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Rules for 50/50 Chances

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  787 ratings  ·  167 reviews
A heartrending but ultimately uplifting debut novel about learning to accept life's uncertainties; a perfect fit for the current trend in contemporary realistic novels that confront issues about life, death, and love.

Seventeen-year-old Rose Levenson has a decision to make: Does she want to know how she's going to die? Because when Rose turns eighteen, she can take the test
Kindle Edition, 351 pages
Published November 24th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Kate The 50/50 chance of carrying the genetic mutation, Huntington's Disease.…moreThe 50/50 chance of carrying the genetic mutation, Huntington's Disease.(less)

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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  787 ratings  ·  167 reviews

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Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
“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? Would you want to watch it happen, in slow motion, every day? My mother is my crystal ball.”

This is my third fiction title this year about Huntington’s disease – Inside the O'Briens being the first and You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone the second. While it is my least favorite of the three, it is still a very good book.

17-year-old Rose Levenson’s mother
Nov 19, 2015 rated it liked it
I don’t think I’ve ever been as conflicted about a book as I am about “Rules for 50/50 Chances”. It is a solid 3 1/2 but can’t be rounded up to a 4.

The protagonist, Rose, is a ballerina with a mother who is suffering with Huntington’s disease. While I don’t know anyone with Huntington’s and therefore not speaking from experience, I believe the author did a good job of conveying the challenges and emotions it presents to an average family. One of the strongest points of the book is how well-devel
rachel ☾
3.5 stars

I hate when a book starts out strongly, but peters out as the story continues. It’s disappointing and kind of draining and exactly what happened with this book. For a second there, the witty banter, complex characters and wonderful writing style had me thinking I’d found the contemporary story to rival my favourite, Night Owls. But in the end, I had too many small problems with the story that added up and affected my overall enjoyment: I wasn’t a fan of the MC, the love interest (Caleb)
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

This review was originally posted on It Starts at Midnight
When I saw Rules for 50/50 Chances on Goodreads, I knew I needed it in my life. First, genetic stuff is so fascinating to me. Always has been, and now having a kid with a de novo (which is basically a new mutation, the first in his lineage- meaning his parents don't have it) dominant genetic mutation makes me even more curious. And Huntington's is one of the the worst genetic hands a person can be dealt. The book goes into a good amou
Emerald Sue
May 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
"with the April sun peeking in like it's keeping our secret, we're safe." ...more
Jaime Arkin
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
In Rules for 50/50 Chances we meet 17 year old Rose Levenson. She’s a student, a dancer, a daughter and a friend. She’s also possibly carrying the genetic mutation for Huntington’s disease. At the age of 12 her mom was diagnosed and over the years she has seen the way it has changed her once vibrant and loving mother and it scares her. She has a fifty-fifty chance of carrying the mutation herself and she can’t seem to picture a promising future until she knows for sure what it might entail.

The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

4.5 Stars

Rules for 50/50 Chances is one of the most eye-opening books I’ve read this year. This book talks about rare genetic diseases, some of which I didn’t even know existed, and discusses them in a way that is easy to understand. There is also a calm and understanding main character, and an incredible use of ballet dancing. I suggest that everybody read this book, as I certainly enjoyed it!

Rules for 50/50 Chances definitely taught me a lot about genetic disease
Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
Rules for 50/50 Chances is one of the most heart wrenching books I have read this year. I have read some real heart wrenches but this book hit home because of what the book was about. I am not sure if you have ever heard of the Disease Huntington's but here is the definition a hereditary disease marked by degeneration of the brain cells and causing chorea and progressive dementia. In essence your body starts to shut down and you lose your mind. So when I was reading this book I cried because it ...more
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! I got a finished copy of the book for review through YA Books Central and I'd also gotten an ARC directly from the publisher.
Diversity Rating: 5 – Diverse as Fuck
5 (Rose is an Ashkenazi Jew through her mother, Caleb and his family are black)
QUILTBAG: 1 (Rose meets a gay couple in passing on a train; minor)
Disability: 5 (Rose’s mother has Huntington’s and Rose may share the gene; Caleb’s family has the sickle cell anemia gene and his mother
Elaine Dimopoulos
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES is YA realism at its best: a moving story with a fascinating central character facing a life-altering decision. Rose's mother has Huntington's, and Rose must decide whether to get the test that determines if she will inherit the disease. Beautifully voiced, gorgeously written. The interracial romance is fresh and well crafted, too--and who doesn't love a cross country train trip? I can see RULES becoming an instant classic with wide appeal, a la THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. I ...more
Karla Mae (Reads and Thoughts)

*ARC Kindly provided by Kate Mcgovern (the author) for review*

“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? Would you want to watch it happen, in slow motion, every day?”

