The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
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.
The Rules for Disappearing starts out with a 17 year old girl and her family, who are in witness protection being moved from one location to another. We soon learn that this isn't the first move, but that there have been 6 moves so far. The main character, who is now going by the name Meg knows her own mess up caused them to be moved from one location, but she doesn't know why they have been moved every other time or why they are in witness protection in the first place. Tired of making new friends only to leave them yet again, she's getting increasingly desperate to know the truth. No one will tell her anything though, not even her own parents, so Meg decides it's time for her to uncover the truth on her own.
This was an ok read. I expected it to be filled with a lot more danger, a lot more suspense, and well--be a lot more thrilling. The author instead, chose to focus too much (for me anyway) on the teen romance and the high school drama, which included the standard mean girl and her posse of cheerleaders, and a couple of parties with underage drinking and other shenanigans. Honestly I could have done without most of that. What I really wanted was to feel danger creeping around every corner. I wanted to wonder who Meg could trust and who she couldn't. There was very little of that feeling of danger and I knew right away who she couldn't trust. It was staring me in the face like a flashing neon sign.
Meg really wants to have her old life back through most of the book. In the beginning she doesn't like who witness protection has caused her to become, but from the bits that are revealed about her in her past life, I think I like the new Meg a lot better than the old one. There is no way she can ever go back to being the same person she was before, at least not completely, and in some ways that's a good thing. In the end she realizes that too.
While I liked the “witness protection” Meg and I thought her sister was ok too when she wasn’t acting like a brat, Meg’s parents were a different story. They annoyed me with the way they wouldn't talk to her, and her mother completely failed them by becoming a drunk. I just wanted to slap her. And back to the sister acting bratty, she was an 11 year old who was traumatized by all the moves so I was mostly able to cut her some slack. Ethan, the love interest was ok, but didn't make my heart flutter or anything. I'm not really into farm boys that go to restaurants with mud all over them. Couldn't he have cleaned up first? I did find it hard to believe that he was the only person Meg befriended out of the whole 6 moves that knew something wasn't right about her.
I liked that this book was set in the town of Natchitoches, Louisiana. When Meg first finds out she is in Louisiana all she can think of are hurricanes and oil spills. I'm surprised she didn't add swamps to that list as well. But for a nice change there was no mention of a swamp in a book set in Louisiana. I liked that this book was set in the cute, little, historical town of Natchitoches but I do wish that we had gotten more description of the town. It's the town where Steel Magnolias and several other movies were filmed, and it would have added a nice atmospheric touch to the novel if there had been more description of it.
This looks to be book one of a duology. It could easily have been a stand-alone. It ends nicely and leaves the reader wondering about who one person really is and what their motivation was. This is not enough to make me want to read the next book though. I'm fine being left with that slight little mystery.
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