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. 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.
All These Lives is one of those titles that I had such high hopes for, I wonder if my anticipation and excitement just led me to be disappointed. Contemporary is always one of my favorite genres and, even more so, I love books with deeper issues. But, unfortunately, All These Lives failed to impress me all that much.
Dani has grown up thinking she has nine lives, mostly because of her mother’s slightly dramatic past. Her twin sister, Jena, has leukemia. Before you run off, Wylie choose to focus more on the sisters and their bond than what was happening with them. Personally, I would have enjoyed more of the focus on their “lives” than their relationship. Granted, I love character-driven books, I just felt a lot of potential was ignored.
Dani’s way of coping and hope of saving her sister is to use up her nine lives. Dani’s logic and reasoning is explained in the book, but it didn’t bode well with me. She’s 16. She should understand just a bit that her repeat attempts at death are making things worse. And her actions, while acknowledged, aren’t pressed all that much. Obviously, I don’t like Dani. She’s rude and as a result isolated from her friends. I know she’s upset, but I found the entire premise incredibly selfish.
Despite disliking Dani and all of her decisions, All These Lives kept me entertained. I wanted to know what would happen. I also love Jena, she’s very in-tune with her cancer and really just wants to live her life. And the author, Sarah Wylie’s writing is lovely. I can’t wait to read more from her.
To be honest, I’m in the very small percentage of bloggers who seemed to not love All These Lives. As always, when I dislike a book that doesn’t mean everyone else will! I urge you give it a try.