Rachel Lynn Solomon’s debut, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, is a story that dives deep into the relationships within a Jewish family, who’s results of a genetic test try to rip them apart. Especially the relationship between two twin sisters. Tovah and Adina watch their once strong Israeli mother slowly succumb to the rare degenerative disease Huntington’s. They decide to get the genetic test to reveal if either of the girls have the same gene that is gradually killing their mother. One tests negative, while the other positive. The results push these sisters further away from each other than ever before.
I grew up in a wealthy suburb of Los Angeles called Calabasas. Yes, the same Calabasas where the Kardashians live with their salads and the inspiration for Kanye West’s new clothing. My dad liked to call our neighborhood the “slums of Calabasas” because we were one of the only places that wasn’t a gated community.
Calabasas is a prominently Jewish town. I would guess that my high school is around 75% Jewish and I was in the minority. All my friends were Jewish and I attended my fair shore of bar and bat mitzvahs—seventh grade was the best year of my life. My friends still like to call me their honorary Jew. Because of my upbringing, I’ve always been really interested in Judaism. I find the ceremonies and the rules fascinating. Once I read the synopsis for this book, I was immediately hooked. I never felt like religion was ever pushed on me as the reader. It was used in a really compelling way; showing how one sister embraced her Judaism, while the other struggled.
The relationship between these two sisters was incredible. You rarely read a story where twins are so at odds with one another. I ached for these girls—each going through such meaningful and terrifying incidents that they refuse to share with each other. The times where they do act civil and even friendly to each other, you can tell how much they wish they were closer. That is where the dual perspective was extremely useful in the book I don’t think it would have worked any other way.
If you want an intense contemporary about family, religion, and a little bit of love, I highly recommend You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone. It doesn’t hurt that is takes place in Seattle. Anything from the Pacific Northwest, I’m sold.
Author’s Note: I actually wrote this back in January and for some reason it never published.