Book Review: Rules For 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern



Rules For 50/50 Chances
Author: Kate McGovern
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Released: November 24 2015
Review Source: Farrar Straus Giroux

A heartrending but ultimately uplifting debut novel about learning to accept life's uncertainties; a perfect fit for the current trend in contemporary realistic novels that confront issues about life, death, and love.

Seventeen-year-old Rose Levenson has a decision to make: Does she want to know how she’s going to die? Because when Rose turns eighteen, she can take the test that will tell her if she carries the genetic mutation for Huntington’s disease, the degenerative condition that is slowly killing her mother. With a fifty-fifty shot at inheriting her family’s genetic curse, Rose is skeptical about pursuing anything that presumes she’ll live to be a healthy adult—including going to ballet school and the possibility of falling in love. But when she meets a boy from a similarly flawed genetic pool, and gets an audition for a dance scholarship in California, Rose begins to question her carefully-laid rules.


Rose wants to try and be a normal teenager, but it is a little difficult given her circumstances. She has a fifty-fifty chance of having Huntington's disease and she has just found out that she can take a test that allows her to know if she has it. Unsure if she really wants to know if she has it has led her to not lead the life that she actually wants. When she meets Caleb she learns that maybe she shouldn't fear living the life she wants.

When you start this book right away you know you're destined for some form of heartbreak. Usually any books with disease have some way to pull at your heartstrings. Whether it's because of something devastating happening in the book or just because it makes you stop and think. Sadly to say most people who don't have to deal with anything, such as disease or cancer, tend to not think about the effects it has on people. Unless a loved one is dealing with it. Those few who are lucky don't really contemplate it. Sure we realize that it's out there in the world - but because we aren't directly affected by it we tend to take it with a grain of salt. So when picking up a book that is showing us a side to life that we aren't completely familiar with you start realizing just how it can affect people and their life.
I am one of those people who knows it's there and that it can come lurking around the corner, but I have not been affected by it just yet so I don't worry about it. And therefore within the first few chapters my heart was already breaking.

I also wondered as I read what would I do? Would I take the test? Would I live life without having taken the test? Honestly I'm not sure. There's part of me that likes to think I would. But there is also part of me that feels as though I wouldn't want to.

For some reason I just wasn't completely gripped by this story. It took me longer than I thought to finish this book, and I almost feel like it's because I couldn't connect with Rose. In the beginning I feel like she treated her parents a little harshly when it came to how they handled telling her about the test. They had told her when her mother was first diagnosed with Huntington's, but at the time she was too young to take the test that would let them know. But when she's 18 it doesn't get brought up again because, in my opinion her parents want her to live her life not in fear. But she gets upset with them, why wouldn't they tell her she could take it when she's 18?! I feel like Rose could've handled things a little better. Therefore it made it hard for me to connect with her.


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