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.
I received a copy of this novel for review from the publisher. This does not influence my review or thoughts on the book.
I have to admit that based on the tag line of Rules for 50/50 Chances, I expected a dystopia novel. Of course, what I got was an entirely unique and interesting YA contemporary that I can see myself recommending for years to come. Rose’s journey was compelling, relatable, real and engaging.
Rose is at her last year of high school and with that comes the decision of where to go to school. Of course, that means leaving behind her mom and perhaps her ballet passion. Rose’s mom has Huntington’s, a degenerative disease, and Rose is worried about inheriting it, and watching herself slip away just as her mom has these past couple of years. When Rose finds out that she can get tested for it, she’s worried about the 50% chance of her having it and what that means for her future.
I liked Rose’s journey a lot. It may be hard to relate to someone going through something you have no experience in (degenerative diseases in this case) but her journey was ultimately about her future, and figuring out what she wants. I think that the topic is definitely relatable to people in the sense that we’ve all struggled with the future at one point or another.
I enjoyed the plot as well. While a tad predictable, it was still engaging and interesting. One of my favourite parts of the noble was the romance. I thought the romance progresses naturally and realistically and Caleb was definitely one of the more fascinatin characters.
In terms of diversity, I think Rules for 50/50 Chances a was pretty great. The main character, Rose, is half-Jewish and I personally appreciated all the details. The love interest, Caleb, was also African American and my favourite part about that was that his race played a factor in the novel, he wasn’t just a carbon copy of all the other love interests I’ve read. The main characters often discuss race and it’s refreshing and realistic. Caleb often made observations like “I’m the only black person here” (when they were at the ballet) to which Rose had no reply. She checked her privilege and they had some very real and interesting conversations about it. The diversity was realistic in a seamless and real way.
Overall, Rules for 50/50 Chances was a compelling debut novel that I will highly recommend to fans of contemporary YA that are looking for fresh new topics. I really liked the romance and could definitely relate to the themes present in the novel. I highly recommend it!