Tag Archives: The Rules for 50/50 Chances

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 // GoodreadsDate 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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Blog Tour: The Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern | Author Interview + Giveaway!

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Welcome to the blog tour for
The Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern!

Today I’m on the blog tour for THE RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES, hosted by Macmillan/Fierce Reads!! I’m really excited to share an interview with author Kate McGovern on today’s post! We’ll talk about the book, Kate’s personal experiences, and more! Before we hop into the interview, let’s have a refresher on the book first!

Blog Tour: The Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern | Author Interview + Giveaway!Title: 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 // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 27, 2015
Related Posts: The Rules for 50/50 Chances

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 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.

INTERVIEW WITH KATE MCGOVERN

Brittany: The Rules for 50/50 Chances is your debut novel — congrats!! How did you choose Rose’s story for your first book? 
Kate McGovern: ​Thanks! RULES is a story that sat with me for years before I wrote it. I read an article about a young woman in a similar situation, and I couldn’t get her story out of my head. My college playwriting professor, who is still a mentor to me, always said to “write the things you obsess over,” and I think that’s very good advice. Rose’s voice came into my head fully formed–she was always herself, right from the first page–and I think it’s because her story just haunted me from day one. I needed to write this book.

B: The book follows Rose who has a 50/50 chance of inheriting Huntington’s Disease from her mother. The main thing she struggles with is when to take that test that will tell her how the rest of her life is going to go. What’s the biggest decision or event (that you’d like to share) that’s changed the course of your life?
KM:
​Ooh, tough one. This is cheating a bit, but I’d say that each of the major moves in my life was a defining experience: first when I moved to New York City after college, then when I moved to the UK at 26, then when I moved home and settled down in Cambridge, which is my hometown. The New York years were very formative for me as a writer–I had my first full-length play professionally produced, and I was published for the first time, although I didn’t write fiction yet at that point. And I also started working in education, which is my other passion (I now for an awesome education non-profit organization). Living in the UK for three years took me completely out of my comfort zone in all the best ways. There’s something about being an outsider that is ​indispensable for a writer. I loved it. After I finished grad school at Oxford, I taught in an elementary school in very, very far West London, which gave me a fresh perspective on public education in the U.S. And moving back to Cambridge was the start of a new phase of my life, where I feel much more settled and finally “grown up,” in a way. (It only took me until my 30s :))

B: I really admired Rose’s strength and how she was trying to find a perfect blend of head and heart when it came to the really tough decisions and moments with this disease. What do you hope readers take away from Rose’s experiences?
KM: Dealing with a parent’s illness of any kind is a singular, unbelievably difficult experience. Rose has to grow up in some ways before she should. I’ve had a lot of readers ask me what I would do in Rose’s position, and the truth is, I just don’t know. In some ways, I’m in awe of Rose, and of others who are in her shoes (including readers who have experienced similar circumstances). I hope readers empathize with her, and take away from her that it’s possible to live well and fully even in the midst of incredibly challenging and destabilizing circumstances. Rose might seem indecisive, but I think she’s just scared, and rightly so. She’s doing her best with the hand she’s been dealt, which is all any of us can do.

B: I read on this “Meet the Newbies” post from Dana Square and A Perfection Called Books that there are a lot of personal tidbits and likes from your life that appear in The Rules for 50/50 Chances! (I love when this happens. It’s so fun to identify!) How did you decide which favorites to include in the book?
KM: My cousin described reading the book as a “treasure hunt” because she could see the little bits that were taken from real life in the midst of all the fiction, and I love that. The truth is, it’s all fiction–because even the pieces that are based on my real experiences are taken out of context, mixed up, changed to fit the story, etc. Nothing in the book is taken directly from my life. But ​​I did have fun using some things in particular: Rose’s best friend, Lena, has pieces of several of my closest friends, but especially one of my college roommates/BFFs. So she was really fun to write. Rose’s mom is not like my mom much at all, but my mom does love trains, and so do I, so that’s where that detail comes from. The cross-country train ride Rose takes is based on my own experience–I rode the California Zephyr in 2012, and it was such an unbelievable experience that I knew I had to write about it somehow. I enjoyed reliving that train ride by writing those scenes.

B: What has been your favorite experience so far about being a debut author? Has anything really surprised you?
KM: ​This is going to sound obvious, but I was really surprised when I suddenly realized, “OH, now people are going to READ THIS.” I hadn’t really thought about that part, but it’s very exciting (and scary)! Beyond that, one of the best parts has been the incredible support I’ve received from my community, near and far. My family, my friends, my colleagues at my day job–everyone has just backed me up, and been so excited, which has been really humbling and wonderful. I’m very grateful for that. I’ve always, always wanted to write a book. So I’m just trying to soak up everything about this experience, because it really is living a lifelong dream.

B: We always like to know what else authors have in the works! Do you have any other projects you’re working on next? Are there other genres you’re considering or is contemporary/realistic fiction where your passion lies?
KM: I’m working on another book in the same genre–YA contemporary. I think that’s where I’ll stay for now, but I might branch out eventually. I love mysteries and thrillers–I don’t know if I’d be very good at writing them, but I’d love to give it a try at some point. My current work-in-progress is really a love story at its core, but it also deals with race and violence–some big stuff. As with RULES, I really started from the characters’ voices, and I’m just trying to do their stories justice.

A big, big thank you to Kate McGovern for this wonderful interview! It was an absolute pleasure and I loved hearing more about THE RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES!

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