The Rules of 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern

The Rules of 5050 Chances by Kate McGovern
The Rules of 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: Full (352 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rated: 3 stars
Review by Lupine

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 tells 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 her dream career in ballet 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 across the country, Rose begins to question her carefully laid rules.

This book highlights the very real struggles of a young girl who has more than her share of concerns. Rose has to live in the shadow of a terrible disease that affects her mother’s motor skills and emotions. She’s watched her mother deteriorate before her eyes in a horrible, slow tornado of events.

Then she meets Caleb. I found him to be one of the most laid back, understanding guys I’ve ever read about in a book and it was refreshing. However, although I really liked him, Rose over-analyzed and overreacted to every action of his, all but disowning him if he didn’t text her back immediately. I had a hard time understanding why he put up with her behavior. Rose was difficult for me to like or connect with. She’s exceptionally self-involved and though we’re supposed to view her as a good person, all she seems to care about is herself. Caleb shows her that she’s not alone, that his family has suffered too, but she doesn’t care. Her life is worse and he doesn’t understand. Truly, Rose loved her mom very much and it was the one redeeming quality I saw in her. It helped me to overlook some of her constant fighting and complaining.

Also, readers should be aware that the characters have sex multiple times (which, again I didn’t get because she really treated Caleb badly–and understand, I’m the age of the target audience and still didn’t like that it was included because their relationship just didn’t work for me).

While I think this book realistically covers the struggles a family goes through when dealing with a horrible, eventually terminal disease and I understand teens (especially girls) are incredibly emotional and angsty, Rose was just a bit too much. The author’s talented and really paints a picture with her words. She clearly has researched her topic, too, and I appreciated that. It wasn’t the author’s skill that was in question here–I’ll happily try another of her books.

Still, I think this book would appeal to many teen girls, especially those who might be struggling under similar circumstances. And, if they’re out there, I hope they find their own Caleb. He was truly the shining star of this story.

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