The Rules by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
Pub. Date: June 23, 2015
Source: Finished copy via publisher (Thank you, Delecorte!!)
Summary: Junior Robin Brisset has no idea what she’s in for when she accepts an invitation to one of Callabrese High’s most exclusive parties. And when the trademark scavenger hunt begins, Robin must go against every rule she’s lived by to survive.
Genre: YA, Thriller, Contemporary
Recommended for: Fans of cheesy slasher flicks
When The Rules appeared on my doorstep one day, I had no idea what to think. To put it mildly, I was bewildered – I tend to stick to Adult novels and I certainly have never read anything by Nancy Holder before (& have never even heard of Debbie Viguie) but it sounded like a quick and easy summer read – and it was.
Those two sentences in the blurb tell you nearly everything you need to know about this book: August and Beth are known to throw parties people talk about for months afterward. These parties typically involve a scavenger hunt (though it’s mainly used as an excuse for the pairs to find a secluded spot to make out.) This year, however, August took it upon himself to plan it all on his own…and this year will be the best one yet.
Knowing he’s only liked because his parents are loaded, August uses his connections to pick the ultimate prize for each person. One girl desperately wants to become an actress, and so August’s prize for her is a meet-and-greet with a top agent. Other prizes include a limo the Rolling Stones once used and the answer key to the upcoming finals. What no one knows however, is that this isn’t just a game to August. Every person involved is somehow connected to his sister’s death and he’s out for revenge.
The best way I can think of to describe The Rules is a B-movie played on a cable network on a Saturday afternoon. Something you would never seek out on your own, but since it’s already there you’re just bored enough to settle in and enjoy the ride. This is not a book I would ever pick up in a bookstore, but since it was literally delivered to my door, I figured I might as well see what it was about. I doubt I have to actually tell you this, but don’t go into this one expecting highbrow literature. Instead, imagine a slasher flick in book form, complete with severed hands, a budding rock band, a student impregnated by her teacher, teenagers who would rather make out than freak out over the killer in their midst, and a mountain lion. I love that The Rules took two people to create.
When the authors felt the plot was suffering and in dire need of a pick-me-up, there would be a scream off-camera so to speak. Then the remaining survivors would rush out of a building/inside a building/over to the car/etc and discover a body. Rinse, repeat for 300 pages. I’ve discovered over the past few years that, during the summer, I’m extremely lenient with my tastes, which is most likely why I was okay with this novel. The Rules isn’t anything amazing – not by a long shot – but it’s SO over-the-top and ridiculous that it sort of became fun..? Kind of in a so-bad-it’s-good way. I highly doubt I would read this one again, and I know for a fact that if I had read this during the winter I would have hated it, but right now I’m all about brain fluff. And that’s exactly what The Rules is: total brain candy. Its comparison to I Know What You Did Last Summer is spot on; check your criticism at the door and let its cheesiness carry you away.