Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: The Rules For Disappearing

THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING
Ashley Elston
Contemporary Young Adult
320 pages
Disney-Hyperion
Available Now
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.


MY THOUGHTS
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.

Rating: 4/5
 

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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.

47 comments:

  1. Witness Protection is something that really intrigues me in fiction, and this one sounds like it's a fantastic read!!

    Meg sounds like a well written character too! I can't imagine being a teen and going through the Witness Protection Program!!

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

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    1. Same here! And I loved that we had no idea why she and her family were in the program, it added to the mystery of it all:)

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  2. oh man i hate when teenagers do that! keep things from their parents that will in turn screw them over! but the whole witness protection idea is very intriguing and my sister really enjoyed the rules for disappearing so I'm kinda excited to pick it up!

    great review,
    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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    1. Yes, the events of the second half are a bit far-fetched, but ultimately I just reminded myself that this was a work of YA fiction, and wasn't meant to be a realistic how-to manual on dealing with Witsec:)

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  3. I do not know, it's like do not go looking for trouble

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    1. True. But then again she's already neck-deep in trouble, so what's a little more, right? ;-)

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  4. You know I found this one a bit farfetched in terms of the plot, but it kept me turning the pages. Normally a push and pull romance like this one would annoy me but Elston made it easy to understand why Meg treated Ethan that way.

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    1. Agreed, but I had so much fun reading it, and that was enough for me:)

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  5. I don't know what, just something bothers me about this book. All the reviews I've seen have been more than 3 stars though. I do like the sound of this and I'm glad you found the main character easy to relate to. I like my stories with a touch of romance so it's good that this one has it a little. I also adore stories about families and these kind of relationships and it'd be perfect for me in that area. Seems like a character-driven story and I may even give it a try :-)

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    1. I hope you do Siiri! It's just a fun book, and it was a really quick read:) The romance was present but not overwhelming, and I really liked that we got to see the toll the program was taking on the family.

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  6. I had a few gripes with this book, so wasn't full able to enjoy it as much as you were Jenny. But I adore your passion and enthusiasm for this. The plot twists in the end did make this a fun read in the end, but I think with Meg going off on her own all the time, it just made me mad, Ethan was as sweet as ever, I just wish that she felt she could confide in him more instead of running off. :( Wonderful review Jenny!

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    1. Same. I had trouble with Meg's handling everything on her own as well, but that was a fairly minor drawback for me. I was able to overlook it for the most part:)

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  7. I haven't heard much about this one, but witness protection is definitely an interesting subject matter, so might just check it out. Thanks for the great review, Jenny!

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    1. You're welcome Leanna! I just really had fun with this book:)

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  8. I wasn't sure this book was for me when I read the premise, simply because of the secrecy I was sure the characters would utilize throughout the novel. Often times, that pulls me out of the story, and I can't relate to the characters. However, Meg sounds like she's relatable enough, and I might just need to read this one after all...eventually ;) Great review, Jenny!

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    1. Meg is a little frustrating in the second half of the book with what she keeps from those who are in charge of her safety, but I understood it a little since their identities had been repeatedly compromised, so there was obviously a leak of some kind. She didn't really know who to trust.

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  9. I've been reading this book for a month and a half now. I keep setting it aside and then something will grab my attention ... Then I'll pick it back up and get distracted again. I can't put my finger on why I can't seem to commit to this one, Jenny. :(

    But if you liked it then I will make a valiant effort to read it. I can do this.

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    1. Awwww I'm sorry to hear that Hannah! That happens to me sometimes. I just get in a funk and don't really want to read anything. This could just not be the book for you though:)

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  10. I was wondering if this one would be good. The cover makes it seem like it might be dark, but good to know its not...:)

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    1. No, I wouldn't say it's dark. I mean it's serious in subject matter, but it's not dark and gritty and violent. I had fun reading it:)

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  11. Oh I'm so happy to hear you liked this one so much!!! I'm all a little mystery these days and this one sounds cute, light and up my alley! But, I must say that I am a teny tiny bit sad that the romance plays not a bigger part...

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    1. Hahaha I know, we're romance girls you and I. I think you'll be satisfied with the romance though, it's just not the main focus:)

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  12. I think we had very similar thoughts on this one, it was a fun read and I couldn't help but fall in love with Ethan most, he was a great character!

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  13. Wonderful review Jenny! I was also aggravated at times about "Meg" wanting to figure out the truth on her own, but I completely understood why. I'm so happy you enjoyed read TRFD too! Meg and Teeny had an amazing and deep relationship!

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    1. Same here Rachel. I just wish she had told her dad more, but again, she had reasons to be suspicious of everyone in her life.

