The Rules for 50/50 Chances – Kate McGovern

The Rules for 50/50 Chances – Kate McGovernTitle: The Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern
Publishing Info: November 24, 2015 by Macmillan
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 27, 2015

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.

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I was recently on the blog tour for THE RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES and had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book. Honestly, I had been shying away from books surrounding serious ailments and illnesses lately because I’ve just been in the mood for some lighter topics so I was actually glad that this I did end up reading the book for the blog tour since it might have otherwise sat on my shelf for a while!

THE RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES was really well done. The main character Rose hits a crossroads in her life when she finally comes to the age where she can decided whether she wants to get tested for Huntington’s disease — a genetic disorder that she has a 50% chance of inheriting from her mother. I really appreciated Rose’s character and how mature she was about the whole situation. There was still plenty of typical teenager but I also got to see the maturity that Rose has acquired over the years, especially when helping out with her mom. It’s never an easy situation to be in and I thought Rose had some real strength to support her mother as well as dealing with the looming question of whether she would inherit the disease as well. I really thought she handled this looming decision about as best as a teenager (or anyone, really) can.

Throughout the book, Rose waffles back and forth whether to get the test — despite the fact that her parents don’t want her to either way — and really puts her life on hold until she knows what her DNA holds for her. As much as people told her to live her life to the fullest no matter what the outcome was, I feel like I would have reacted the same way. If I thought I was going to have this disease, I would probably feel wary of falling in live just like Rose did — mostly because of the fear of hurting a loved one when the disease takes hold. Because of her unknown future, Rose did keep people at a distance and that just felt really realistic for me. It was also hard to connect to her at times because of that and also incredibly frustrating to see people already getting hurt, but it felt genuine and true to how her life might go.

I think the distance that Rose puts between her and her loved ones sort of distanced me as a reader as well so I didn’t connect to the book as much as I had hoped on an emotional level. I think that was a great portrayal of the reality that could come from these situations though. It sounds weird but I actually enjoyed the fights (as tense as they were) between Rose and her family, friends, and new crush Caleb. Her family and friends merely try to support her but Rose still has that feeling that they don’t quite understand — even Caleb who has several family members suffering from Sickle Cell Anemia, another genetic disease. I think it prevented me from connecting with all of them just a bit but I actually appreciated that there was a sort of constant struggle and not just one big blow up fight. It just felt like a very realistic representation.

I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in the ending but I also understand why Kate McGovern chose to end the book that way. The book really was about Rose’s feelings, her journey, and her decisions and I appreciated how all of that went! I would have loved a bit more closure but all-in-all, it was an enjoyable read.
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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

gr updates rules for 50/50 chances

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Rose // Character Obsessions: Ballet, Huntington’s, family, responsibility, decisions. 
Rose was a tough cookie! She was very responsible, no-nonsense in a lot of ways but that also sort of prevented me from getting to know her a bit. She was closed-off because she didn’t want to hurt people if she did end up finding out she has Huntington’s but then I as the reader wasn’t able to connect with her as much as I had hoped!

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Kept Me Hooked On: “Serious” realistic fiction. I’ve needed some lighter YA in my life lately and have been getting my “serious” topics through fantasy and sci-fi, just to distance myself from some serious issues at the moment. This maybe wasn’t the best time for me to read this book but it was really well done and enjoyable!
Left Me Wanting More: Emotion. Well really, this book was plenty emotional but I wanted a bit more from Rose. I totally understand why her character was a bit more rational and a bit less emotional but that extra OOMPH of emotion would have really gotten me that much more invested.

Addiction Rating
Read it

If you’re in the mood for some serious YA with a serious main character, this is a good choice! It was a nice portrayal of some more serious aspects a teenager can deal with without totally destroying my emotions.

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BOOKS LIKE THE RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES

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SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD    THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS

3 thoughts on “The Rules for 50/50 Chances – Kate McGovern

  1. Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover

    I’ve thought this one sounded interesting since I first heard about it. It’s slightly disheartening to see that you felt a little disconnected from the characters, but if you still enjoyed it either way, that’s great! I’m definitely still interested in reading this one, especially because you said it’s really realistic…and you compared it to The Book of Broken Hearts, which I adore. Thanks for the review!

  2. Alexa S.

    I was pleasantly surprised by The Rules for 50/50 Chances when I read it earlier this year! It was definitely a different take on the whole concept of genetic disease, and I definitely think Rose’s struggle was portrayed excellently. Plus, I like that there were lots of other things – dancing and trains – that were included too!

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