Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

The Rules for Disappearing

Author: Ashley Elston

Check out on Goodreads.

Purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Synopsis: 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.

Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz

Note: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: You know when you read a synopsis and you get really excited but a voice suddenly echoes from the back of your mind, warning you to move away from the book before it’s too late? Instead of walking away (or clicking away), you decide to ignore that ominous voice from within and give the book the benefit of doubt in the hopes you’re cynicism will be proven wrong, all doubts will be thwarted.

Yeah, that wasn’t this book.

The Rules for Disappearing opens with Anna suddenly having to decide a new fake name, suddenly having to pack up and rush out of her latest hiding place with her family as the Marshalls, or Suits as she calls them, move them to a new location. Anna and her family are part of the witness protection program and this is Anna’s sixth move. She chooses the name Meg, not really caring what the newest name will be, and attempts to remain as invisible as possible at school knowing getting close to people isn’t an option when you have to constantly be on the move. Meg still has no idea what her parents did that would make the FBI usher them into the Witness Protection Program but she’s determined to finally find out the truth. But the truth may come at a price Meg (Anna) isn’t willing to pay.

Now the concept for the book was what initially roused my interest. I wondered how a girl who was sixteen would handle living in the Witness Protection Program and what the real reason was. The curiosity and excitement died away pretty quickly as Meg a.k.a Anna’s characterization came to light. She creates this so called Plan in order to find out why her family has been driven into the program, except The Plan isn’t so much an actual plan. She doesn’t really have any clues to follow for most of the book and she dismisses the ones that are REALLY obvious (like the feeling of being watched—Meg decides she’s just imaging everything *rolls eyes*). She sneaks out in the middle of the night or walks home in the dark. Why would you do that when you know you are in the Witness Protection Program for a REASON, a DANGEROUS reason?!

Ethan, on the other hand, was a far better character. He is patient and sweet and has a boy next door charm to him. I enjoyed his character and I gave him props for sticking with Meg for as long as he did. His romance with Meg was . . . okay. I mean can understand why Meg wanted to keep Ethan at a distance since she doesn’t want to be hurt when she’s whisked away to another location and I liked how persistent Ethan was to break down Meg’s walls, but I just never bought Meg’s feelings for Ethan. Meg’s characterization, for the most part, felt shallow so her feelings for Ethan just seemed just as shallow. Ethan also didn’t work as hard as I would have expected to find out the truth about Meg. He’s way better at following hunches and clues than Meg was.

Majority of the plot centers basically around Meg going to school and attempting to avoid people, especially Ethan, but failing miserably. Or Meg going to work and attempting to avoid Ethan and failing miserably. Or going home and dealing with her alcoholic mom drunk on the floor or outside the front of the house or half comatose. Or going home and arguing with her father. Anything to do with the Witness Protection Program doesn’t come into play much until the second half of the book and the real reason was very anti-climactic. I expected something far more life threatening than what was given.

I did like Meg’s relationship with her little sister. They are very close and Meg is very protective of her. It was sweet to see how much they cared and trusted each other.

The Rules for Disappearing is a book I would recommend to Young Adult fans between the ages of 13 and 17 or for fans who haven’t read a book like this one yet who would probably enjoy it more. 

About the Author: Ashley Elston lives is North Louisiana with her husband, three sons and two cats. She worked as a wedding and portrait photographer for ten years until she decided to pursue writing full time. Ashley is also a certified landscape horticulturist and loves digging in the dirt. Her debut novel, THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING, will be published by Disney Hyperion in winter 2013.

Where to Find the Author: Tumblr/Goodreads

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