Release Date: June 5
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.
Let me first just say that the reason I've been reading this for over a week isn't because of its insufferable boringness. It's actually because of my insufferable workload as a high-school sophomore. If it were, say, the weekend when I started this, my review would've came in frantics and complete hysterics, full of gushing and an insurmountable number of typos.
ALL THESE LIVES is much different than I thought it was going to be. The story and the premise remind me slightly of Imaginary Girls (and so does the cover!), but there were quite a few differences. The plot was actually existent in this book, not shrouded in gorgeous writing as was the case in IG. The sisters are much closer in this book and much more relatable.
Dani Bailey is a fraternal twin, and her other half, Jena, has cancer. Dani has been different all her life because she has nine lives. Or, she did have nine lives. She lost some when she got in a car accident and caught an infection in her chest. To cope with the pain of losing her sister, she goes out and rids herself of all of her extra lives, hoping they'll fly out into the universe and hopefully toward someone who needs/wants them more than her, like her sister.
ALL THESE LIVES is a very original story, and when I say original, I mean original to me. I've never read a book where a person had more than one life. It wouldn't suffice to say the subject of the novel intrigued me. The book starts off with a bang of a prologue, explaining how it feels for MC Dani to die. From there, I was hooked.
One of the subplots of the book is Dani's acting career. She's trying to land a lead in a toothpaste commercial, and Jena's progressing death is conflicting with her dreams. Everything Dani feels in the book is so realistic, it's almost as if you're right there. I've never known what it's like to lose someone you truly love (I've been very fortunate) besides a distant family member, but if I was losing my other half, I know what I'd feel, and it's exactly what Dani is feeling.
The writing of the book is good. A few solid gems are interspersed throughout, a few emotional lines that feel like punches in the gut.
I definitely know I'm going to add this to my real-life shelf when it is released in a few short months!