Title: The Rules for Disappearing
Author: Ashley Elston
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
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.
This is another 2013 debut, but it’s about a much different topic than most (if any) debuts this year – the Witness Protection Program. Unfortunately for me, this wasn’t an amazing book for me – it was decent, but it didn’t blow me away.
The main reason this book didn’t blow me away was because I had trouble connecting with MC Meg. I’m sure I would be quite whiny if I was stuck in the Witness Protection Program and forced to move around all the time, but it still frustrated me when Meg spent so much time whining and pushing people away and judging her alcoholic mother. It was hard to care about what would happen to Meg when I was too busy rolling my eyes at her. She was in a very dramatic and stressful situation, but it wouldn’t have hurt for her to seem more sympathetic. I guess it makes her a more realistic character, but not one I necessarily want to read about.
I liked the love interest Ethan (although I objected to the few times that Meg suggested he was a “bad boy” – he really, really wasn’t, and it seemed like the author just threw in that characterization every once in a while to get the attention of readers who only like bad boys), but because Meg wasn’t my favorite person, I didn’t really care if they got together. There was relationship drama mixed in with the WPP drama, and it was often too much drama for my taste.
Then there was the mean girl character – sure, she wasn’t a very good person and had too many issues with Meg for basically no reason, but I got annoyed with how many times Meg complained about her and made the antagonism between them seem as dramatic as the WPP drama. It’s really, really not. And you find out something about the mean girl, Emma, that makes you wonder why so many people still make such a huge deal about her and judge her so much.
As I mentioned, Meg didn’t deal with her mother well. She was always complaining about her mother’s drinking, and it really annoyed me because it seemed like Meg didn’t understand at all that her mother had a problem that she couldn’t control. There were random times when she seemed to be fine and not drinking, and it just didn’t seem realistic based on how bad her drinking was previously. Now, I’ve never been in that situation with a parent, but it didn’t always seem realistic and Meg didn’t seem to understand that her mother needed help, not her judgment.
I know it seems like I really didn’t like this book, but that’s not true. The story itself was pretty interesting. I saw some twists coming, but not all of them, and the ending was pretty interesting. I think I’ll wait to read reviews before checking out the second book, but I’m slightly interested to see what will happen to Meg and her friends and family next.