Author: Katie Dale
Release Date: February 14, 2012 (hardcover)
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Source: Copy provided by publisher
Overall: 3.5 Stars
Fans of Jodi Picoult, Caroline B. Cooney, and Lurlene McDaniel--teens and adults alike--will relish this thrilling emotional rollercoaster ride as a web of family secrets brought to light devastates lives on both sides of the Atlantic.
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 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.
When it comes to knowledge regarding Huntington's disease, I'm certainly inexperienced, so I thought reading Katie Dale's Someone Else's Life was an eye-opener. Alternating between the perspectives of two teenage girls separated by an ocean and years of lies, the story follows the complications and drama which unfold when Rosie learns she's been living someone else's life.
The novel brings a whole new level to the complexities of family relationships, and with Katie Dale's wonderful storytelling, readers see what it truly means to be a family... and that there's more to it than simply blood ties. Ever since Rosie first learned about Huntington's disease and watched as her mother slowly gave into the illness, she's been haunted by the possibility she may have inherited it as well. But when she learns Trudie wasn't in fact her biological mother, and that she was switched at birth, she sets out to find her birth mother in the U.S... and sets in motion a turn of events where family secrets will be uncovered.
I really found myself sympathizing with Rosie! She gave up part of her education in order to remain home to care for her mother, and now that she's gone, she feels lost in her grief. And when she feels betrayed by her Aunt Sarah for keeping such a huge secret for so long, there's only anger left to direct at her and an impulsive desire to learn more about her birth mother right away. With the help of her ex-boyfriend Andy (he's so sweet!) and her Grandmother, she gathers the courage to travel overseas, but the answers she hopes to find are beyond anything she'd ever imagined.
Someone Else's Life is a longer novel than I may have first imagined, but there were issues and revelations to discover which couldn't be rushed too quickly and had to be further explored. However, I really do wish the book had a more eye-catching cover! Older YA and adult readers will have a great appreciation for Katie Dale's debut novel.
Thanks so much to Random House Canada for providing this review copy! If you missed it before, you can also read my author interview with Katie Dale on the Canadian Blog Tour for Someone Else's Life.