When seventeen-year-old Rosie’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington’s Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty-per-cent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when she tells her mum’s best friend, ‘Aunt Sarah’ that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie was not her biological mother after all…
Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, hitching along on her ex-boyfriend’s GAP year to follow her to Los Angeles. But all does not go to plan, and as Rosie discovers yet more of her family’s deeply-buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonising decision of her own – one which will be the most heart-breaking and far-reaching of all…
I don’t remember how I first heard about Katie Dale’s debut novel, but I’ve been looking forward to reading it for ages. The synopsis really spoke to me, this idea of swapped babies and big family secrets sounded like it’d make for a really interesting read.
The plot worked so well for me, it mixed a pretty hard reality with a bit of romance, a little humour and some wonderful travel. I loved the variety of settings, at times the book really made me yearn to jump on a plane. There are lots of twists in the plot, it could very easily have slipped into feeling very contrived in places but I think Katie managed to avoid this quite nicely. Emotions run high within the book, at times I felt like I was actually going on this journey with the characters.
I knew a fair bit about Huntington’s Disease before starting the book, so I was really interested to see how it would work within the plot. I thought that it was used really well, enough information was given about it so that anyone who didn’t know anything about it would get a good idea of the disease and its effects but there was no irritating info-dump or the feeling of a public service announcement.
I thought that Rosie was a really interesting character. She’s been through so much and that’s clearly shaped the person that she is. I found Holly to be an equally interesting character, she also was driven so much by her emotions and the situation she is thrust into. I found at times it was hard to agree with the actions of both girls, but I could completely understand why they did the things they did. I loved Andy, I liked the way he wasn’t some perfect knight in shining armour but a flawed young man too.
I found that I couldn’t read this book fast enough, I got completely caught up in the story and couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. I loved the way that so many times the characters had to make really difficult decisions and I found myself wondering what I would have done in the same situation. The way the plot is full of these moral dilemmas means that you’re thinking about it even after you’ve read the final page, always the sign of a good book.
This is a great debut, I’m definitely going to be picking up Katie’s next book.
Someone Else’s Life is published in paperback and eBook by Simon & Schuster Children’s Books in the UK. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.
I’m a stop on Katie’s blog tour, so make sure you come back on Thursday to read her really interesting guest post.