Rules for 50/50 Chances
Some books, you can churn a review out for right after finishing them if reviewing stuff is your jam. Others need a little more time. Rules for 50/50 Chances needed to sit in my brain and cook for three months before I found any words for it. It happens! That’s not a bad thing, though. It’s a book that you should take your time with and appreciate.
Though the book isn’t 100% romance, the romance is one of the best things about the book. It’s not super swoony if that’s what you’re looking for. In fact, Caleb and Rose fight quite a bit over the course of the book. What gets me is how real it feels. For all I know, a couple like Caleb and Rose went to high school with me and I missed it while being oblivious! Their nicknames for each other (he calls her HD, she calls him Sickle Cell) is adorable in a morbid sort of way that works without being pretentious.
Rose’s love of ballet and dancing in general was fabulous, which makes her position that much more terrifying. She goes to ballet, puts in her hardest work in order to have a future as a professional dancer, and goes home to see what Huntington’s has done to her mother–and what it will do to Rose herself later in life if she has the gene. It’s a 50/50 chance, as the title says, and that makes planning for the future hard on Rose. Even with this dark cloud hanging over the head of her and her family, there are still good times. McGovern does a wonderful job depicting all the difficulties and small joys if life in a family wherein someone is debilitated by illness.
What Left Me Wanting:
However, it’s not the most compelling book. It took me twelve days to read for no reason other than the story’s inability to make me want to come back for more very quickly. Rose is a difficult narrator to get the story through as well; she’s very selfish and rarely looks or treats her mother like a human being. She is called out for that, thank goodness! The ending is a bit of a letdown as well, but I can’t deny it’s a natural ending. It didn’t go the way I wanted, but it did right by the characters and Rose’s growth as a person.
Reminiscent of The Fault in Our Stars but much more down-to-earth, Rules for 50/50 Chances is a good choice if you want a diverse, true-to-life read. It may take a little longer to read than the average book, but you’re unlikely to regret the read. Sure, you might not choose to reread it, but what you get from the one read is worthwhile and will stick around. You’ll look back on it fondly.
*John Green-esque but BETTER
*refreshingly real and complicated romance
*well-written conflict for Rose
*wonderfully depicts the small joys and difficulties in families affected by incurable illnesses