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Thursday, June 14, 2012

[Review] All These Lives by Sarah Wylie

Title: All These Lives
Author: Sarah Wylie
Pages: 245 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: June 5, 2012
I received an ARC from NetGalley.

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.

"Other mother's said, 'Shh, it's okay,' and coaxed the tears away with a soft-serve cone. Mine said, 'Come on, Danielle. You're the girl with nine lives.' " (1% eARC)

Dani never put much stock in her mother's words until her twin, Jena, is diagnosed with leukemia and they learn her treatments aren't working. Dani then recalls this moment and a story about how when a cat loses a life, it goes out into the universe for another cat to pick up. Thus begins her journey to lose her extra lives in hopes of her sister gaining one.

"It's probably why I hate her so much. I never like people like me. " (5% e ARC)

I don't either! Dani is not a nice person, but at least she knows it. She's rude, disrespectful, a bully, and self-centered. However, I got the impression that she wasn't always this way, so I wasn't completely put off by her personality. This might just be the way she handles her feelings over her sister's illness. She also manages to make everything about her: Jena's breathing is annoying her, she can't sleep because Jena is vomiting, people don't talk to her because her sister is sick, etc. While it's selfish, it's also understandable. We always hear/read about how the sick person is struggling, and how things are so bad for them, but what about the family? Things are rough for Dani and their parents, so this was definitely an interesting shift in perspective.

"I feel bad. I do. But mostly, I feel dead. I like that feeling." (38% eARC)

While I did enjoy All These Lives, I didn't really believe that Dani believed she had nine lives and that maybe one would save her sister. Sure it may have been the one thing she could do for Jena, since she wasn't a bone marrow match, but it felt almost random. There was no epiphany, no moment that even indicated this is what she truly believed. It seemed like it was just a unique and intriguing plot device, but was a bit lacking. Overall, this is a good book with a really unique premise, so if you're looking for something a little different, I'd suggest it.

"The biggest thing you can do for someone is to live." (91% eARC)

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