Review: Rules for 50/50 Chances

Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern

This book had more substance than I was expecting. I knew going into reading it that it was about a young girl’s decision of whether or not to find out whether she has the gene for Huntington’s disease. What I did not know is that it is also a contemporary inter-racial romance. I was happily surprised. McGovern handled both subjects very well.

Rose’s mother is slowly dying from Huntington’s disease, and since she’s almost 18, she can decide for herself whether or not to get tested for the gene. She’s an amazing ballet dancer, and she’s having trouble deciding on colleges since her future health is so unknown. She meets Caleb, an African America boy whose mother and two little sisters have Sickle Cell, at a rare genetic disorder fundraiser.

I related a lot to Rose. She is a planner, and she’s very driven. I am almost certain that I would want to find out if I was in Rose’s position, but I can also understand how she could be so torn. Rose’s parents and her best friend, Lena, seemed very realistic. Caleb was adorable! And I appreciated all of the things McGovern said about race through Caleb. This book was timely and wonderful, and I need to find other works by McGovern.

There was a lot going on in this book. I love a complex plot, and this book was more action packed than I was expecting, which was terrific. Contemporary romance alone is never enough for me, and even just the genetic disease plot could have been dull. The pacing was perfect. I didn’t love the ending, but otherwise I loved this book.

Rating: 4 Stars

Rules for 50/50 Chances
Kate McGovern
Young Adult Fiction
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
November 24, 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 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.

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