Title | You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone
Author | Rachel Lynn Solomon
Genre | YA Contemporary
Pages | 304 pages
Publisher | Simon Pulse
Series | None
Release Date | January 2nd, 2018
Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.
But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.
When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s. The other tests positive.
These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?
You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone is a relevant, compelling tale of two twins who fail to get along, and their struggles with adolescent lives and the looming possibility of one being cut short. This original piece of work tells the tale of Adina and Tovah; twin sisters who haven’t been close for years. Their journey to self-discovery and sisterhood is moving as well as devastating – leaving me hooked and wanting more long after the story was finished.
The book chapters alternate between the two protagonists, Adina and Tovah, point of views, starting and ending with Adina. There is a fluid motion of pacing through the novel, with each part of the story being relevant to the destruction of one twin’s life and the slow-building up of another. It is interesting to see how the opposing beliefs of each girl motivates their behaviour and personality; helping to move the story along and prevent it from becoming tedious to read. With each page I turned in the story, I was hooked. I had to continue to the next part. All in all, I’d say the story took me around three hours to read; bearing in mind I am a fast reader. There was no need for me to discard the book for a rest at any point – it compelled me to read it.
Adina is quite a crazy character. At first, she comes across as shy and introverted – the stereotypical music player who walks around with her head in the clouds. Envied by her sister Tovah for the attention she receives from guys, it’s very clear from the get-go that Adina only has eyes for her music teacher – who only has the intention of sleeping with Adina. It’s quite sad to watch Adina become sucked into the wormhole she creates for herself, allowing everything to consume her. In the end, she has quite a destructive personality, and this is no way helps her with her relationship with Tovah. However, given the circumstances, her behaviour seems almost justified – almost.
Tovah, on the other hand, seems the more sensible out of the twins. She is your typical over-achiever, with her mind set on attending the best college she possibility can and her focus firmly set on her friends and extra-curricular activities. It’s kind of sad that her history with her sister is so bad, and that this has fractured their friendship. A large portion of the book, Tovah thinks that Adina ‘owes’ Tovah for something she did years ago. While this may seem justified to the character, I felt it was rather petty to dwell on it and to allow it tear the sisterhood apart.
You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone addresses several serious issues that are becoming increasingly important in todays modern society. The first being health. It is no secret that the book is based around the incurable degenerate disease of Huntington’s. Their mother, Ima, suffers with it and it can be quite emotional to watch their mother deteriorate throughout the novel. You feel like you’re there with the twins, feeling every accident of missed word and it clenches your heart. I appreciate that this book is working wonders to raise the word about Huntington’s Disease. I, for one, have never heard of it before and would not have thought it to be so serious post-reading the story. Solomon has done a fabulous job in highlighting the destructive of the disease, and need to focus more energy into searching for a cure.
The second important issue discussed by the book is mental health. It becomes apparent that Adina is suffering through depression as the book unfolds – her behaviour becomes unpredictable, her thoughts are scattered and she reverts to some pretty crazy tactics in the final chapters of the book. While it isn’t made a massive thing of until the very end, it’sstill incredibly positive to see this in young adult literature. We should be educating the young that this is not a bad thing to go through – and that the stigma attached to depression is not just. I have depression and have had it for around two years now. I only found out two months ago. So to see this reinforcing in literature is the step forward that I have been waiting for.
Another issue touched upon is that of relationships. Adina’s sexuality is quite clearly flaunted in the book, with her loving her virginity at fourteen to a boy who was eighteen/nineteen. As a consequence, we see Adina attempt to use her sexuality as a weapon against men, who only ever seem to use her. It’s quite a dangerous game to play, and a rocky issue to address in a book – as there is actually little that tells Adina that sexuality is not a weapon. It is Tovah that is the voice of reason in that sense, but I would have liked there to have been a bit more of a control on the extent to which Adina tried to control her sexual energy.
Religion is also quite an important aspect of the book. It was surprising to me, to see a book that focussed around the Jewish religion – simply because I have never come across a young adult story that does so. It was mildly refreshing. Yet it was important, as we see one twin continue with her faith, and another lose it completely. It is interesting to see how this ends up between the girls, and the justification behind both their reasonings.
Other issues touched upon in the book is that of blackmail and stalking – although minor to the novel as a whole, they are still present. In no way do I condone the use of blackmail or stalking, and the actions of the individual only work to prove how desperate the situation becomes.
If I were to say that I didn’t enjoy this story, then I would be lying. It was hard not to. As a debut novel, I am very pleased with the writing of Rachel Lynn Solomon and hope to see her next work on the shelves. Scoring this book is quite easy – I am giving it a four out of five. While I have no critique for the author, I am not overwhelmed by the story. However, I am still pleased that I read this book.