Sarah Wylie All These Lives

ISBN 13: 9780374302085

All These Lives

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9780374302085: All These Lives

Sixteen-year-old Dani is convinced she has nine lives. As a child she twice walked away from situations where she should have died. But Dani’s twin, Jena, isn’t so lucky.  She has cancer and might not even be able to keep her one life. Dani’s father is in denial. Her mother is trying to hold it together and prove everything’s normal.  And Jena is wasting away.  To cope, Dani sets out to rid herself of all her extra lives.  Maybe they’ll be released into the universe and someone who wants to live more than she does will get one.  Someone like Jena.  But just when Dani finds herself at the breaking point, she’s faced with a startling realization.  Maybe she doesn’t have nine lives after all.  Maybe she really only ever had one.

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About the Author:

Sarah Wylie has been writing for as long as she can remember. In May 2011, she graduated college with a degree in Neuroscience. She lives in Canada. This is her first novel.

www.sarahwithachance.blogspot.com

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1
 
 
Once upon a time, my mother used to sleep through the night. So did I. Like so much else, our sleeping patterns were almost identical. We flung ourselves across our beds, sleeping through storms and hurricanes and car alarms and darkness, and waking up to a trail of sunlight filtering in, with the world still on its axis, still turning, the way we’d left it. She hasn’t slept like that in seven months.
Now, she wakes up around two in the morning, as if to get a head start on all those elements. Or maybe she’s figured out that the world tilts slightly when we sleep, and she gets up to watch it and try to pull it back in place.
I just lie there when I’m awake, trying to stay silent and hidden.
I’m sure my dad is aware that she barely sleeps, but it’s not like he can get up and keep watch with her since he has to go to work in the morning.
None of us knows exactly what she does when she wakes up.
Maybe she gets on her knees and holds vigil since she realized she believed in God the day my twin sister was diagnosed with leukemia. Or maybe she goes on the computer to look up cures. I personally think she’s practicing some weird voodoo technique where she transfers all the cancer from Jena into her own body, so it can eat away at her cells and make her shriveled and ugly, and we can watch her die instead.
Once upon a time—back when she still slept—I didn’t take my mother seriously. She would tell the same story over and over again. Tires squealing, flying through air, shattered glass, crushed metal. We were under crushed metal. Her and me.
She and I.
I was three months old when the accident happened. We were out of milk or something, and my mother asked Dad to watch Jena, while she took me out with her. Mom and I were just leaving the grocery store when a pickup truck ran into our car, destroying it.
We should have died.
I’ve never known what was more significant: the fact that we both survived, or the fact that she picked me.
I’ve heard the story so many times it feels like my memory instead of hers, even though I was too young to have a memory. When she told it to other people, she never ended at the part I would have, the part where we survived the car accident. Where we walked away without a scratch. She always went on to talk about the time her foot got caught in train tracks, how she struggled to get free, and how if it had happened five seconds later, she would have died. And the fire in her apartment building two years before she met my dad— oh, did you hear about it? Everyone had heard about it. Six people dead, including her neighbors on both sides, and it happened ten minutes after she left for work one morning.
She talked about the chest infection I got when I was two. I was in the hospital for days, and I should have died.
When I was little and fell and scraped my knee, my mother would always whisper the same thing in my ear. Other mothers said, “Shh, it’s okay,” and coaxed the tears away with a soft-serve cone. Mine said, “Come on, Danielle. You’re the girl with nine lives. You take after me.”
I don’t think she ever whispered that in Jena’s ear. That’s the difference.
I always pretended to believe her just so she would leave me alone, but I knew my mother was full of crap. I knew not to take her seriously. Her words floated above my ears, leaped out of windows and into trees, were carried away by birds and dusty-winged moths and other things I knew to be true.
Then Jena happened.
Nothing and everything is true. We are papier-mâché in a world with a cardboard sun. There is no such thing as cold or heat or time. We are all the same people, constantly being reborn and redying, and every time we think it’s the first.
A month ago, we found out Jena’s treatment isn’t working like they’d hoped and that she needs bone marrow. We thought I’d be the one to help her. I have marrow and plenty of bone and I am her twin.
But we are too different and the doctors can’t break me into splintered little fragments to save Jena. Mom and Dad aren’t a match either, but I am her twin.
Everything Mom had ever said crept back in under the door of my room, tucked itself in my ears when I was sleeping. I hid it under the pillows and breathed it in at night. I couldn’t fall asleep either. And I can’t forget.
Am I the girl with nine lives?
I wish I could forget.
One of the times Mom told her story—about when we’d survived, our nine lives—my Uncle Stephan was visiting. He was some college professor that was a friend of my dad’s, one of those people you call “uncle” without ever knowing why, without them earning the title. Abandoning his standard topic of conspiracy theories for a while, he started talking about all the explanations for the nine lives myth. He said that every time a cat loses one of its lives, that life is released into the universe, to be caught by another cat. Not all cats are born with nine lives, but those that aren’t can keep as many as they can catch. One extra life, or two, or three.
As one life shortens, the other expands.
Now my mother tries to stay awake, while I try to fall asleep.
My eyelids finally collapse on themselves just as the sun feels it’s safe to come out of hiding. It’s less than two hours before school starts, but that’s the way it always goes.
The next thing I know, Mom is shaking me awake and joking about how much I like my beauty sleep. I play along, turning over and waiting until the last possible minute to get up and go.
By the time I shower and get downstairs, the only other person I’ve seen today is Mom. Dad’s already at work.
“Morning, Danielle.” I jump when I hear Jena’s voice from the top of the stairs. I always aim to be out of the house before she’s awake.
“Hey,” I say. She’s leaning against the railing, looking down at me.
I’ve never understood why anyone would mix Jena and me up. We are fraternal twins, and since elementary school, I’ve been about an inch taller. My hair is long, brunette, and straight, while hers was wavy, sort of a mousy brown.
“I’m late for the bus.”
She frowns, because she knows I’m not, but I’ve already grabbed my backpack, deciding against breakfast, and am heading toward the front door.
It is bright out, but cold. Dirty, weeks-old snow is slathered unevenly over the ground like a moldy spread on an open-face sandwich.
When the bus finally pulls up at the stop down the street from my house, I drag my way to the back, placing my backpack in the seat beside me, and pressing my face against the window, eyes shut, until we get to school.


