The Rules (Project Paper Doll #1)
by Stacey Kade
Summary: 1. Never trust anyone.
2. Remember they are always searching.
3. Don’t get involved.
4. Keep your head down.
5. Don’t fall in love.
Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival –and that of her adoptive father –depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”
But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening –and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…
Source: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I loved The Rules. As a matter of fact, since I’ve been trying to balance out all my NetGalley books and schedule reviews while I’m on vacation and moving, I’ve been back and forth about what to read. I’m trying to read in order of release date or what reviews need to be out first, but then I’ll get new books and have to sort of rearrange my plans. Anyway, I opened the first page of The Rules, not fully intending to read it yet, but just sort of giving myself an idea of how long it would take me (since my Kindle takes my reading speed and calculates how long a book should take me to finish). But the very first sentence hooked me and next thing I knew, I finished the book.
The premise was definitely intriguing: an alien/human hybrid who is trying to live a normal life while also trying to avoid recapture by the organization who created her. In some ways, it reminded me of I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, since Four/John Smith, an alien from a distant planet, tried to blend in with normal humans while also hiding from the other alien race who killed his race and destroyed his home planet. Both characters had a father figure who wasn’t really their father, both have a hard time fitting in, both made some of the same mistakes for some of the same reasons, and both were teenagers with the same sort of irrational and emotional urges as regular human teenagers. The backstory and overall plot was different, but I noticed these similarities and I enjoyed reading a similar premise with different outcomes, conflicts, and styles of writing.
Ariane, while attempting to defend the only friend she had, got in the face of the most popular girl in school. Who happened to be related to the very people Ariane was hiding from. Which was a very bad move on her part. To get revenge, Rachel, the popular girl, created a scheme involving embarrassing Ariane by setting her up in a false relationship with her friend, Zane. It’s all very high school, but Rachel was the quintessential mean girl of high school and the conflict is heightened due to Ariane’s perfectly legitimate reasons for wanting to avoid attention to herself. And if you are like me and dislike plot holes, you might be wondering why Ariane is living anywhere near the very people she’s hiding from, but that is well explained and makes a lot of sense.
I really liked Ariane. She was a mixture of so many different personality traits; she was both fierce and weak, brave and shy, plain and striking. Certain issues were triggers for her and she became a pretty fierce version of herself when the situation called for it. I loved how she observed and understood the people she went to school with. Watching her sort of define, judge, and determine people’s motives was really interesting.
Zane was a surprising character. I liked him right away and I enjoyed getting his perspective throughout the book along with Ariane’s. I thought the relationship between him and Ariane was predictable to some degree, given the way it developed, but it was sweet and I enjoyed watching it develop nonetheless. Ariane’s personal dilemma made the moments between them quite interesting. It was nice to see two people continuously surprise each other and themselves at the same time and it was adorable.
The overall conflict, though predictable at first (especially given the parallels with I Am Number Four), ended up taking some surprising twists and turns that made for a unpredictable story overall. All of the characters were well developed because of Ariane’s uncanny ability to read them. The mean girl is more than a cookie cutter mean girl because Ariane is able to understand what makes her tick. And the fact that the book is narrated by both Ariane and Zane, who have opposing points of view and different backgrounds, made the views of the characters more developed, too. I thought The Rules was adventurous, creative, and thoroughly captivating.
I definitely recommend this book to fans of YA science fiction mixed with romance and fans of I Am Number Four. It’s a great story that was well written and thrilling, with some sweet and tragic moments, too.
Labels: Review, Science Fiction, YA