Monday, January 13, 2014

review: THE RULES by Stacey Kade

THE RULES by Stacey Kade
Series: Project Paper Doll #1
Disney: Disney-Hyperion
Released: April 23, 2013
Source: NetGalley
Page Count: 416

Rating: Loved it!

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, and especially not the rules . . .

My Thoughts
I was a little nervous about this book, because it seemed to have shades of James Patterson's Maximum Ride series with the human-other DNA mix. Luckily, The Rules only reflected the very best parts of that series and fully stood on its own. I should have known better - Kade's The Ghost and the Goth was such a fabulous book!

Ariane was created through an experiment that combined human DNA with that of an exterrestrial, possibly from the Roswell crash. This wasn't harped on in the book, but it was mentioned a few times, so I get the feeling that it will be touched upon in a later installment. She used to have powers of some sort, but they went away around the time she was taken from the lab that had been her prison. She needs to stay out of the spotlight, or she could end up right back where she began. Of course, in the way of novels, that turns out to be more difficult than anticipated when the local mean girl decides to make it her mission to torture Ariane's best friend. Her powers suddenly flare to life during their confrontations, and Ariane must learn to control them before she is found out.

I really liked this book, although it had its difficult parts (emotional, not technical). I have read / seen many books / shows similar to The Rules, but they have mostly been middle grade child-raised-in-a-lab books (Replica series by Marilyn Kaye, Undercover Girl series by Christine Harris) or shows that only had one similar theme (Roswell with aliens, The Pretender with the lab-raised child). It was nice to see the alien bit playing nicely along with the lab aspect, as they are two tropes that I very much enjoy. It was the betrayal that really got to me, though. I just wanted to hug poor Ariane through the pages!

Ariane is a nice girl stuck in a terrible situation, and she does her best to balance her own self-preservation with being a decent person. This is a theme that many high school students can relate to, as dealing with the popular kids - even if you don't care to be one of them - can sometimes force you into difficult situations. Adopted kids can also relate to Ariane wanting to know more about her unknown parentage yet having no resources to do so. As an adoptee, that is always something I am interested in, especially when it's handled well. It's not a driving force or obnoxious source of angst; it just is.

Kade leaves the book on a bit of a cliffhanger, so get ready to curse her for not having the second book ready right this second!

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