Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review: THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING by Ashley Elston



Author: Ashley Elston

Publication date: May 14, 2013

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Source: an ARC provided by the publisher for an honest review

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.

Review:

Another less than stellar book for me, unfortunately. 

"Meg" has moved too many times to count in the last year with her parents and little sister. Why? Witness Protection Program. The fact that this book is about witness protection had me salivating whenever I saw that someone else received it. Different identities, different pasts, different places, and don't forget: a mystery of what happened that made them jump around so much that it rivaled gypsies. 

When I started this book, I made it only ten chapters before I put it down. Because I like Disney-Hyperion so much and I heard so many good things, I was willing to pick it back up and stick through it to the end. I'm proud of myself for sticking through it since I couldn't stop thinking about all the other books I could be reading. The point is, this book tested my patience. 

Problem #1: Admittedly, the smallest and silliest problem in the book is that I hated their nicknames. For their whole lives, Meg and her little sister Mary have been called "Sissy" and "Teeny" respectively. I hated those name. I had to really focus on reading more because those names were just silly to me. It's one thing for Mary to call her sister "Sissy" and the other way around. But the parents? It just sounded weird. 

Problem #2: I read that "Teeny" was a couple bloggers' favorite character in the book. They thought she was full of life and such a great addition. I personally could care less. I totally understand that she has gone through trauma and has had an unstable life for the past year, but she was meh to me. When Meg mentioned how at one point, Teeny seemed like her old self, she was just behaving like a spoiled brat. I know you want to see normal again, but having your little sister act like a spoiled brat is not an improvement. 


Problem #3: Her alcoholic mother. She's there to add more trouble in their situation and lives and all that jazz, I understand. However, I saw no reason for it. It just seemed like the author wanted to add as much "conflict" as possible to the story and I didn't care for it. 

Problem #4: Meg's new friends were so unrealistic, it was laughable. With this new move, Meg resolved to not get close to anyone and not become friends with anyone, no matter what. She pushed them away and refused any offers from these people. But what do they do? KEEP COMING BACK! I'm sorry, but I really don't see that actually happening. If a stranger keeps refusing you and you already have a bunch of friends, you will not be going back to that person. However, these people kept inviting and were always there for her even thought they barely didn't know her!

Problem #5: Meg was not a likable character for me. Her determination and toughness were admirable, I give her that. However, she could not stop complaining about "the suits" (the program) and her father and her situation. It sucks, I know, Meg. But they are PROTECTING you and you should be grateful. It's not like they wake up and go, "Hey, let's go move Meg and her family again because we just like to mix it up. It'll be fun!" She kept saying how she wants to just runaway and take Teeny with her. I wondered why she didn't. Meg runs away then she dies. Let's do it. 


Problem #6: I'm very critical of my main characters and probably as much with their love interests. Ethan landed himself in my Top Ten Tuesday and under the "trends I want to see less of" list. He wanted to be a "hero" and tried to act as a sensitive, loyal guy. He came off as unrealistic, pushy, and just whatever to me. He didn't even KNOW Meg and he was instantly trying to find out who she really was and what her deal is. He went on to trying to squeeze his way in and I really should've counted how many times he told her to trust him and to tell him her story. Obviously, she doesn't want to. SO LET IT GO. No guy would care that much unless he was genuinely annoying and nosey. Then when Meg is in even more danger, he risks his life for her. Everyone please do an eye roll with me. 


Those were my top six problems with the book, but I'm probably limiting myself. The good news is that it was interesting in parts. There were a few mysteries and "twists" although I pointed out two of them right from the beginning. I still didn't know exactly what happened though, so I was invested in that. 

I think people who can be more patient and overlook things would do much better with this book than I did. It was a great synopsis, but I didn't think it was executed well. It involved tropes, unrealistic behaviors, annoying people, and stupidity all around. 

Verdict: A promising contemporary novel that fell very flat for me. 

What do you think? Will you be reading it? 

19 comments:

  1. Yes, yes, yes, yes to #3-#6; and problem #2! I totally forgot about that, but you're right, it was definitely annoying. I love your gifs, they were spot on and made me laugh! I did really like the 2 twists in the story though. There's going to be a sequel to this, apparently. Great review! :)

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I did too, I just think others might be annoyed :)

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  2. I admire you for finishing this book, because I almost never complete books I cannot stand.

    All those things sound so, so annoying. I may be superficial for saying this, but when characters have weird or impossible to pronounce names, I tend to get frustrated. If you're writing about someone with a different ethnic background and want to give him or her a culturally-appropriate name, that's fine, but what is the purpose of "Teeny"?

    And the whole alcoholic mother dynamic must have been maddening. It is great when authors write about dysfunctional families, but not all families are like that and to inject one for plotting purposes is just gratuitous and irksome. There are so many good mother-daughter relationships in YA and real life and authors shouldn't be afraid to reflect that in their writing!

    I was pretty excited for this book, but after reading your review and writing this long blog post comment that includes multiple synonyms for "annoying," I am feeling very lukewarm about it. I'll probably still get to it eventually…but not with as much anticipation.

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    1. Well, thank you :)

      YES. I know, right? It was some kind of childhood nickname and they stuck with it through all their moves, but I cringed every time.

      Another reason why I enjoy talking to you. You not only so get it, but you also write it, yes, eloquently.

      Haha!

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  3. Totally agree with problem #4. I haven't read this book (and I don't think I will) but I see it all the time (Twilight, anyone?). Spot on review:)
    Esty @ Boarding with Books

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  4. Okay, now I'm nervous. This is coming up soon on my list so I guess we'll see but omg those nicknames are awful.

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    1. They really, really are. And I can't wait to see YOUR review on it!

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  5. I'm sorry this didn't work out for you, Sunny. I ended up enjoying this but not all books are for everyone. Here's hoping you like your next read more! Great honest review.:)

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  6. Ooooh boy... lol. I wasn't planning on reading this anyway, so no loss on me. *high five* for sticking with it though. I've had 2 DNF's in the past couple days, so I give you props.

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    1. *high fives back* Ugh, DNFs...hate them.

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  7. Love that you did this review listing your 6 problems! If I'm honestly tho, I really want to like this one and have seen some good reviews, so I skimmed this so as not to totally turn myself off from it. HOWEVER, I definitely can relate to the fact that sometimes small details in a book can become annoying and completely throw of your reading experience. I'm really love the idea of a witness protection program and am going to give this a shot anyway. But if I hate it, I may be back to vent with you!

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    1. Thank you! No, that's fine, I completely understand :) Hey, I would love that! Vent away!

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  8. Huh. I have to agree with you about the nicknames-- they sound atrocious. But I might give this a shot all the same-- it just sounds so good, and I really like Disney books generally! LOL. No, if a random stranger pushes you away, you won't invite them anywhere, seriously. Awesome review, Sunny. I'm sorry that this fell flat for you. :(

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    1. Haha, do it and tell me what you think! Thanks, Megan :)

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  9. Ahem, well, I'm glad this wasn't a priority for me now. :) And I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets annoyed by stupid character names. Also, I love the format of this review. And the fact that this was LIMITING yourself. I'll probably give this a try some day, but I trust your judgment, so it's getting moved to the bottom of the pile for now. Thanks for the honest review.

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    1. Can I please paste your comment on a sign and let me carry it everywhere or something? "I trust your judgement." Um, that made my day. Thanks, Jen :)

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