Monday, 4 June 2012

Review: All These Lives by Sarah Wylie

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All These Lives
Sarah Wylie
Publication date: 5th June 2012

"Most people think the biggest sacrifice, the greatest act of love you can give is to die for someone. And probably it is. But sometimes it is the opposite. The biggest thing you can do for someone is to live."

I shed quite a few tears whilst reading All These Lives, but although it has some very sad and poignant moments at the end I thought it was actually a very hopeful book.

Sixteen year old Jena has cancer and in her twin sister Dani's eyes seems to be slowly fading away. All These Lives actually centres on how Dani isn't coping with her sister's illness, I quite liked that little twist as most young adult books I've read have concentrated on the character with the illness. Equally, instead of seeing very close twin sisters (which again is probably what I would have expected) Dani is actually a fairly unlikeable character and barely has anything to do with her twin. Dani is sarcastic to the point of meanness, she torments poor lovable Jack at school and barely tolerates everyone around her including her parents.

Dani has a very strange notion that she's like a cat with nine lives after twice surviving life threatening accidents as a child. She sets out to rid herself of these excess lives by living dangerously in the hope that these extra lives will somehow be used up, float up into the air and instead be given to someone more deserving of them like Jena who needs them. Yes, it's a really strange and almost desperate kind of notion, and to me it really showed that Dani is not coping with her twins illness. As the story progressed I came to realise that Dani's attention seeking behaviour and strange nine lives notion probably stems from her feelings of guilt that her twin has cancer and she hasn't, and that despite almost freezing her twin out, deep down Dani is terrified that her sister may actually die.

As a debut young adult book I thought All These Lives really was just that little bit different, it's also beautifully written, compelling and tearjerkingly good. I really enjoyed it.

Thanks to Net galley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review All These Lives.

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