How to Live on the Edge by Sarah Lynn Scheerger

Rating: 4 out of 5.

How to Live on the Edge by Sarah Lynn Scheerger is such an emotional rollercoaster so buckle in before you start this one! It was a beautifully written book with such an emotional draw! 

Cayenne and Saffron lost their mother to breast cancer when they were young, leaving them to live with Aunt Tee. They know that the women in their family don’t live past 40. The BRCA gene mutation that runs in their DNA won’t let them. Cayenne spends her time flirting, very dangerously, with death. She stands in front of oncoming trains, jumping out of the way at the last second, and so many other perilous activities. When she is given video messages her mother made for her before her death, she finds that she doesn’t want them, but continues to be drawn to them.

This story is a deep, insightful, and inspirational story. I liked that the main character was deeply flawed, and I enjoyed the serious subject matter. It was a bit slow in spots, but overall, flowed well, providing a story that I needed to see the ending of.

The characters are so different. Cayenne is hard to connect with. She doesn’t care about her own life because she’s sure she’ll lose it early, so I had a hard time caring. She has this amazing character arc though, and I found myself deeply invested in her story as the chapters progressed. I thought the author did a fabulous job of giving her growth and understanding throughout the story.

This book is marketed as a YA novel, which usually means that the book is marketed to 12-18 year olds, and that the main character is someone in that age range as well. This book fits both of those categories, but its topic is so serious, and so relatable to any reader that I wouldn’t shy away from this one if YA isn’t usually your thing.

Overall, I enjoyed this read, and found myself looking forward to picking it back up. I liked the character growth and the uplifting possibilities in the story.

Content Warnings:

This book depicts some extremely dangerous, life-threatening actions by the MC that could be upsetting to some readers.

To Read or Not To Read:

I would recommend How to Live on the Edge readers that like to get emotionally invested in characters!

Where to Find This Book:

How to Live on the Edge by Sarah Lynn Scheerger is available at these sites!



Eighteen-year-old Cayenne barely remembers her mother, who died of breast cancer when Cayenne was four. The women in her family have a history of dying young. Cayenne figures she’ll meet the same fate, so she might as well enjoy life now, engaging in death-defying risks like dodging trains and jumping off cliffs with her boyfriend.

When Cayenne receives a series of video messages her mother made for her before dying, she isn’t sure she wants them. Her aunt Tee has been her true mother figure. But then Aunt Tee tests positive for a BRCA gene mutation–the one that doomed Cayenne’s mom–and decides to get a mastectomy to reduce her chances of developing cancer. As Cayenne helps her aunt prepare for the surgery, she finds herself drawn to her mother’s messages, with their musings on life, love, and perseverance. For the first time, Cayenne starts to question what it truly means to live life to the fullest, even when death might be written into her DNA.

Just the Facts:

How to Live on the Edge by Sarah Lynn Scheerger
Genre: Young Adult
Page Count: 312 pages
Publisher: Lerner/Carolrhoda
Pub Date: August 4, 2020

Sarah Lynn (Scheerger) works as a clinical social worker with at-risk youth, helping them figure out who they are and who they want to be. She also provides counseling to adults and couples. She lives in southern California with her husband and children. Sarah started out writing under her first and middle name (Sarah Lynn) because she thought having a pen name seemed mysterious and cool. However, over time she’s transitioned to writing under her real name as well (both Sarah Scheerger and Sarah Lynn Scheerger). Sarah loves reading, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.

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I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.

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