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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


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

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

Meet the Author

KATIE DALE studied English literature at Sheffield University, spending a year at the Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, followed by a year at drama school, a national Shakespeare tour, and eight months backpacking through Southeast Asia.

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Someone Else's Life 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read Someone Else's Life three days ago and I'm still thinking about it. Finally, a teen book that focuses on something real, like Huntington's Disease, and takes you on a roller-coaster ride while the characters deal with the fall-out. This is the best book I've read all year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My dad and my little sister both have Huntington's Disease and therefore I have a 50% chance of getting it. I've been looking for a book that deals with that deals with the emotions that come with that, and this is definitely it! It is fantastic and it is good for people who don't know about Huntington's Disease and be more aware of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The person who gave a poor rating that was 12 when you read this, did you notice that the age range is 14-17 not intended for your age group this is why they give an age group that its intended for. I have not read this book but this book sounds good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so addicting. It focus on love,illness, and family. I could not put the book down. All I could think about is what is going to happen next. I love this book, and it is a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EverAfterEsther More than 1 year ago
Someone Else's Life tackles some heavy issues head on, and Katie Dale isn't afraid to open up these discussions and question them. Abortion, adoption, teenage pregnancy, life-threatening disease, dysfunctional families, and law- all have their own part to play in this story and come together to form a bizarre turn of events. Yet this combination of themes in one book means that it relies heavily upon shock and awe, and a number of twists throughout the story that further complicate matters and convolute the story rather which ultimately takes away from what could have been an exceptional novel. Reasons to Read: 1.Huntington's Disease: I'm like the majority of people and I really don't know much about Huntington's Disease. Neither did Rosie, until her mom was diagnosed with it later on in life. Now, Rosie's life seems to revolve around Huntington's Disease, until she finds out an even bigger shock when she decides to get tested for this hereditary disease. But Katie Dale deserves huge kudos for dealing with and featuring a disease that very few people are aware of and this provides a great avenue for readers to learn about something new and unfamiliar. 2.Rosie's growth and maturity over the course of the book: Confession: when I started reading Someone Else's Life I was seriously unimpressed with Rosie and how she chose to handle her grief. I was afraid I would have an extremely difficult time connecting with her, but she truly does grow up (by leaps and bounds) as the book goes on. By the end, I was inspired by Rosie and the hard decisions she had to make but how often she thought of those around her, yet kept her own needs and desires in mind. She isn't completely selfless (so few people are), but she is thoughtful and considerate. My main problem with the book began with the introduction of another character, Molly. There was too much focus on Molly, a character that I simply could not stand and I couldn't bring myself to care for her because she was just so frustratingly immature and bratty. Yes, I know Molly had her own difficulties to overcome. But the difference in attitude and actions between Molly and Rosie is striking, and really makes it easier to dislike Molly when one compares her to Rosie who is just so much easier to like. Similarily, I found many of the characters to be a bit back and forth in their attitudes, especially Rosie's ex-boyfriend. Nobody seemed to be able to make a decision they could stick with and so the story just dragged on. And while I did enjoy the number of twists in this book, after a while it just got to be too much. It seemed as if every possible bad thing that could happen had to happen, and that characters had to react in the worst possible way just to amp up the drama. It wasn't necessary and it didn't feel realistic; it was far too implausible and while I can handle some improbability this just got to be too much. I think that was the ultimate reason why I didn't enjoy Someone Else's Life as much as I wanted to: I had a hard time buying into the story and its characters, so consequently it just fell flat for me. Review copy received from Random House Canada/e-galley from Net Galley.
JeanBookNerd More than 1 year ago
Katie Dale’s Someone Else’s Life is a riveting story right from the start. It was a midweek evening when I started on this book and thought I would start by reading the first few chapters right before going to sleep. After the first chapter, my evening plan of going to sleep was non-existent. I found myself absorbed by its engaging plot and unforgettable characters. Dale puts together a mix of tragedy, heartbreak, and drama about a girl’s self-discovery voyage in finding her place in this world. The plot revolves around seventeen-year-old Rosie, who’s mother was a victim of Huntington’s disease. Fearing that she might have this devastating illness, she plans on getting tested, but not before her mother’s best friend tell Rosie that her deceased mother is not her biological parent. Armed with the news, Rosie plans on locating her real mother. It was an emotional roller-coaster ride from the first page to the last. I found this book to have a deep message behind Rosie’s story. It will motivate readers to some long deep thoughts about one’s identity, relationships, and the general meaning of life. This delightfully charming novel is easy to relate to, especially for ones who have lost someone dearly. Dale’s story of Rosie is very captivating and we learn that people, blood-related or not, who truly love and care about you is what makes them family.
Icecream18JA More than 1 year ago
