Review: All These Lives by Sarah Wylie

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.

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All These Lives is one of those titles that I had such high hopes for, I wonder if my anticipation and excitement just led me to be disappointed. Contemporary is always one of my favorite genres and, even more so, I love books with deeper issues. But, unfortunately,  All These Lives failed to impress me all that much.

Dani has grown up thinking she has nine lives, mostly because of her mother’s slightly dramatic past. Her twin sister, Jena, has leukemia. Before you run off, Wylie choose to focus more on the sisters and their bond than what was happening with them. Personally, I would have enjoyed more of the focus on their “lives” than their relationship. Granted, I love character-driven books, I just felt a lot of potential was ignored.

Dani’s way of coping and hope of saving her sister is to use up her nine lives. Dani’s logic and reasoning is explained in the book, but it didn’t bode well with me. She’s 16. She should understand just a bit that her repeat attempts at death are making things worse. And her actions, while acknowledged, aren’t pressed all that much. Obviously, I don’t like Dani. She’s rude and as a result isolated from her friends. I know she’s upset, but I found the entire premise incredibly selfish.

Despite disliking Dani and all of her decisions, All These Lives kept me entertained. I wanted to know what would happen. I also love Jena, she’s very in-tune with her cancer and really just wants to live her life. And the author, Sarah Wylie’s writing is lovely. I can’t wait to read more from her.

To be honest, I’m in the very small percentage of bloggers who seemed to not love All These Lives. As always, when I dislike a book that doesn’t mean everyone else will! I urge you give it a try.

Here are a few blog reviews who enjoyed All These Lives:
365 Days of Reading
Ex Libris
Gothic Angel Book Reviews
That’s What She Read

I received All These Lives from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

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  1. Kandee says:

    I’m really glad you gave your honest opinion about this book. Its really swell that even though it was bad, you notified up all even if it didn’t live up to your standards. If it entertained you, that’s good enough for me, so I may have to check it out.


  2. Well as you know contemporary is my least favorite genre..although i did read my first YA contemporary and actually like it..LOL Sorry this one disappointed you..the synopsis is intriguing too bad it didn’t deliver. I am glad you at least enjoyed it.

  3. misssrobin says:

    Nice review. Good writing and a story that keeps me entertained are usually enough to make up for other deficiencies for me. Maybe I’ll give it a shot. Thanks for sharing.

    Stopping by from SITS.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I absolutely love the cover of this book (something about underwater covers draws me in) and I’ve been wanting to read it. It still sounds like something I’d enjoy, despite your not liking it. Thoughtful review! :)

  5. Lynn Rush says:

    That cover is intense, isn’t it? :)

  6. Molli says:

    Hmm. I had this one through NetGalley but I let it expire. I’m still kinda bummed about that, because the premise is just so awesome! I can definitely see why you’d have mixed feelings on it though, Amanda!

  7. beckie says:

    I am looking forward to reading this book, the cover is intense and synopsis reeled me in. I am worried that i too maybe let down due to my high expectations and anticipation. We will see in time i suppose. I have read the same on another blog tho so :/ but thans for also providing the links to other bogs where peoplehad a different opinion. I think that is a very balanced thing to do so that a person needing a review has plenty of info :)

  8. Hmm, that’s disappointing! I’m curious to see what I’ll think though o: Interestinggg.

  9. Preet says:

    I’ve been curious about this one but may just skip it.

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