Sunday, 3 June 2012

Review: All These Lives by Sarah Wylie


Title: All These Lives
Author: Sarah Wylie
Author Info: Website|Blog|Twitter
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Netgalley
Format: egalley
Publication Date: 5th June 2012

Tell Me About It
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.

My Thoughts
Two things about this book drew me in, the synopsis of this book and how it describes Dani convincing herself she has nine lives, and also the issues about cancer.  With things going on in my life at the moment I have found myself drawn towards any book that mentions this, in a weird type of way I think it may be a small way in which I am coping with things.

From the minute I began All These Lives I was drawn into it's pages.  Dani and Jenna are twins but Jenna has leukaemia and Dani is not a match.  We follow this pair and their family as Jenna is in and out of hospital for treatment and tests, good days and bad days and the rest of the ups and downs of having cancer.  All These Lives is told from Dani's point of view and we get to see it all happen through her eyes and get inside her feelings and how she copes with watching her sister go through it all.  Part of her coping method is by putting herself into danger, she is convinced she has nine lives after surviving previous accidents that could have killed her, and on several occasions puts herself purposely in danger in order to give her sister a good day, or a longer life span.

I really enjoyed All These Lives, and although I think Dani was a bit snarky sometimes I was quick to forgive her, putting it down to her way of dealing with things.  I didn't like how she put herself into danger though.  Although I can see why she does it and how she justifies her actions, she never once thought about what would happen if she never made it or what the added stress could do to her family.  Some small part of me wishes this was true myself and if it was I would defiantly sacrifice eight of my own lives if someone close to me could have good days, so in that sense I can sympathise with the thoughts going on in her head.
I really admire Jenna for how she copes and deals with it, and even in her bad days, she is still trying to be strong and carry on as normal for Dani and her family.  Their parents are trying to cope with things in their own way, and I loved how their Dad had been volunteered to take Dani to auditions for acting roles.  The small dialogue between them while waiting for their turn had me laughing and managed to lighten up the mood of the book.
A few characters stand out the most to me, apart form Dani and her family, two of the most prominent ones are Jack; and Dani's psychiatrist.  When we first get introduced to Jack it is by Dani being rude to him and purposefully making him embarrassed.  When they are paired together for a school project we get to see more of him and I felt sorry for him, not only for having to deal with Dani's attitude toward him, but also being left will all the work to do.  I enjoyed watching their relationship develop to a more equal footing and I think the ending was perfect for them.
The sessions Dani has with the psychiatrist made me laugh.  She goes on about everything but the reason she is there but my favourite part it the bargaining with a huge bag of M&M's.

Overall I really enjoyed All These Lives and would defiantly try out more books by this author.

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