You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone

  • Review
By – February 22, 2018

Twin sis­ters Adi­na and Tovah Siegel are very dif­fer­ent. Despite hav­ing been close as chil­dren, their rela­tion­ship as teenagers is icy. They’re on diver­gent paths: Adi­na plays the vio­la and has aspi­ra­tions to study music, while Tovah has her sights set on Johns Hop­kins School of Med­i­cine. Their home life is often dif­fi­cult, as their Ima (Hebrew for mom”), suf­fers from Huntington’s dis­ease, caus­ing her to expe­ri­ence intense mood swings, hal­lu­ci­na­tions, and mem­o­ry loss.

On their eigh­teenth birth­day, Adi­na and Tovah each take the test to deter­mine whether they’ve inher­it­ed the Huntington’s dis­ease gene. Only Adi­na has. This sets Adi­na off on a path of reck­less self-destruc­tion. She ques­tions her faith as well as her future, and pur­sues a rela­tion­ship with her twen­ty-five-year-old music teacher. The news also caus­es Tovah to reeval­u­ate her future. As Ima’s dis­ease pro­gress­es and secrets come to light, the sis­ters’ strained rela­tion­ship comes to a head.

The author’s use of dual first-per­son nar­ra­tives allows her to add lay­ers of com­plex­i­ty to the char­ac­ter and events. Both Adi­na and Tovah’s indi­vid­ual sto­ries and strug­gles unfold in depth, mak­ing their inter­sect­ing nar­ra­tives even more pow­er­ful. The Siegels are Con­ser­v­a­tive Jews and their moth­er is Israeli, so their Jew­ish life is an impor­tant fea­ture of the sto­ry. Hebrew words as well as Jew­ish hol­i­days and con­cepts are woven into the nar­ra­tive. The book deals with seri­ous issues includ­ing ill­ness, self-harm, sui­ci­dal ideation, and mortality.

This is an emo­tion­al read and is rec­om­mend­ed for ages 14 and up.


Read our inter­view with Rachel here.
Jil­lian Bietz stud­ied library tech­nol­o­gy and research skills and cur­rent­ly works in the library sys­tem. She is a book review­er for the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and Kirkus Review Indie. Jil­lian lives in South­ern California.

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