Release Date: June 5th, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Details: 245 pages, hardcover
Genre: Young Adult > Contemporary
Source: NetGalley (Thank you NetGalley & Publisher!)
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 about Dani, a girl who's convinced she has nine lives while her twin sister who is diagnosed with cancer only has one. I've never read a book about someone with cancer... wait no, that's a lie, I read For Better, For Worse, Forever when I was a kid and loved it for some reason and I read The Notebook in high school. But this doesn't feel like either of those books. All These Lives is more about Dani and how badly she wants to fix her sister and her family and how she thinks she knows exactly how to and how she won't give up until she does (solo mission style).
The plot for All These Lives is an interesting one; because of something Dani's mother said to her as a kid she now thinks she has nine lives. Kindaaaaa strange, but alright, we can work with that. Dani's sister Jena is in the most depressing stages of cancer and chemo, she's pretty much wasting away and Dani hates it. She's convinced that if she sheds a few of her lives, one with float and save Jena. While the book was pretty slow paced, filled with ways that Dani could shed these lives and her family sending her to a shrink because well, they don't know what to do with her and dealing with the
blessing that is high school it was still engaging. You can't help but feel sorry for Dani, for her family, for her whacktastic way of thinking but you can't really blame her either.
I can't say that I really liked Dani, one minute she was all about saving Jena's life and the next minute she was basically thinking to herself that Jena should man up and bounce back to her old self already. But I can say that I can relate to her. My dad just started chemo for the same type of cancer that Jena has. Thankfully my dad isn't in the stage that Jena is in but it was a pretty uncomfortable glimpse of what's to follow. What I did like about Dani was her sarcasm, and her comebacks. She had a bit of a IDGAF attitude to her and while I get that it's a bit of a defense mechanism, it was entertaining. Especially every scene that had to do with Dani and Candy. OMG. Priceless. I liked the bond Dani shared with her dad, I think daughter/dad bonds are fantastic and her dad seemed to really care about his girls. I wasn't digging her mom though, she was a kookoo for Cocoa Puffs, seriously. Chill out mom. Geez. I kinda sorta liked Jack, I wish Dani would had given him more of a chance.
While All These Lives is a pretty intense read, it was also entertaining and funny. Because I've never really reviewed a book about cancer, it's a little hard for me to form closing thoughts. Apologies! But I will say this, yay for a book about cancer that doesn't require you to have a box of tissues nearby!