Contemporary Young Adult
Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.
Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.
But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.
The Rules For Disappearing is a quick and suspenseful read, giving us a brief look at how quickly life in the Witness Protection Program can eat away at the bonds holding a family together. While not a story that crushes souls and scars hearts with its emotional intensity, it is one that guarantees the pages are turned rapidly so we can figure out just how Meg and her family came to be in their current predicament. There's a light romance mixed in, but this tale is beautifully family-centric, and we read on with smiles on our faces at the connection between Meg and little sister Teeny even as our stomachs tie themselves in knots over her relationship with her mother.
Meg is a likable, easy-to-relate-to heroine, someone we genuinely feel for as we join her just before she and her family are shipped off to their newest placement. Her loneliness despite the presence of her sister, father, and mother is palpable, and her fear that this latest identity will be as brief but devastating to leave as the ones that came before it is something we feel keenly. She tries to keep her distance from Ethan–something we wish she wouldn't do but completely understand given her past–increasing her isolation tenfold to leave us feeling as hollow as she does. She handles the stress of not only being ignorant of what landed her Witsec to start with, but also the complications of her mother's rapid descent into alcoholism, with a calm strength we can't help but admire, maintaining a strong front for Teeny to spare her any additional upset.
Though Meg has many admirable traits and a situational vulnerability that has us rooting for her from the beginning, she does possess the same frustrating tendency so many teenagers do: thinking she can handle dangerous problems on her own. She luckily does share some things with her father when she realizes she's in a bit over her head, but she keeps the most vital pieces of information to herself, concocting a plan to save her family rather than sharing her revelations with those in charge of her safety. That being said, her secrecy in some areas makes sense as it's made clear to us their Witsec identities are far from impenetrable, but we still wish given the enormity of her problems that she would share the burden with those far more equipped to handle them.
Overall, The Rules For Disappearing is a highly entertaining read, not one to be picked up when looking for a dark or gut-wrenching contemporary but rather one to be read simply for the joy of reading.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.