Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Review: All These Lives by Sarah Wylie

Title: All These Lives
Author: Sarah Wylie
Publication date: June 5th 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Age group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Cover rating: 5/5
Content rating: 4/5
Pre-order: Amazon

Description via Goodreads:
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.
My thoughts:
I've been really looking forward to reading All These Lives for a long time now and I was so excited when I finally got the chance sit down and dive into it. However, after just a few pages, I began to get a bit wary of it and started to fear I would have some issues with the protagonist, Dani. I just got this feeling that she would irritate me for the rest of the book. Thankfully though, I was wrong! I quickly warmed up to her and actually really began to appreciate her personality after just a few more pages and was able to sit back and enjoy the rest of the book.

Dani certainly stands out as a character and is really well developed. She's sarcastic and cynical and it really suits her! While the premise of this book is about Dani's twin sister having cancer, the core of the novel is really about Dani and where her life is headed... both in relation to her sister and many other things. She is of course going through a lot and not surprisingly, isn't handling it very well. I loved how raw and honest this book was. Dani doesn't sugar coat her thoughts or the situations she ends up in. She doesn't pretend that everything's okay or that she's okay.

Dani's road to self destruction is both fascinating and scary to watch. She's really very confused and trying her best to make sense of the bad things that have happened to her family. I really loved all the minor characters in the book! I especially enjoyed getting to know the ''geeky'' guy from school, Jack. Dani and Jack share a rather interesting friendship and I liked their interactions with each other and how they change as the book goes on. Wylie's writing is lovely and very easy to follow and get lost in. All These Lives was a pretty quick read and one I was finished with in just a few hours.

This is definitely a novel I will remember for a long time to come. Dani's view of the world is brilliant to read about and leaves you with a lot to think about when you're finished! There are a lot of YA cancer books out at the moment (I've read two others so far this year) but All These Lives absolutely has something new to offer and I would recommend it to any contemporary fans looking for something that is real and honest and doesn't spend the whole time deliberately trying to mess with your emotions.


  1. I love the cover! So sad that her twin sister has cancer. I try to avoid cancer books. I end up balling like a baby. I can definitely understand Dani wanting to self destruct.

  2. Great review :) This one sounds interesting, I hadn't heard of it before. I'm glad you think this one has something new to offer, I think I would like Dani's sarcastic & cynical personality. I think I will give this one a try :)

  3. Wonderful review Nicola, I'd read some mixed reviews about this so was really unsure about picking it up, but it's good to know you enjoyed it so much! I may give it a shot! :)

  4. Awesome review Nicola. I think I'll be avoiding this one though. The cancer aspect would definitely steer me away from it.

  5. Wow this is a contemp!? How did I miss this!? Maybe I should stop skimming the blurbs haha. I have it for review too I think I'll really like it. Dani sounds like my kind of character I'm super sarcastic too so me and her will get along >.< Wonderful review, doll!

  6. I've been on the fence on this one since I first saw it but I think your review has convinced me to add it to the tbr list. :D

  7. What is up with all the cancer books this year? At least this one based on your review doesn't sound like a cry your eyes out tear jerker. I like the idea that the protagonist is the twin of the cancer vicitm. All too often we get the cancer perspective. I want to read about it through someone who is extremely close to that person. This book does just that. I would definitley be interested in seeing her spiral of self destruction and hopefully her redemption. Thanks for sharing, Nicola.

  8. I have seen this book around, but never really taken the time to actually read the summary, which sounds fantastic. I love books that feature sisters, so that immediately caught my attention. Plus, the whole idea of the "nine lives" is intriguing. All in all, your review has won me over, and I will definitely be adding this to my TBR pile! :)

  9. I loved this book. I thought Dani was hilarious and the whole subject matter was very emotional, too.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  10. Ah, I think I still would cry even though the heroine is a cynical one! I'm kind of a masochist one in the idea of sad contemporary LOL! I like books that have ability to make me cry. :P It's great that this book has something new to offer! I would love to read about cancer from people who are close to them, and how these people cope the sadness.

    Amazing review, Nicola! So glad you enjoyed this book <3

  11. Oh wow ! This seems to be a really interesting book, but it definitely looks like I will need tissues when read this one.
    I'd love to see how cynical the heroine is.

    Thanks for the encouraging review :)

  12. *gasp* Cancer books are coming back! I remember when I was first getting into teen books how these type of books were really popular but even back then they were slighly older titles. If you are enjoying these books I would suggest checking out A Time for Dancing by Davida Wills Hurwin. It is an amazing story about two girls who are best friends and ballerinas and one of them gets cancer suddenly. That is probably the best cancer book I've ever read and I've re-read it several times over the years, makes me cry every single time.

    Anyway, sorry for the excessive rambling! Thank you for the awesome review, I need to check this one out!

  13. A snarky and sarcastic main character, that's something I like. This book sounds really good. Cancer is such a heavy subject, but this sound like a book that can handle it. Thanks for the review, this book is definitely going higher on my to be read pile :)


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