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  14. Usually a plot like this would not interest me, but the synopsis and the way you described this one sounds interesting. I'm glad you pointed out that it's an easy read and not one for deep, dark emotions.

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  15. Witness Protection is such an intriguing thing. (I used to watch In Plain Sight for similar reasons. But also because Mary was awesome.) This definitely sounds like it's worth checking out.

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  16. Oh God, you made it so hard for me to disagree with you. Those convincing words! I didn't like Meg that much, she made really stupid mistakes, but Ethan was a charm. I loved that he kept pushing Meg into revealing her identity and the end stunt he pulled off was amazing. I loved him! Great review, Jenny!

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  17. So what are the rules for disappearing? I'm interested in finding out. THis may be the book I need in my summer reading pile.

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  18. I can see parts of this frustrating me. I get that sometimes kids think that they can take on the world even when it is evident that they can't... but a lot of them do share that information so that they aren't alone. I think that would be the most frustrating part of this story for me. Still, it sounds entertaining enough for me to enjoy.

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  19. What a mаteгiаl of un-аmbiguity аnd presеrveness of prеcіous
    knoωledgе conceгning unexρected emotions.


    Feel free to visit my ωеblοg :: hcg

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  20. I completely agree with you that Meg is a very likeable character, but her tendency to keep things for herself and go off on her own bothered me, especially in the second half when it all went just a bit too far, in my opinion. It read more like an action movie than a contemporary YA. For me, the beginning was really great, but later it just didn't work.
    Fabulous review, Jenny!

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  21. Great review Jenny! I know kids think they are invincible, that their plans can't possibly go wrong, they know better than adults. I live with two so I know and yep, that's exactly how Meg acted when she took things into her own hands, but I also think she felt she had something to prove. I'm not saying she was right, just that I think that also was part of her motivation. I think she was afraid she would have been stopped and she would have.

    I really enjoyed this story, especially trying to figure out why they were in witness protection. It drove me crazy!! And I was so mad at the dad and mom!

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  22. Sounds interesting although I do hate it when characters keep vital bits of info to themselves.

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  23. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Jenny! I'm not a huge fan of the plot thread where the protagonist keeps so much to herself and simply prolongs the drama, but everything else seems really well done, so I might give this a shot. Great review, dear! :)

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  24. "...thinking she can handle dangerous problems on her own" - this drives me crazy! So frustrating to read. But, this story does sound pretty good.

    Nice review, Jenny! :)

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  25. I have actually never read a book about the witness protection program, so I am definitely intrigued. Meg sounds like a pretty good main character and very typical in that she thinks she can handle everything on her own. I feel like that occurs frequently with main characters in young adult literature, but I am sure I acted the same way as a teenager. ha. Thanks for the great review. I will definitely be checking this one out!

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  26. Yay, glad to see you enjoyed this too, Jenny. I wanted Meg to give into Ethan and stop fighting it as well, but like you said you could see why she pushed. This was a fun and exciting read, but not earth shattering. Lovely review. :)

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  27. Well, there's absolutely nothing wrong with a contemporary that is just quick and entertaining. They don't all need to be emotionally intense (though I admit I was expecting this one to be more so given the premise). But I know that I would love that emphasis on familial relationships. So glad you liked this one, Jenny! Nicely reviewed.

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  28. My review for this goes up tomorrow (or tonight, I guess). I really liked it too and I think your review sums up my thoughts pretty well. It wasn't a mind blowing story but it was one I thoroughly enjoyed.

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  29. Looks like an interesting read, Jenny! Are you reading more contemporaries lately?

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  30. P.S. It is disappointing when the parents are nowhere in sight and the teen characters take on dangerous acts themselves.

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  31. Great description of Meg and that describes a female teenager perfectly. This sounds like a good read, and I am thinking this needs to go on my list. Wonderful review Jenny!

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  32. Definitely agree about the reckless teen trying to make it on her own-at least she had Ethan with his sensible suggestions but that wasn't really enough support for such big problems.

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  33. The more reviews I read for this book, the more I'm convinced I need to give it a try! I love a quick suspenseful read, and I'm really glad to hear this is family centric. I especially love strong sisterly relationships. I'm willing to forgive the heroine for taking on dangers she most likely shouldn't, as long as it adds to the suspense. (Of course, if she were my friend or sister I wouldn't feel that way at all! :D) Lovely review Jenny!

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  34. I have heard mixed things about this novel. But I have to say that I am curious about it. I want to know how te family is where they are. My curiosity is peaked. I am glad you enjoyed this one so much. It sounds promising!

    Sara @ Just Another Story

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