Today I’m so thrilled to share this amazing book with all of you so let’s take a minute to appreciate this fabulous piece of debut by my lovely friend, Rachel!
In this post, you can expect some book info, author intro, my review and a giveaway. 🙂
You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone
by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: Jan 2, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambi-tious 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 ca-reer as a surgeon.
But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Hunting-ton’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 re-bels 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.
My Review & Favorite Quotes
***Actual rating: 5/5 Tov Stars***
The thin ivory candles in the middle of the table are a third their original height. Jews are not to extinguish them; we are supposed to let them burn on their own instead. That’s what I have been taught.
Tonight I lean over and blow them out.
It’s official! You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone just drew my reading year of 2017 to a close perfectly. Wow, I don’t even know where to begin with this splendid piece of writing by the lovely Rachel. This book is highly educational (in my opinion) and slightly entertaining. I learn a lot about the mysterious Hebrew language, Jewish people and their traditions; I also learn a lot about both physical and mental health issues.
You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone starts with a pair of 18-year-old, half-American, half-Israeli, Jewish twins, Tovah and Adina Siegel, hating each other’s guts from the very beginning to the end. They never stop feeling jealous toward the other’s achievements in life and they also have trouble communicating with each other since they all have so much to complain about and find fault with. Tovah is the academic genius who never fails a test and participates in a variety of extracurricular activities so that she can be fully prepared for the early application to the one and only Johns Hopkins. She aces in all her works and has an ambition to become a great surgeon in the future. She’s a well-disciplined and extremely obedient daughter who always follows the Jewish rules such as keeping kosher or wearing the evil eye bracelet all the time.
On the contrary, Adina is the treacherous, rebellious one who never quite listens to her Aba and Ima (that’s how Tovah and Adina call their papa and mama), who’s not afraid to go on an adventure just to see what life has to offer. Just because she doesn’t study as hard as Tovah doesn’t mean she’s not talented. In fact, Adina is a viola prodigy. She spends days and nights practicing viola; she even takes private lessons with Arjun, her 25-year-old Indian music teacher.
I don’t know why but Tovah and Adina seem to fight/compete against each other on literally everything; one gets envious when the other achieves something great. They never stop arguing about trivial matters all the time, and I get that it’s probably the sibling thingy (honestly, sometimes twins are even worse because they’re the same age, they look identical and they have to share their parents’ love) but what I find hard to believe is how opposite, how different Tovah and Adina are.
It’s already dreadful enough that both sisters keep comparing themselves with each other and constantly make the other’s life miserable; to make matters worse, the story truly begins when they get their genetic test results for early diagnosis of Huntington’s disease, the one that slowly eats their Ima away day after day. Huntington’s disease is an inherited disorder that results in death of brain cells; some of the earliest symptoms include memory loss, mood swings, unsteady gaits, lack of coordination, hallucinations…etc.
With the completely opposite test results, the twins are no longer twins. In order not to spoil anything about the story, I’d leave this part out for you to discover by yourselves. *wink*
What I’d like to talk about is Adina’s characteristics. It never comes across my mind that such a talented viola player can be someone so dangerous—both physically and mentally—because she always seems so passionate and confident about her life. Little do I know how mentally unstable Adina actually is and the more her story unfolds, the more shocking I become.
Tovah will bring me zero relief. If she and I grow close again, she will be a constant reminder of everything I am missing out on. It’s because we are twins that it will hurt so much, seeing her experience things that I cannot, knowing I am so close to them but unable to grasp them. I will watch her graduate college and become a surgeon and fix people and get married and maybe have children. I will watch her plan an entire fucking future without worrying about an impending death. I will watch her mull over choice after choice after choice.
Maybe life is better without her.
She’s so determined to destroy Tovah’s life by accomplishing everything Tovah can’t or fails to accomplish, and then she’s so sure about sleeping with older guys. She never truly experiences puppy love because she always deems herself as a young girl with mature mind who deserves to
have sex be with older men. Yep, Adina is this kind of double-life girl who seems to perform excellently in front of prominent musical influencers while seeks a way to satisfy her sexual desire at nights.
