Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern
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.
Publishes in US: November 24th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: ya contemp
Source: e-arc from Macmillan via Netgalley
Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free.
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I wanted to read Rules for 50/50 Chances because I am drawn to books about illnesses, and Rose is dealing with a mom with a genetic disease called Huntington's, It is progressive and makes body function, memory and personality changes. Rose has a 50/50 chance of getting the illness, and there is a test she can take to tell if she is going to get it. Symptoms don't start until 30s at earliest, but it is still hard. She is a ballerina and she wants to study that in college, across the country, but her dad also wants her to study something besides dance.
I love Rose's personality. Yes, she has a hard time accepting how her mom is changing, her grandma that is living with them to help take care of her mom, and all of the constantly shifting dynamics with her family. Her struggles are easy to empathize with even if I don't have something equatable in my life.
At a walk for rare genetic disorders, she meets a boy named Caleb. His sisters and mom has sickle cell anemia, so he understands the difficulty of sick family. He also gets the medical jargon, the uncertainty, and so many other things that Rose doesn't really talk about with many other people. They have a sweet relationship, cute conversation, and a good connection. It adds another twist that they are different races.
I like the friendship between Rose and Lena, her best friend. They have that easiness that comes from years of friendship, but they have also been through lots of lows together. Lena's mom passed away, and soon after Rose's mom received her diagnosis.
The character growth in Rose was great, and it was neat to watch her figure out what she wanted for her future. This didn't just include knowing about her genetics test, but also her ballet future, the possibilities for her relationship with Caleb, how her friendship with Lena would survive. But also how she could still be there for her family, and her mom who gets continues to get worse not only in loss of control of movements, but the change in her personality and memory.
The ending was good but I also wanted to know a bit more about what she chooses and what her future holds for her. I totally understand why it left the way it did, with more understanding and a lot of hope for her, possibilities and acceptance.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Would you want to know if you could take a test that would let you know if you would develop a serious disease but there wasn't anything you could do to change it?