Rules For 50/50 Chances Review -- The Eye-Opener



Rules For 50/50 Chances | Kate McGovern
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Release Date: November 24, 2015
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 352
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Rating:



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 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

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.

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REVIEW

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly.
Now this is what I call realistic fiction . . .

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Fantasy vs Contemporary. 
I've had this conversation about a dozen times with a million people, and my answer is always the same. Even though I've come to truly love the fantasy genre this past year, there's something about contemporary that tugs at my whole being, and no matter what genre I venture off to, it always manages to pull me right back. The question I'm often asked is why? Why choose contemp over a genre you can get lost in? A genre with magical worlds, magical people doing magical things? My answer: contemporary is magical too, just not in the sword wielding princess, fire breathing dragon, flying pigs that can see the future, sort of way.


I enjoy this genre because for the most part, it mirrors real life. Without even knowing it, you can be fictionally exploring the lives of anyone, your mailman, the Starbucks barista you think is cute with the shaggy hair, your next door neighbor that keeps digging through the trash, in fewer words, contemporary can open eyes to realities that are not always our own. So when I picked up Rules For 50/50 Chances, I had no clue just how close to someone's reality my experience would actually be.


What I Adored


Eye-Opening Experience
Before reading this book, I wasn't entirely familiar with Huntington's Disease. It was always just a diagnosis that I've seen in passing, in the doctor's office, on a random TV commercial, in health class on a day I was surely half paying attention, but never did I actually know what it was, and how damaging it is for an individual as well as their family . . until now. Reading this book was incredibly humbling. I learned so much about this ugly, horrible, terrifying disease to the point it opened my eyes to just how fortunate I really am.

Wait you have parentals?
Have you ever read a YA book where the main character lived at home but yet their parents were like . . . nowhere to be found? & if they do make an appearance, it's such a small role, that it's almost like they didn't exist at all? Well throw some damn confetti in the air, because the aspect of family in this story is so strong! Our main character Rose lives at home with her sickly mother who has HD, her father who is so over-emotionally hilarious, and her British grandmother. I loved seeing them interact, especially at times where the hardships of the disease affected them all. It's also pretty damn beautiful to see that the entire family played major roles within the story.

Jungle Fever 
I'm not even going to lie, I was so surprised to see that the love interest was an African-American. It's been a while since I've read a book with a POC, particularly black, and I was extremely pleased with how well he was portrayed. Caleb was such an all out nerd. He was a sweetheart, kind, goofy, and completely understanding of her mother's illness, especially since both his mother and twin sisters suffer from Sickle Cell. I loved his relationship with Rose because it felt so mature for YA. Sure they did things like eat icecream, and nerd out about illnesses, but there was something so genuine and not so cheesy about their affection for each other that I absolutely adored.

Growth
Through the entire book, my only dislike was that our main character Rose proved to be a bit selfish and difficult at times. I sympathized of course because her situation is definitely tough, but the girl sure had a way of always being so hard to deal with, so negative. Thank goodness for Caleb and his " tell-it-like-it-is " attitude which definitely helped set her straight a bit. She did end up showing some great character growth by the end of the book, I just wish it didn't happen so suddenly. 

Focused heavily on decision-making, family, love, and friendships, Rules For 50/50 Chances proved to be such an incredibly important read. I believe it's a strong contender in the YA genre, being incredibly diversewell-written, and emotionally driven. By the end I was inspired, humbled, and certainly appreciative of the life I as well as my family were given. If you're looking for a contemporary that has a heartwarming message to deliver, I would highly suggest you pick this up!


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