Age: Young Adult
Series: Project Paper Doll #1
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… (summary from goodreads.com)
I received a free advanced e-galley from Net Galley. This did not sway my opinion in anyway!
The sci-fi parts of The Rules were a little light for my taste, instead focusing more on high school drama and bullying than anything else. I wanted Ariane to be a little more curious about exploring her other planetary origins. She was so focused on being human, she cut out interest in all other aspects of herself. I understood, within the context of the story, why she would do it. Still, I wanted to know more about the little grey men that crash landed earth.
As the narrators of the story, Zane and Ariane were focused on a lot throughout The Rules. It got to the point where I had to really focus on remembering who the side characters were and where they mattered in the story. Zane and Ariane interacted nicely together. The whole bog/dear conflict story still makes me smile. However, when other characters were around them, it was like their chemistry died a horrible and sudden death. I wanted more scenes of the two alone, just having fun.
One issue which bugged me was the lack of any redeemable traits in anyone but Ariane and Zane. Zane helped bully Ariane's friend, well that's okay because he didn't actually want to. Ariane almost kills someone, it's alright because she was defending herself. Zane's father, Rachel, Dr. Jacobs etc. were all users and abusers with no other qualities. I felt there was a bit of room for character development to round them out as people instead of simply being labeled "villains."
I'm torn between liking the addition of bullying to the novel and not. I enjoyed that it was relate-able and illustrated how cruel human beings, even high schoolers, can be to each other. However, I did not like the lack of consequence for those involved in said bullying. There was also an issue with one girl wanting to fit into the "in crowd" who kept on allowing herself to be humiliated for a chance to be near them. That seemed to stretch it just a bit too far for me considering the severity of the "pranks."
The Rules was a quick read for me, especially fast paced near the end. I would recommend it for fans of contemporary who want the chance to explore sci-fi without stepping too far outside their comfort genre. I would even give it to sci-fi fans who would like to branch into contemporary.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Teaser Lines: "For the first six years of my life, give or take, I’d thought my name was Wannoseven. It was only after I escaped – with Mark Tucker’s help – that I learned Wannoseven wasn’t a name at all but a numerical designation. 107. Pathetic."