Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Rachel Lynn Solomon’s debut, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone! This is a fantastic novel about sisterhood, love, and loss and I would definitely recommend you go out and grab yourself a copy right now.
But, if you’re not wholly convinced based on that short description alone, read on to find my review of this stunning debut!
Rachel Lynn Solomon’s debut, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, is a heart-wrenching novel about sisterhood, love, and loss.
Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah are vastly different, the rift between them widening with each passing year.
Adina is a viola prodigy who yearns to be a soloist–and convince her music teacher that he wants her the way she wants him. But Tovah is an academic overachiever looking to be accepted at Johns Hopkins, start med school, and become a surgeon.
Their ambition is just about the only thing they have in common, especially when a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind, fractures their bond leaving Adina with the short straw.
They both end up wrestling with guilt, betrayal, and the thrill of first love, unsure if their sisterly bond is even worth saving.
Can we just take a moment and relish in the glory of this book? Because it’s fantastic.
There are so many things I can rave about this book, and the best place to start is with the characters, who are the core of the story.
I loved reading about them, and although at times I wasn’t too keen on them (I can hear the voice in my head scolding each of them to play nice), I still really enjoyed their story and their characters.
Despite them being twins, they’re so different and there’s this huge rift between them that might not be bridged. It’s a very rocky road for both of them to reach a state of sisterhood where they’re able to accept one another.
There’s absolutely no way that I’ll be able to write this review without spoiling who is diagnosed with Huntington’s. But I’ll try, for the sake of “spoiler free.”
Adina and Tovah both have their own sets of problems and flaws. Each struggles with the idea of romance, especially with the weight of the results of their genetic test imposing on both of them.
I loved how unique yet similar the characters were–despite them having very different passions and outcomes, they each had the same primal feelings of things like jealousy and fear of the future and so much more.
They were vastly complex and with the addition of one of the twins’ diagnosis, their bond grew even more tangled. I’m not going to go into the details of each twin’s struggles because of the spoiler, but I think Solomon did a great job of shaping their characters into that complex, flawed person that you want to read about and never get bored of reading.
They each had their struggles, especially with more serious topics (trigger warning) like self-harm, depression, suicide, etc. Huntington’s played a huge role in this story, not just with the twin bond, but also as it leads one of the characters to abnormal actions.
One has to suffer with the idea that she’ll become like their mother and lose control over her body, while the other has to suffer with the survivor’s guilt, creating a very interesting dynamic.
Adina and Tovah weren’t so flawed that they became annoying or offensive and they weren’t so perfect that they were a bore to read.
Their own friendship dynamics were reflected in the less-than-healthy or non-existent friendship dynamics the girls had outside each other, and that feeling of friendlessness is something I think a lot of readers besides myself can relate to.
I’d also like to point out how the romance was great! There are a lot of complications on Adina’s end and I didn’t ship her & her music teacher (kudos to Solomon for making the girls of age, though), but Tovah’s romance was super cute but subtle and not the main focus of the story.
The pacing was fantastic and I absolutely zoomed through the book. The plot worked very well with the character growth. This isn’t really a plot-based novel, but developments in the plot did a great job of intertwining with the girls’ own stories and growths as characters.
The alternating points of view were really fun to read and I thoroughly enjoyed reading from both girls, sympathizing with both.
There were a few small, special things about this novel that I adored, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to shove in a list too!
- I loved how there were body shapes represented that aren’t normally shown in young adult literature. Both of the girls mentions their heavy busts and this is something I don’t normally see in young adult novels. It’s usually that “perfect breast that fits in the palm of the guy’s hand,” and seeing girls with D cups in this novel was a lovely surprised.
- The importance of Judaism in this novel was something I loved seeing and I actually have a friend who talks a lot about the lack of Jewish representation in novels, and I immediately texted her to read this book after finding out about not only the main characters being Jewish, but the importance of the religion in widening the rift between the girls and how both practiced it differently.
- I loved how Huntington’s plays a huge role in this story and I’ve already mentioned this plot-wise, but I also love how it helps educate readers about this disease, which is so cool!
Overall, I absolutely adored Rachel Lynn Solomon’s debut and would 100% recommend it to everyone to read (and so they’ll fangirl with me about it).
More About the Book
A moving, lyrical debut novel about twins who navigate first love, their Jewish identity, and opposite results from a genetic test that determines their fate—whether they inherited their mother’s Huntington’s disease.
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?
From debut author Rachel Lynn Solomon comes a luminous, heartbreaking tale of life, death, and the fragile bond between sisters.
More About the Author
Rachel Lynn Solomon is a Pacific Northwest native who loves rainy days, tap dancing, red lipstick, and new wave music. Her debut contemporary YA novel, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, will be out from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse in spring 2018, with a second book, A Year of Bad Ideas, to follow in 2019.
Rachel has written for newspapers, produced a radio show that aired in the middle of the night, and worked for NPR, and she currently works in education. Rachel lives in Seattle with her boyfriend and tiny dog. She’s represented by Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency.
Want to take a chance at winning a copy of You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone? You can enter the giveaway below which is open from January 2nd to 17th for one signed hardcover copy (US only)!
Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for arranging this blog tour and Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for providing me with the digital review copy! Don’t forget to check out the other stops!
Are you excited for You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone? Because I sure am! Don’t forget you can find it now at major booksellers!