Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Review: The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

 The Rules for Disappearing
Ashley Elston
Genre: YA Contemp/Mystery
Publication date: May 14th 2013
by  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.
-A copy was provided by Disney Book Group for review-

Another fake identity for "Meg" means another town, another school, another life altogether. In a book like this, mystery becomes the main element of the plot; why and who are they hiding from. Even though the book is actually a pretty good contemporary with decent characters and a compelling romance, the mystery element lost its flair for me fairly quickly, leaving me with a lukewarm read with some sparks, but not enough to hold its flame.

The fire of this one initially died when the plot kept beating around the bush. It left me exasperated for some answers already. Then it lost its biggest appeal when the big mystery ended up being a little too underwhelming. It's the answer I was expecting; the one we don't even consider, or at least we hope it's not it because it's the obvious direction the plot could take. You also have to take it all with a grain of salt when you think how things would work in reality, this all made it difficult for me to take it seriously.

Although I don't mind predictability for the most part--seeing as it has become quite rare for me to be caught by surprise nowadays--I come to expect a certain amount of intelligence, or perception, when it comes to the characters figuring things out. In this case, Meg was a little too clueless, or dismissive. With a feeling of being watched, of being followed, then witnessing a couple of suspicious situations, Meg assumes it's "all in her head", every time. Then she puts her trust into someone who's acting "out of the norm" which, to the reader, immediately becomes a red flag. While some may forgive this with her excuses of chalking it up to paranoia and not wanting to be relocated again, I found myself incredibly irritated. In these types of stories, the smarter and more cautious the character, the more I connect to them. If this was a movie, Meg would be the heroine I'd be screaming at angrily for not seeing things clearly. This leads me to think it's more of an "not for me" type of read. Furthermore, when all is said and done, the ending left me with nothing but a cocked eyebrow. Not only is it anti-climatic, the last few pages didn't really make any logical sense when you think of the grand scheme of things--why would they care about her anymore? To be honest, it felt like a gimmick to get us interested in the sequel and nothing more.

Despite my issues with the plot it's not a complete loss. Aside from the previous mentions, I did like Meg's personality, how caring she was of her sister especially. Then the relationship she forms with a certain boy in town became my favorite part of this novel. Meg has a hard time allowing herself to fall in love or get attached to a guy since she's aware her family could be moved any second. This causes a hot and cold relationship where you both understand her hesitation, yet you hope she goes through with it anyways. And who could resist Ethan? Your adorable farm boy with a heart or gold and eyes only for Meg. Due to this reluctance, their relationship is slow paced, steadily sparking, with a great forbidden fruit flair. You really can't help but sigh at their adorableness!

A mysterious premise, good characters, and a sweet romance, I can see this book being a hit for certain readers, especially those who have not read as many similarly plotted books. Sadly for me the mystery--the heart of the book--fell short of my expectations. 

3 Hot Espressos