It is a mystery to me when lust turns to love, when sex turns into a relationship. If a relationship means playing duets and cooking together and teaching each other words in other languages, then maybe that is exactly what Arjun and I have. Maybe love is what comes next.
In the meanwhile, since the lovely-teacher’s pet-Tovah is so wrapped up in her studies and extracurricular activities, having a boyfriend is never on her to-do list in the near future. But who knows? Thanks to the adorable guy with a gap between his front teeth named Zack, Tovah finally manages to see the world through an artist’s eyes. *heart eyes & pink bubbles*
Zack reaches across the table and touches my evil-eye bracelet, his index finger spinning one of the beads. Jewelry’s always itched and scratched me, but this is a link to a family member I know so little about, so when Ima gave it to me for Chanukah, I vowed to wear it as much as possible.
“That’s new,” he says. A statement, not a question. This close, I can smell his ocean-salt cologne.
“So is your cologne.”
His cheeks flush. “You got me there.”
“This was my Israeli grandmother’s, on my mother’s side.”
“Can’t say the same about my cologne.”
Tovah and Zack’s transformation from friends to lovers is both cheesy and awkward but I love it! I mean, they have some serious, real talks about love, life and even sex instead of the cliché sorts of sweet nothing.
I also appreciate how Tovah can look past Zack’s unexperienced self in romantic relationship/sex and she can also put aside the stereotypical thinking that artists are poor. Seriously, it’s really rare for an ambitious, successful genius to see beneath the ordinarily beautiful.
”There are a lot of ways to be smart,” I say, though I probably wouldn’t have considered Zack’s art intelligent before this year. “It’s not all about grammar or tests. Your art, for example, that’s smart. I can tell how much thought you put into it, even when you claim it doesn’t mean anything.”
“What I’m trying to say is, you never make me feel that way. Like I’m not smart enough to be with you, even though you’re a genius too. And I really appreciate it.”
Undoubtedly, the main focus of this book is on the Siegel twins because whoa, you won’t believe how much they’ve improved throughout the story. When it comes to character development in a story, I always think it means the little steps those protagonists take or the subtle progress they make because those are pretty much what I’ve read so far. Thus, color me shock when I finished reading this book. *deadpan* Adina is the ticking bomb in the Siegel family and Tovah is the most motivated one in life; in the last few chapters of the book, both of them somehow realize the essence of life and the knowhow to live life to the fullest all of a sudden. No kidding, the twins suddenly find their unique way of compromise and for once, I finally feel relieved to see them stick together like a family does.
Our relationship probably won’t ever be what it was before we started growing into our own skin. Before we hurt each other. Before the world hurt us. Maybe we’ll never fully understand each other or know all of each other’s secrets, and surely we’ll never recapture our childhood innocence. But we can have something new. Something messy and real and imperfect, because that’s what both of us are.
All in all, I have a good time reading You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone since the plot twists are so intense and the huge difference between Tovah and Adina’s personalities is pretty intriguing. Though I admit that this book at some point makes me feel really, really down because there are some serious issues addressed and Rachel’s writing is so good that it’s hard not to feel what the characters are struggling with.
In my opinion, trigger warnings for Huntington’s disease, depression, anxiety, suicide, and strong sexual desire are necessary before reading/recommending this book to someone else. Besides, I would totally suggest teenagers (especially senior high school students) read You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone since most of the main characters are facing a lot of indecisions about their college majors, future careers, meanings of life and such but most importantly, their lessons of life are what you truly don’t want to miss!
Anyway, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone is a brilliant debut work of Rachel and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it to everyone (*please note the TW)! It’s one of my most anticipated reads for 2018 and I’m pleased to say that it doesn’t disappoint. Lastly, I just want to say that Rachel, you’re officially one of my top favorite authors from now on!
***Thanks to FFBC for providing me with an e-copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.***
About the Author
Rachel Lynn Solomon is a Pacific Northwest native who loves rainy days, tap danc-ing, 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 Brad-ford Literary Agency.
Prize: 1 signed hardcopy of You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone
by Rachel Lynn Solomon (U.S. only)
Starts: Jan. 2, 2018
Ends: Jan. 17, 2018
That’s all for my stop in this lovely blog tour! Don’t forget to check out the fellow bloggers’ posts HERE. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you next time! 🙂