Someone Else's Life

Someone Else's Life

4.1 13
by Katie Dale

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When 17-year-old Rosie's mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington's Disease, Rosie's pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a 50 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

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When 17-year-old Rosie's mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington's Disease, Rosie's pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a 50 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 heartbreaking and far-reaching of all. 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Rosie's mother dies of Huntington's disease, British teenager Rosie tells her family friend Sarah, the midwife who delivered her, of her plans to get tested for the debilitating genetic illness. But Sarah has some life-changing news for Rosie: Sarah switched Rosie with another baby at birth, a premature girl whose teenage mother had abandoned her, something not even Rosie's mother knew at the time. The other baby, Holly, survived and was raised in America by Rosie's biological father. As Rosie grapples with both the knowledge that she is disease-free and that the mother she loved and lost was not her mother at all, alternating chapters offer Holly's point of view. Holly is engaged, newly pregnant, and completely unaware that she was switched at birth and may be at risk for Huntington's disease. Though dizzying melodrama and convoluted plot points strain believability as Rosie sets out to meet Holly, her father, and her biological mother—now a TV star—readers should be drawn into the fast-paced, high-stakes narrative. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jenny Savill, Andrew Nurnberg Associates. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
How would you feel if your mother was terminally ill? Rosie's mother, Trudie, suffered for many years from Huntington's disease, a fatal illness that is genetically transmitted. After her mother dies, Rosie is terrified that she might have this same illness. She has a fifty-fifty chance of suffering from the same, debilitating illness. But to her shock, Rosie discovers that she isn't the biological child of Trudie. In fact, Rosie and another baby were switched at birth. So what's happened to this other baby? Can Rosie track down her real mother? Rosie is disheartened to find herself encountering several dead ends, but she persists and decides to find her mother, who lives across the Atlantic in America. Coming to America, Rosie discovers that finding her mother, a superstar, isn't easy. Rosie is terribly disappointed when her mother doesn't want anything to do with her, but the girl does find a new family on her father's side. Meanwhile, Rosie discovers the identity of the girl who was switched with her at birth. In this dramatic story, readers will discover what it feels like to find out that you are living someone else's life—and the consequences of trying to set the record straight. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
VOYA - Jane Harper
For much of her life, Rosie watched helplessly as her mother suffered from the wasting effects of Huntington's disease. After her death, Rosie, fearing she may have inherited the disease, confides to a family friend that she would like to have genetic testing. The family friend is a midwife who was present on the day of Rosie's birth, and she reveals a shocking secret that rocks Rosie's world. Essentially, everything Rosie believed to be true about her life turns out to be a lie. When she sets out on a journey to discover the truth, she uncovers more lies, more secrets, and more betrayals. Many tried and true elements of intrigue are here: babies switched at birth, tragic car accidents, secret teen pregnancies, mistaken identities, and jealous family rivalries. A series of convenient coincidences stretches a willingness to believe almost to the breaking point, but does not detract from engagement with the book, thanks to remarkably strong and well-developed main and secondary characters. This is a story for readers who love being surprised by melodramatic plot twists and turns, and who do not mind if things go a little bit over the top. Rosie's experience with Huntington's disease and genetic issues is respectfully and sensitively portrayed. The author includes an informative note and a list of useful websites. Reviewer: Jane Harper
Kirkus Reviews
As 17-year-old Rosie Kenning watched helplessly as Huntington's disease consumed her mother, as the mood swings and the chorea ravaged body and soul, one question haunted her: "Will this happen to me?" The answer will change her life in ways she couldn't possibly imagine. In the first of many unexpected plot twists, Rosie learns that there is no way she could possibly have Huntington's, because Trudie Kenning wasn't really her mother. Rosie was switched at birth with an abandoned baby that was sure to die. Desperate to find the mother and father she never knew, Rosie and her boyfriend, Andy, travel across the Atlantic in search of answers. The secrets and lies that they uncover will not only push their relationship to the brink but will also threaten to destroy the lives of those they have encountered along the way. An actress as well as a writer, debut novelist Dale clearly has a flair for the dramatic. Rosie's first-person account is punctuated by narration in another, mysterious voice; leaving this narrator unidentified contributes both to the building suspense and character development. All in all, it is a far cry from the typical disease novel. It reads the way a haunted house might, with the unexpected lurking behind every door. Though in the end readers' patience might be tried by having the rug pulled out from underneath them one too many times, they'll be hard pressed to let Rosie out of their sight until the last page is turned. (Fiction. 14 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—When Rosie Kenning's mother, Trudie, dies of Huntington's disease, the 17-year-old's world is turned upside down. She believes she has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the incurable illness. Then she learns from her mom's best friend that she was switched at birth with a dying baby. Not knowing what else to do, she travels from England to the United States with her boyfriend to try to find her biological mother. What starts out as a simple trip snowballs into a journey of discovery. Once Rosie learns that Trudie's biological daughter, Holly, is alive, she faces an agonizing decision. Should she tell the truth about their births in case Holly might have inherited the disease? Or are some secrets better off kept? Dale uses different font styles to indicate the voices of the two teens, slowly revealing that the second speaker is Holly. Emotions run high throughout the book and cause her to make a series of bad decisions, which can make her unlikable at times, but eventually she redeems herself. Dale constructs an intriguing story about how families come in many forms and that love can be found in unexpected places. This book is sure to resonate with teens, especially those who live in nontraditional homes.—Kimberly Castle-Alberts, Stark County District Library, Canton, OH

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.60(d)
HL660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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