Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Review: Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale

Title: Someone Else's Life
Author: Katie Dale
Genre: Young Aduly/Contemporary
Source: Netgalley
Publication Date: USA:Feb 14th 2012|UK:2nd Feb 2012
When seventeen-year-old Rosie’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington’s Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty-per-cent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when she tells her mum’s best friend, ‘Aunt Sarah’ that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie was not her biological mother after all... Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, hitching along on her ex-boyfriend’s GAP year to follow her to Los Angeles. But all does not go to plan, and as Rosie discovers yet more of her family's deeply-buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonising decision of her own - one which will be the most heart-breaking and far-reaching of all...
[from goodreads]

I really enjoyed this book, although I felt sorry for Rosie after the huge blow that was dealt to her.  I really admire how she was able to get the courage to find out the truth about her parentage and when she was on the verge of giving up she was finally given the hope that she was looking for.  Although this book wasn't a "happy" book to read I think a lot of issues were resolved and most characters got their happy ending.  What surprised me the most was how one secret snowballed into more secrets being found out and some people keeping secrets so as not to make maters worse.  The only thing I didn't like was how Rosie forgave Kitty so quickly.  After all that had happened and how Kitty treated Rosie I thought she was wrong for doing what she did, and although the results from this were unthinkable I think that Rosie learnt who was actually there for her.

I really admired Andy for how he behaved towards not only Rosie but also Holly.  After the lies that Rosie had told Andy was there to help and guide her and also assist in finding her family.  I loved how he was so supportive of Holly and is there for her when no-one else knew what was wrong or the tough decision she was making and really admire his strength to do this for a complete stranger.

Someone Else's Life is a heartfelt story that really had me thinking how would I cope if it was me.  I  really admire Rosie for how strong she was, and how she tried to fix what was wrong and eventually try to help others who are now in her shoes.  Katie Dale has done an amazing job of showing how Huntington's Disease can affect family members and I will be keeping an eye open for more books by this great author.
Katie was also able to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for me.

Q1: You have written books for different ages, which was the most enjoyable age range to write for and why?
I am so lucky to be writing for different ages – it’s wonderful to be able to switch between them. They’re each so different, with different challenges and rewards. Writing a YA novel is a huge project which takes a lot of research, planning and editing, yet while the Fairy Tale Twists books are much shorter (1500 words per book) that means that every single word really counts – and it has to rhyme! I love the depth of the experience of writing YA – putting myself in someone else’s shoes and experiencing the rollercoaster of emotions my characters go through, while writing the humorous Fairy Tale Twists was such fun – finding new ways to represent familiar fairy-tale characters, and when the perfect rhyme comes along it’s such a joy – for example, “ogre” and “yoga”! The best thing of all is that if I get stuck on one project I can work for a while on the other one, and it’s so different and refreshing it’s as good as taking a break!

Q2: Someone Else's Life is an emotional book, how did you come up with the idea behind it and the experiences that Rosie goes through?
I’m really interested in the concept of identity – what makes us who we are? – so I wanted to write about a character who has the rug completely pulled from under her feet when she discovers that everything she knows about her life is a lie. I’d heard several news stories about babies who were swapped at birth and brought up with the wrong parents and found it fascinating and heart-breaking to imagine myself in their shoes – what would you do? How do you cope with that? What happens next? So I decided to explore that situation through Rosie. The next step was to find a compelling reason why Rosie would discover the truth. That’s when I came across Huntington’s disease – a devastating condition I’d never heard of. The rest of the story really snowballed from that point.

Q3: What has been your most favourite experience of being a writer so far?
Gosh, there have been so many! Being chosen as a winner of the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices competition was an incredible experience and that’s what really started my career as a writer, as it sparked a lot of interest from agents and editors. Then getting my agent, the lovely Jenny Savill at Andrew Nurnberg Associates was a great moment – someone believes in me! Then to get an actual book contract (someone wants to PAY me to do what I love?!) was absolutely unreal, but it was when I received the first physical copy of my book that stands out most for me – my words made an ACTUAL BOOK?!
It still makes my head spin.
Q4: How do you fit writing a book in your day to day activities and do you have a certain space where you sit and write?
I’m extremely lucky in that I write full-time now. I like to sit on my sofa (or in bed if my other half has the TV/Wii on in the lounge!) with my laptop on my knee and type all day long. I don’t have a routine as such – it really depends on how the words are flowing – I can write all night if it’s going really well – or if I’m very close to a deadline!

Q5: What was the last book you read and what is your favourite book of all time?
The last book I read was The Hunger Games, which I LOVED! It was so fresh and original and exciting and utterly gripping – I’m not a speedy reader but I whizzed through it and can’t wait to read the next two books – and to see the film!
My favourite book of all time…well, there are many, but Holding Me Here by Pam Conrad always sticks in my mind. It’s the story of fourteen-year-old Robin who’s own grief over her parents’ split is heightened when she discovers her new lodger, Mary, has left her own husband and children. Robin’s well-intentioned efforts to reconcile the broken family backfire terribly with far-reaching consequences she could have never imagined, in a plot that twists and tugs on your heart-strings right to the end. A terrific read.

Katie has also given me some fun facts about her, so pop over to
to find out more.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I met her a few days ago! I went to the event at Waterstone's (the one close to Angel Station), she invited Franny and of course she brought me with her! ;P We spent a great, funny couple of hours and Katie is a totally sweetheart! :)

    I loved your questions and her answers and I think you did a great review, Michelle!


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