Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Book Review: Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale.

Product details:
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK.
Release date: February 2nd 2012.
Paperback, 478 pages.
Rating: 3½ out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Source:Received from publisher for review.

When seventeen-year-old Rosie’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington’s Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty-per-cent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when she tells her mum’s best friend, ‘Aunt Sarah’ that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie was not her biological mother after all... Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, hitching along on her ex-boyfriend’s GAP year to follow her to Los Angeles. But all does not go to plan, and as Rosie discovers yet more of her family's deeply-buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonising decision of her own - one which will be the most heart-breaking and far-reaching of all...

Described as Jodi Picoult for teens, Someone Else’s Life is an emotional rollercoaster ride of a novel brimming with family ties, secrets and lies.  Dramatic plot twists await at every turn in this page-turning debut from Katie Dale.

For seventeen year old Rosie Kenning, life can’t get much worse.  She’s just lost her mother to Huntington’s disease, a crippling debilitating illness which saw fun-loving, vibrant Trudie waste away to nothing over a number of heartbreaking years.  Now, with a fifty per cent chance of inheriting the Huntington’s gene, Rosie’s facing the very real possibility that the same fate awaits her.  Then an emotional meeting with her neighbour turns Rosie’s world upside down as she learns that Trudie wasn’t her biological mother after all.  Determined to find out the truth about herself and her family, Rosie joins her ex-boyfriend Andy on his gap year travels as she embarks on a transatlantic journey to find out the truth.
Someone Else’s Life gets off to a flying start. The hard-hitting emotional issues that Rosie has to deal with endear her to us as do her feelings for Andy, the boy she lost when her mother became ill, leaving Rosie with not much time for school or boyfriends.  Along with her strong characterization, Dale’s writing style is consistently fast-paced and engaging.  Before I knew it, I was one hundred pages into the book and completely engrossed in Rosie’s story.  At this point, I was thinking that all those ‘Picoult for Teen’s’ commendations were so spot on, but then my interest in this one started to wane a little. I’m a big fan of realistic fiction, but the thing about realistic fiction is that it has to be believable. Dale gets it right at the start but as her plot twists start to spiral out of control, Someone Else Life becomes more of a melodramatic guilty pleasure than the heart-wrenching piece of realistic fiction it seemingly sets out to be.

To fully enjoy this book, you’ll have to prepare for dramatic plot twists and lots of them, with a storyline that contains not only life-threatening hereditary illnesses, but switched at birth stories, teen pregnancies, break-ups, make ups and a multitude of other relationship dramas – the whole shebang really. Reading Someone Else’s Life is like watching a Soap Opera or a Lifetime Movie. You know it’s all going to get a bit overblown in the end, and yet, you can’t stop watching. I love Lifetime Movies, by the way. I can appreciate dramatic plotlines, but I have to say, with how things started, I was expecting something more from this book. In the end it was a case of one convenient plot twist too far for me.

With major crossover appeal, and despite my personal quibbles, Someone Else’s Life is a strong debut, and its one that will garner many fans for Katie Dale. While I felt that it lost some of its initial poignancy with one too many plot twists, overall I found Someone Else’s Life to be an engaging, compelling page-turner with a lot to say and I look forward to reading more from Katie Dale in the future.


  1. Sounds interesting. I like a bit of melodrama now and then.

  2. I've been trying to read more than just endless amounts of paranormal YA (which I have becoming a tad tired of lately) so thanks for the recommendation.

    As always I think you write beautiful reviews.

    1. Thanks Jules! :)

      This one is definitely worth a read if you want a break from the usual paranormal fare. Just be prepared for a bucket load of plot twists! :)

  3. Hm. The beginning of this one sounds amazing, but the fact that it progresses into something more melodramatic has me hesitating in adding this one to my list. Maybe now that I know that going in, I'll be ready for it and it won't bother me as much. Thanks so much for the review Leanna!

  4. Just started this and liking it so far, but I agree you can go TOO far in a novel, much more easily in realistic fiction than in anything paranormal/fantasy based. I'm glad I'm prepared for that now though, hopefully it wont detract as much from my enjoyment of it as it did for you. Perfectly balanced and well-reasoned review as always, Leanna

    The Cait Files

    1. @Jenny - It just all got a little too far fetched for me as things went on. I guess I was expecting something different.

      @Cait - I'll be interested to see what you think! :)

  5. Love the sounds of this book! I just got it on Netgalley!!

  6. I have this one to read and I'm pretty excited! I don't mind lots of drama but I do think sometimes too much can make the book seem less serious and believable. Glad you liked this one overall! Great review :).

  7. Oh yay I just got this one in the mail today. Though my cover's different it's the US one I think. I'm really looking forward to it I usually enjoy drama filled books unless it feels excessive so yeah I'm really psyched for this! :D

  8. Too bad that didn't totally work for you. I love realistic fiction but I agree that I'd rather it not be too melodramatic. It does sound like Jodi Picoult (although I've only read one of her books).

  9. "Dale gets it right at the start but as her plot twists start to spiral out of control, Someone Else Life becomes more of a melodramatic guilty pleasure than the heart-wrenching piece of realistic fiction it seemingly sets out to be."<--this is exactly how I felt! I loved it at first, but then I had to DNF :( Loved your review Leanna!

  10. I loved this one and definitely agree that Katie Dale is one that people need to watch out for! I can't wait to see what comes after this!!

  11. Wow... After reading your review I know have to get it ASAP. To be
    honest I was still deciding whether to read it or not... somedays I
    thought I ought to, as soon as possible, but others I was unsure if I'd
    like it.
    Great site for Seattle Divorce Lawyer Information


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