Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Rules For Disappearing by Ashley Elston (Review)

Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Thriller, Drama
Publication.Date  May 14th 2013
Published By:  Disney-Hyperion
WebsiteAshley Elston 

Rules For Disappearing on Goodreads
My review copy:Review copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

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.

“ He hugs me tight while I look behind him, scanning faces like I did a few seconds ago. And like I will do for the rest of my life.” 
“ Rules for Disappearing by Witness Protection Prisoner #18A7R04M: Don’t fall into a routine. Shake things up. Doing the same thing over and over makes you feel comfortable. And feeling comfortable is bad."
“ But there is one part of this that hurts. The carefree, normal part. The part of me that was lost when we first moved and that I'll never get back.”

       Set in Natchitoches, LA, The Rules For Disappearing follows Meg Rose Jones (not her real name), a girl whose family is in the Witness Protection Program, as she vows to make sure this placement (7th placement in a row!) will be their last. Meg's fed up with having to start over, memorize all the details of the fake identities assigned to them by the Suits, and make sure no one ever gets close enough to discover their secret. She's tired of running, hiding, and never being allowed to make friends. Most of all, she's determined to find out what exactly did her father do - or witness - that her entire family had to run for their lives.

     I love solid mysteries - and the more there is to uncover, the better! A family in hiding, danger lurking around every corner, not knowing who to trust and who will turn out to be an enemy - it's all super intriguing and exciting! I loved the premise of The Rules For Disappearing and the slowly unravelling mystery. This was a fast-paced, highly addictive read that kept me glued to the pages all throughout. I wanted to learn what started it all and who exactly where they running from? Did Meg's dad do something that landed them in the Witness Protection Program? Or was there something more to the story?

     I thought the lead characters were really awesome. They were all well developed, with distinct and interesting personalities. I especially liked Ethan. He is a country boy, with a good heart, sharp brain and sunny personality. Handsome, chivalrous, reliable and bright, he made for an awesome love interest - though I wouldn't mind having him as a good friend, either! Meg herself was a fantastic MC, too, though I must admit it took me a while to warm up to her. She came off as a little bit self-centred and bitchy at the beginning (especially her attitude towards her dad bothered me a lot), but as the story progressed and I learned more about her and how hard it was for her and her sister to switch between the many fake identities, I began to feel sorry for her.

     I can't imagine having to drop everything and leave home - no time to pack or say goodbye to anyone - and move to a new place. Especially when your father is clearly hiding something, and your mom is depressed and drowning her sorrows in alcohol. I think having to witness this close-knit family slowly fall apart because of the difficult situation they found themselves in was the most heartbreaking part of this story. Both Meg and her little sister, Mary, have been through so much already. Being woken up in the middle of the night and dragged around by the Suits - I can only imagine how much stress and anxiety a lifestyle like that would cause! On top of all the switching and lying and adjusting, they practically lost both their parents. Their dad is withdrawn, cold and protecting god knows what kind of secrets. Their mother is a drunk mess. The girls only have each other, but it's often not enough. No wonder Meg is slowly losing it, snapping and demanding answers - I would too!

     The Rules For Disappearing kept me captivated and emotionally engaged. More over, this book kept me guessing all the way till the end and left me very satisfied with how things played out! It's one of the better mysteries/thrillers I've read recently, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys danger, secrets and intellectually stimulating stories! I'm looking forward to the next instalment!

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