Title: All These Lives
Author: Sarah Wylie
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release date: June 5th 2012
Genre: Contemporary YA
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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.My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
This book really surprised me! I wasn't expecting much, and honestly, the cover is the main reason I read this book. (Underwater covers get me every time.) The idea sounded kind of strange to me, but I thought I'd give it a try anyways. And I'm glad I did - I really enjoyed All These Lives!
I still think the whole idea of the nine lives is kind of strange. I just don't get how you could think something like that, how that could seem like a reasonable way to help someone, and I can't imagine anyone really doing that. But even though that appears to be the main idea of the book - that's what the title refers to; it's the main focus of the description; and the novel is split into parts for each of Dani's 'life' - for me, it wasn't really about the nine lives. It was about Dani.
And Dani, I loved. Oh, Dani. I didn't like her, but I kind of loved her. I know, that doesn't make any sense, but it's true. I don't think I would like her if I knew her in real life - actually, I'm pretty sure she would completely piss me off - but I loved reading from her POV, and I really grew to love her. She's a rude, selfish bitch, but there's just something about her. She's a unique character, always speaks her mind, and says the most ridiculous things. Her sense of humor is random, weird, and quirky, in an awesome way, and she had me laughing out loud. She's not the typical MC I like reading about and relate to, but I loved her.
I also loved the romance. It's not the main storyline by a long shot - which I appreciate, since nothing's worse than forcing romance on a book that doesn't need any - but it's the one I spent the most time obsessing over. I'm pretty sure the romance was written with the sole intent of torturing me. I have two favorite types of love interests: Mysterious Loner Guy and Quiet Nerdy Guy. And this book has both. Which is awesome, but which also means that I had to choose between the two! Which is impossible. I did end up choosing Quiet Nerdy Guy, though - but that might just be because Mysterious Loner Guy mysteriously (ha!) disappears halfway through the book and just doesn't play an important role anymore. But, anyways, I loved the romance, and the chemistry is amazing. I'm not even sure why, since Jack (Quiet Nerdy Guy) is not the best, most complex character or anything like that, but I just loved him with Dani. They are so freaking adorable together! I just wanted to squeal of adorable-ness.
The writing flows nicely, and it's the perfect balance between fun and emotional. Despite the heavy subject matter, this book is pretty light - most of it is humorous and just fun to read. But in between, there are touching, emotional scenes and a few sentences that make you stop and think.
I would have liked some parts to be a little more fleshed out, and I would have liked to know more about some of the secondary characters (why does Mysterious Loner Guy have to suddenly disappear? I want to know more!). I still think the idea is kind of werid, but I also kind of loved this book. It's quirky, unique, and fun, but still touching and emotional when it needs to be. I don't know whether this book is for everyone, since I can definitely see people having a problem with Dani, but I loved her, and I loved this book.
Can you think of any MCs you probably wouldn't like in real life but LOVED reading about?