None of the Regular Rules
by Erin Downing
Summary: Sometimes, a few dares can change lives…
The weekend before the start of senior year, Sophie Erickson and her best friends, Ella and Grace, discover a handwritten list of dares tucked away in the glove compartment of Sophie’s beat-up old Toyota. But this isn’t just any list; it’s a dead girl's bucket list.
Sophie's beloved aunt Suzy died as a teenager in a fatal fall, leaving Sophie with an overly cautious family, a few fading photographs, and a bucket of bolts that barely passes for a car. But now, Sophie has Suzy’s list of the things she wanted to do in her last year of high school. Sophie can't help but wonder: What would happen if she tried to fulfill Suzy’s last wishes, to live out the longed-for life of her aunt, her hero?
As Sophie and her friends attempt to knock off the things on Suzy's list of dares, love blossoms in unexpected places and Sophie begins to feel that her life is finally coming together...when in fact, everything is slowly unraveling around her. When the truth about a long-held family secret threatens to shatter everything she believed to be true, Sophie is forced to question everything she knew about the life and people she believed in, and ultimately herself.
None of the Regular Rules was a well written contemporary YA novel with wonderful characters that I felt like I knew and could relate to. This book was realistic in many ways without being extreme or gritty or dark. It dealt with many issues like coming of age, family, friends, romance, abuse, death, etc without being overly inspirational or overly dark, which I liked. While I do love gritty novels, this was not one of them and I thought that it still captured being a teenager extremely well.
When Sophie finds her dead aunt’s high school bucket list, she’s immediately inspired to start doing some of the things and crossing them off, especially because her aunt died young and didn’t have the chance to complete the list. By pushing herself and her friends to the limit, Sophie discovers a lot about herself and the people she cares about. Not only was she able to do things she never had the guts to do, she was forced to look at what kind of person she was and her own future. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to feeling like you are going to leave high school without ever doing some of the things you’ve always wanted to do or finally doing some of the things you’ve always wanted to and finding out it’s disappointing.
Parents are definitely present in this YA novel, which was refreshing. Parental involvement is frequently missing in YA novels and I think this one is more relatable because they are present in their children’s lives. Sophie and her friends have a variety of issues with their own families that they deal with in the book, which makes it realistic. It also adds intrigue to some of the tasks on the list because there is a chance of the girls getting caught by their parents. Overall, I enjoyed this aspect of the book.
There’s a touch of romance in the book, which I also liked. It wasn’t the main point, but I think it was enough that lovers of YA romance will be satisfied. There is absolutely no love triangle at all (!!! I know!!), which was nice and I think YA lovers that are a bit tired of love triangles will appreciate this book. It’s also not a part of a series, so YA lovers that are also tired of waiting for series or miss a good stand alone book will also appreciate it.
I thought None of the Regular Rules was a refreshing contemporary YA that makes for a great light read with a lot of realness to it. I would definitely recommend this book to others.