  With an opening line like that who wouldn’t get scared? Honestly, I’m scared of reading stories that involves sick people. I’m clingy. I easily get attached to lovely characters and I actually
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES gives you a lot to think about both during and after the read. It poses the question - if you could find out whether you had a debilitating and ultimately fatal illness, would you want to know? It touches upon a number of issues from the loss of a parent to illness, to caring for and living with family members who are ill, to race, to class, to anger, frustration, guilt, sacrifice, and love. And it does so through a narrator who is at the cusp of starting her life as an a ...more
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
17 year old Rose Levenson sees her possible future every time she looks at her mother. Living with Huntington's disease, a degenerative condition that will eventually prove fatal, Rose's mother has passed on a 50/50 chance for Rose to get the disease as well. On the cusp of heading off to college, Rose has to decide whether she can live her life knowing she may get the disease or find out for certain with a blood test. With her future hanging in the balance, can Rose get up the courage to really ...more
This is one of the books that reminds me just why I love YA contemporary so much.
Abbie Jones
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's good. ...more
Brittany S.
Initial impressions 10/27/15: Actual rating around 3.75 stars
This book felt very honest and true to the characters which I really appreciated! Sometimes Rose was a little too practical and not emotional enough but I also totally understand that. Everyone handles the uncertainty of life's major challenges in a different way.
I really enjoyed the characters and the reality of the book but it did seem a bit long in places. It took me about ten days to read which is kind of long for me (though I di
Jan 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary

3.5 stars
As someone who is fascinated by genetics, Rules for 50/50 Chances caught my eye from the first moment I read the summary. Fortunately, it managed to live up to my expectations and then some.

For the past six years, Rose has watched helplessly as her mother slowly regresses due to a degenerative genetic disease called Huntington’s disease. Now 18, Rose is finally eligible to take a test that determines whether or not she carries the same deadly mutation as her
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
FIRST THOUGHTS: I really, really liked this story, you guys. It's not just how it opened my eyes to Huntington's Disease, or how the romance made me smile. It's the way it unabashedly remained truthful through it all, good and bad, and how it doesn't hesitate to show us the real deal when it comes to these characters, their relationships, their lives. Rose was not always the easiest to understand, and frustrated me a lot, but I totally GOT it. ...more
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a superb debut – especially if you’re looking for something with great characters and that will give you some vivid feelings. Read my review here ...more
Laurence R.
Nov 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: dying-to-read
This is a pretty good book. It has great romance, realistic characters, and it deals pretty well with a rare genetic disease. Although I can't say I know much about the latter, it certainly opened my eyes. ...more
Michelle Wrona
This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!

I like books about taking chances. About people taking risks and discovering something new about themselves. Obviously, I didn't want any horrible outcome of this novel and its main character, Rose Levenson. Rules for 50/50 Chances is not your average contemporary romance tale that some people compare to anything by the works of John Green and The Fault in Our Stars. This novel can save a life, more specifically the l
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
Reasons to like:
Very diverse characters-- I appreciated that.

While I don't disagree with some others' opinions that Rose was at times annoying, I thought she was relatable, which I think is important in a book.

I'm no expert, but I think after reading this book, I feel somewhat more educated on Huntington's disease. Yay for new knowledge

Reasons not to like:
My main thought throughout reading this book was how predictable the whole thing was. I like Rose for her relatability, yes, but I don'
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I liked this book a lot! This was probably one of my quickest reads! This book is about a girl named Rose and her dying mother. Rose gets wrapped up in the genetic disease world and can not force herself to stop thinking about what if's. She meets this guy named Caleb at the rare genetic disease walk in upstate Brooklyn. Caleb's mom and twin sisters have sickle cell. They slowly fall in love blah blah blah and all that stuff. Rose is a ballet dancer and the book talks about that as well. All in ...more
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
it is quite ironic that i read this book now when I heard about get out. also the way rose tries to make sickness a competition is gross.
Erin Kelly
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
The characters felt so real, like they could walk off the page. So well written and brings up many interesting questions. Highly recommend.
Cheyenne Teska
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, arcs, reviewed, for-review
Rose has spent the last 6 years of her life watching her mother's motor skills deteriorate before her. The thing about Huntington's disease is that there's nothing that anyone can do to about it, and the horrifying reality is that Rose has a 50/50 shot of getting the disease herself. The worse things get, the more she begins to look into testing, which she can do as soon as she turns 18, although that's not necessarily recommended. As readers get to know Rose and her family, we get a close look ...more
John Clark
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you were watching your mother die of a genetic disease and knew you had a 50/50 chance of getting it, what would you do? Would you decide to be tested and know for sure, even though chances are that you wouldn't have any symptoms for fifteen to twenty years? Compound that with the fact that your life has revolved around ballet since you were a little kid and consumes almost as many hours as a full time job.
This is the situation facing seventeen year old Rose Levenson. Her mother's condition
Feb 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
I knew after a few pages that I was not going to like the book because I kept getting distracted after a sentence or two and I know it was because I did not connect with Rose, the main character. I generally disliked her and not for anything that the author intentionally does to make us dislike the character. I just didn't like her.

But, I appreciate the issues and problems of the book and think it hits a different audience in YA lit that doesn't always get discussed: there are loving parents to
S.M. Parker
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a phenomenal debut. So good that I have had a really hard time reviewing it because I know my words will never do this work justice. I will say that this was beyond doubt on of my favorite reads of 2015 and I am already eager to see what McGovern writes next. I mean, I have my cursor hovering over a pre-order button that doesn't even exist yet! Okay, so... RULES. This is dense book that deals with a lot of heavy subject matter. The protagonist must decide if she wants to be tested for a ...more
Gail Nall
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, arc, 15ers
I flew through this book! While the heart of the book deals with Rose's decision whether or not to find out if she carries the Huntington's gene mutation, my favorite parts were the relationships. Specifically, Rose's relationship with her mother as her mother deteriorates with Huntington's, and her new relationship with Caleb, the guy she meets at a gene mutation charity walk. Really well-written and engaging, I'd definitely recommend this one~ ...more
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Kate McGovern is the author of Rules for 50/50 Chances, which was called a “standout contemporary read” by Booklist. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a house full of books.

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