Rules For 50/50 Chances
Author: Kate McGovern
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: November 24, 2015
Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux
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.
First Sentence: If you had a crystal ball, like in a fairy tale – or a magic mirror or one wish or whatever – would you want to know how you were going to die?
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
What first attracted me to Rules For 50/50 Chances was the cover. I mean, look at all that orange! (If you guys can’t tell, orange is my favorite color: Charmander is orange, I love orange flavored candy, and a gorgeous sunset is the color orange.) Add the fact that it had that white skull – it took me awhile to figure out that it was just a skull placed upside down – and I had to have it in my life. On top of that gorgeous cover, Rules For 50/50 Chances also focuses on a serious topic, making it a book I had to read.
“I’m sorry,” he says. “I didn’t mean – I shouldn’t have said that. But you can’t not take chances in your life now, just because you don’t know what’s going to happen to you twenty years from now. That’s absurd. There’s too much stuff in this life that we don’t know about anyway.” (ARC 172)
The first third of Rules For 50/50 Chances started off really strong. I was automatically intrigued with Rose’s situation and the many aspects of Huntington’s disease, something I’ve sadly never heard about in school since I’ve never taken genetics before. Rules For 50/50 Chances opened up my eyes to some genetics diseases I’ve never heard of and how it can change everything. However, after the one-thirds point into the book, I could feel the strong beginning start to die down as all Rules For 50/50 Chances talked about was the daily going ons of Rose’s life and about her thinking about the same thing over and over again: What if she has or doesn’t have Huntington’s disease? How will she live her life then?
I am a bit disappointed with two parts of the ending since I personally feel that they are both a cop out, even though I understand why the author would want to end the book that way. I won’t go more into detail since they’ll both be spoilers, but I’m sure other people who have read Rules For 50/50 Chances would get at least one part that I’m talking about.
“You know, every choice you make to share yourself, every time, it’s a risk. No matter what. People get sick, they get scared, they get stroppy…My point is, you don’t know. There are no guarantees in this life, about anything. Full stop.” (ARC 324)
One thing I never expected to see was how diverse Rules For 50/50 Chances was. The main character is half-Jewish while the love interest is African American who plays a major part in Rules For 50/50 Chances (obviously) and brings up the topic of race a fair number of times. Rose’s best friend Lena is also Asian, but her culture is sadly brought up only once, if you can even call that discussion that.
Overall, Rules for 50/50 Chances is a diverse book that explores the “what ifs” situation when it comes to genetic diseases.