. If I'm not mistaken, it's around 4 or 5 times. What an ass. If a guy kept leaving you and coming back and saying sorry, would you always forgive him and then everything would be okay like Rosie and Andy here? No for me! Make up your mind, Andy, it's either leave or stay! Ugh! 

Anyway, enough with the rant. Those were the only problems I had with this book, along with the length,  which in my opinion is much longer than it really needs to be. Other than these, this book is great. If you like sad and dramatic and heavy stories with powerful emotions, this book is definitely for you!


This review is also posted on Goodreads.

I received the ARC version of this book from NetGalley and Random House to read for review.


  1. I started reading this thinking I will read a few pages till bedtime but my plan didn't work. I read this book in a 5 hour marathon reading session finally sleeping at 4 in the morning. And no, reading the rest of the book in the morning was NOT an option.

  2. I have this one to read and I'm pretty excited! I don't mind lots of drama but I do think sometimes too much can make the book seem less serious and believable.


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