The best quality this book contains is the raw emotion the author is able to portray through the characters. Not much of anything is held back, the reader will truly feel as if he/she is in the middle of the plot. When Rosie's mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington's Disease, Rosie must make the terrible decision of discovering if she, too, has the gene. However, before she can even take the test, she is told by her mother's best friend and midwife that she cannot possibly have the gene. With further prompting, her mother's best friend admits to swapping out Trudie's baby for a healthier one. Rosie doesn't quite know what to do, but being an inquisitive type, she sets out to find her real parents. What she finds instead is a stable, happy family with a daughter who may be Trudie's real daughter hiding many secrets and a star of a mother who won't give her the time of day. Rosie must make several life-altering decisions in her quest to discover her real family, as well as discovering what a "real family" truly is...could she have already had this "real family" with Trudie? As a character, Rosie is very open and sincere. She is easy to like, but she does have her faults. Her boyfriend, Andy, is engagingly sweet and very supportive of Rosie's decisions. It is interesting to note that this story is not based around one main character at all-there seem to be at least two main characters and several very important second characters that push the plot along at a fast pace. The events of this novel were always intriguing and could definitely be dramatic-as the topic would suggest. The characters will pull the reader right into the story and hold his/her attention throughout the novel. This book is highly recommended to young adult/teen readers.
Dazzlamb More than 1 year ago
Katie Dale makes it easy to love SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE right from the start. I was only about eighty pages into the book when I started re-reading my favourite scenes. Yeah it was that good! SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE is made up of two parts. The first one is smaller and both parts contain alternating point of views. Rosie does most of the talking in the first half of the story. The person behind the second point of view is revealed in the second part. They both are fitting and create a complementary pair of perspectives. The second point of view really confused me, until I knew who was the other narrator. What a surprise! Katie’s writing is really engaging and she totally surprised me, because I never expected so much to happen. I didn’t want to stop reading even though I had to hold back my tears all the time. I really felt with Rosie who lost her mum Trudie to Huntington’s disease and now finds out that she wasn’t her real mother. She is an emotional and impulsive character so it doesn't take long for Rosie to decide to search for her biological mother. Of course we are invited to follow her on that journey. Then there’s Andy, her ex-boyfriend who she hasn’t seen since her mother was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease. Now after Turdie’s death, he wants to be there for Rosie and does anything to help her and make her happy again. He’s a character I liked so much, because he never gives up and shows how much Rosie means to him. You will love him! I liked that Rosie and Andy's relationship felt familiar and still there were many new things to learn about the other. To me it was a balancing act between weeping and being enchanted by their romance. Rosie can be a bit unfair towards Andy, although he is a truly good guy. But I can imagine that it’s a hard task to keep a newly blooming love stable when Rosie finds herself in a rush of emotions crashing down on her. Their relationship is not the typical love story, it is absolutely authentic and real and feels like a love story life itself couldn't have written any better. Hesitant at first, SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE explodes into so much more. The story is not only about Andy and Rosie’s relationship, there are more family, love and friendship bonds to care about. I expected the story to be mostly about the search for Rosie’s mother, but then it becomes huge and huger after only a few chapters. I never expected that much drama and hurt behind it. It’s about difficult decisions that could change you and your life forever. All characters fit into a net of lies and secrets. I hoped all the time for a happy ending for every single one of them. THE VERDICT Love, friendship, family, moments of joy, grief and everything in between. Katie Dale tells a sweet love story, a story about family bonds and a story about belonging. At the same time she raises the awareness for Huntington’s Disease, a terrible illness. She is one of the awesome authors who mark my reading year 2012 with a highlight of a debut.
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
Someone Else's Life is a story full of life, heartbreak, love, and reality. Katie Dale wrote a story so interesting and different, that made it feel like it was real life story. Someone Else's Life is definitely one of the greatest 2012 contemporary novels! Rosie, the main protagonist's mother has died from Huntington's disease. After her mother's death, Rosie starts thinking about the chances she might end up enheriting it as well. That's when her mom's best friend Sarah tells Rosie that Trudy wasn't her real mother. That's when the story gets real interesting, because how would you feel if you suddenly found out your mother wasn't who you though she was? The story evolves as Rosie and her ex-boyfriend travel to have "fun", but Rosie actually just goes there in search of her real mother. As they both travel, feelings unravel, new people show up, and it just gets more and more interesting. I loved how easily I could relate to the characters. Everything just felt so real, and I never felt like the decisions made were somewhat unrealistic. Even though at some points, I felt like there was a bit too much drama, I guess that's how things turn out after a tragic realization. Someone Else'e life is a great stand alone novel, that will leave you closing the book with a smile. I really do look forward for Katie's next novel.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
If your looking to be thrown into a daytime novella read this book. From the very first page of grief, lies that have been told come out with the truth. After the first chapter, I settled in for an emotional rollercoaster that left me breathless. The storyline of the book is simple yet complicated. The reader is presented with a swapped at birth story and so begins the drama. When Rosie steps out to find the truth there are so many obstacles that she faces. I loved that through out the whole ordeal, she stays strong no matter what. Some of the things she goes through made me want to throw a fit. Rosie did what she had to do and I admire her for that. The other characters of the book annoyed me. At times I wanted to slap them. Than again, these characters are what make the book so enjoyable. I felt the characters angst and deep emotions made it easier for the reader to follow. There were parts on the book that made me shake my head, still I love every part of it. The love interest of the book really got to me. I loved that both girls had a boy in there life. A certain boy made me want to scream! I was angry at his actions and well, it just left me somewhat heart broken. Someone Else's Life never veers from the hurt that is displayed upon the characters. Someone Else's Life is a heart-breakingly beautiful and aching story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok,first I gotta get one thing straight,well two actually.So one. I would have put negetive one million bazzilion if I could've,but thanks to stupid technology(!!!) I couldn't.Two,DO NOT READ THIS BOOK IF YOU ARE UNDER THE AGE OF SIXTEEN!!! It talks about sex(very detailedly I might add)drinking,suicide and MUCH MUCHMORE INAPROPIOTE THINS!I'm twelve,and when I read this i was horrified!Not to nention frequent cussing sprinkled through the pages.DONT READ!!!!