Book Review | The Rules by Tracy Darnton

Author : Tracy Darnton
Published on : July 9, 2020
Publisher : Little Tiger Group
Genre : Fiction, YA Contemporary, Thriller
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Amber’s an expert when it comes to staying hidden – she’s been trained her whole life for it. But what happens when the person you’re hiding from taught you everything you know?

When a letter from her dad arrives, Amber knows she’s got to move – and fast. He’s managed to find her and she knows he’ll stop at nothing to draw her back into the extreme survivalist way of life he believes in.

All of a sudden the Rules she’s spent so long trying to escape are the ones keeping her safe. But for how long?

*trigger warning: domestic abuse and violence, PTSD, panic attacks

The protagonist is Amber and she’s 17. She’s been trained by her father, who is a prepper, to be always ready for the worst. After what happened to her mother, she ends up in different foster care homes and continues to hide from her father. Just when she thought she’s finally found her happy place, a letter from her father arrives. She is left with no choice but to leave. She uses all the things she has learned, follow “the rules”, and goes into hiding. But how can she outwit the same person who has trained her and created those rules she’s been following her whole life?

This was a very suprising read for me. It’s fast-paced and very gripping. The story is told in alternating timelines but in a pretty clever way. It added enough tension in the story. The entire book is set during Christmas season and it definitely gave me some holiday vibes. I personally liked Amber. She’s a true fighter and her mistakes just made her character more realistic. Josh was also a delightful character to read. He’s the complete opposite of Amber. He’s funny and I like his attitude. They argued a lot but still ended up helping each other. I was also very thankful that their relationship didn’t turn into a romantic one. It would be a deal-breaker for me if it had. It’s possible for two people of opposite sex to be just good friends.

I didn’t know about preppers until I read this book. I even checked online if these people exist in real life and they do. I think there’s nothing wrong with being prepared but I hope they’re not as extreme as Amber’s father because he’s terrifying af! I was not sure what to expect towards the end but it did not disappoint! The build up towards the ending and the ending itself were brilliant! I highly recommend this book if you love YA thrillers.

My Rating : ★★★★☆

Disclaimer: I received a free advance copy of this book from Little Tiger Group. This did not affect my overall opinion of the book.

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