 
Text copyright © 2012 by Sarah Wylie

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Descripción St. Martin s Press, United States, 2012. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Sixteen-year-old Dani is convinced she has nine lives. As a child she twice walked away from situations where she should have died. But Dani s twin, Jena, isn t so lucky. She has cancer and might not even be able to keep her one life. Dani s father is in denial. Her mother is trying to hold it together and prove everything s normal. And Jena is wasting away. To cope, Dani sets out to rid herself of all her extra lives. Maybe they ll be released into the universe and someone who wants to live more than she does will get one. Someone like Jena. But just when Dani finds herself at the breaking point, she s faced with a startling realization. Maybe she doesn t have nine lives after all. Maybe she really only ever had one. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780374302085

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Descripción St. Martin s Press, United States, 2012. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Sixteen-year-old Dani is convinced she has nine lives. As a child she twice walked away from situations where she should have died. But Dani s twin, Jena, isn t so lucky. She has cancer and might not even be able to keep her one life. Dani s father is in denial. Her mother is trying to hold it together and prove everything s normal. And Jena is wasting away. To cope, Dani sets out to rid herself of all her extra lives. Maybe they ll be released into the universe and someone who wants to live more than she does will get one. Someone like Jena. But just when Dani finds herself at the breaking point, she s faced with a startling realization. Maybe she doesn t have nine lives after all. Maybe she really only ever had one. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780374302085

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Descripción St. Martin s Press, United States, 2012. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Sixteen-year-old Dani is convinced she has nine lives. As a child she twice walked away from situations where she should have died. But Dani s twin, Jena, isn t so lucky. She has cancer and might not even be able to keep her one life. Dani s father is in denial. Her mother is trying to hold it together and prove everything s normal. And Jena is wasting away. To cope, Dani sets out to rid herself of all her extra lives. Maybe they ll be released into the universe and someone who wants to live more than she does will get one. Someone like Jena. But just when Dani finds herself at the breaking point, she s faced with a startling realization. Maybe she doesn t have nine lives after all. Maybe she really only ever had one. Nº de ref. de la librería BZE9780374302085

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