Rules for 50/50 Chances
By: Kate McGovern
Available November 2015
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 will tell 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 going to ballet school 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 in California, Rose begins to question her carefully-laid rules.
This Blonde’s Review:
Rose’s mother has Huntington’s disease. She watches her mother’s disease slowly take away the woman she used to be. Rose knows that since her mother has the disease she has a 50/50 chance of having it as well. Because of this Rose lives her life afraid of what it could mean for her. Why should she plan for a future in dance if she may get the shakes so bad she can barely take care of herself?
When she meets Caleb she finally meets someone who understands what it means to come from a genetically flawed family. The biggest difference is how they live their lives, though she believes that he is able to live life without all of the rules since he knows he won’t get the same disease his mother and sisters have. Caleb cares about Rose and wants to have her in his life, he wants to love her and make plans with her. Rose’s rules keep her from being able to let go enough to let herself love him.
When Rose finds out she can take the test to see if she will get Huntington’s and starts to struggle with her life choices more than before. She doesn’t want to allow herself to dream of going to school for dance without the test. Rose finds herself pushing people away and has to make some life decisions. If she knows she’ll get the disease she’ll never get the time back, she’ll always live as though she already has it. She may choose not to let herself love or dream. She has to decide if she’d rather know or rather give herself a chance to live in the moment and dream.
When life turns into a roller coaster it can feel natural to hold on tight to the things you can control. To let fear lead the way is a common reaction. I can certainly understand and relate to it. I love that Caleb was the opposite and challenged Rose to live without letting the fear take over. He had his own struggles but was willing to love Rose if she’d let him.
This was a great book. I can’t imagine living with that kind of uncertainty over my head and don’t know how I’d deal with it. I do know that I enjoy stories with characters who have to figure out what is right for them. There is no wrong answer when it comes to deciding if you would like to know if you could get sick someday or not. It is a personal decision. Seeing Rose attempt to navigate that path without alienating the people around her was a good story and can certainly make you think.
If you enjoy books where the characters have to determine what the best path for them would be, and then watch them try to pick up the pieces of things that got broken on their way to that answer, then you’ll want to read this one.