Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review: The Rules for Disappearing


The Rules for DisappearingAuthor: Ashley Elston
Release date: May 14th 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Hardcover, 320 pages
Genre: contemporary thriller
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

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
The Rules for Disappearing is a book for those who are prepared to put logic aside, a least for a little while. It is comparable to an action movie, albeit one with solid characterization. It is captivating and very impressive in some ways, but if you expect it to be realistic and to always make sense, you might end up disappointed.

Meg and her younger sister Mary have been through so many witness protection placements that they don’t want to choose their own names anymore. What does it matter when it won't last more than a few weeks? Their parents are taking it even harder; their father is absentminded and generally unhelpful and their mother, a former cocktail party queen, is drunk around the clock. Meg and Mary are not the girls’ real names, of course, but they’re never allowed to use their own, not even among themselves. That is just one of the many rules they have to live by if they want to stay alive.

The suits, which is their name for the US Marshalls, are a constant looming presence in their lives. They can show up anytime, even in the middle of the night, and take them all to a new country with new names and a new life.

RULES FOR DISAPPEARING BY WITNESS PROTECTION PRISONER #18A7R04M: Don’t fall into a routine. Shake things up. Doing the same thing over and over makes you feel comfortable. And feeling comfortable is bad.

The first part of this book was utterly captivating. It focused on Meg and Mary’s internal struggles, their psychological traumas and their family issues. Meg had pretty much become apathetic, and Mary nearly catatonic, with occasional hysterical outburst, usually caused by men in suits. The second part, however, was where it all went wrong. As soon as Elston stopped focusing on the girls and started focusing on the reason for their placement in the Witness Protection, the story became far too unbelievable. I kept expecting Bruce Willis to pop out like jack-in-a-box, with a semi-automatic in hand and proclaim that he’s there to kill the bad guys and save them all. (No such luck, though.)

There’s also the small matter of Meg’s boyfriend Ethan. As much as I liked him as a character (and believe you me, he had some pretty adorable traits), him getting involved in this huge, dangerous mess for a girl he barely even knew just didn’t make sense. I couldn’t relax and enjoy their romance because my brain kept screaming ‘no one would do that, no one would do that, there’s no way in hell that a sane person would ever do that!’

I can easily imagine The Rules for Disappearing being turned into a movie, especially the second half (which is why I enjoyed the first much more). It is very tightly paced and dynamic. Although it had its problems, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it as a quick, exciting read.


28 comments:

  1. Oh I hate it when the romance is not that believable but maybe I can ignore that.... I'll just have to read it to fins out :)

    Great review

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  2. It's a shame this one isn't more realistic but rather more like a movie. I've been reading mostly positive reviews of this, but I appreciate how balanced yours is, and as someone who doesn't pick up a lot of contemporary, I don't think this is for me. Wonderful review, Maja! :)

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  3. I really like the sound of this, there's something about fake identities and being on the run that is so appealing! Shame the second half felt so different but the fact that it was still fast paced is good!

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  4. I'm torn over this one now! I had very little interest in it a few weeks ago, but then the positive reviews and ratings started to trickle in. Normally I wouldn't think I could put logic aside, but I seem to have done it easily enough with a couple of my recent reads. It's a shame the second half wasn't as great as the first for you. I don't think I'll rush out to buy this one, but I won't knock it off the list just yet. Lovely review, Maja!

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  5. I just finished this one as well and I think I liked it a little more than you get but that is because I loved Ethan. I have a bad habit of overlooking little things when I love a character. ;)

    Great review!!

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  6. Thanks for the heads up about the second half of the book. I'll see how much I can suspend my disbelief. I do like the sound of the first half though so I think I'll give it a try.

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  7. I don't mind putting logic to the side as long as the story keeps me going. Not sure about the whole boyfriend thing but I guess it added conflict and lurve (though it sounds like there was enough going on without the romance!).

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  8. I agree Maja, the first half of this book was AWESOME and I loved every second of it, but the second half did test the boundaries of believability a bit. By then though, I was so invested in Meg, her family, and Ethan, that I was totally able to suspend disbelief and just enjoy it. I couldn't tell you why though, sometimes I'm able to do that and sometimes I'm not, but in this case it didn't bother me. Glad you enjoyed this one for the most part though!

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  9. the Bruce Willis part had me roaring with laughter, I know how that is hehehe. I seen this book once or twice, have not read many reviews. I can understand how a book can feel like a movie, a little disappointing that it didn't feel realistic for something like this but oh well, at least it was party awesome.

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  10. Aw, Bruce didn't make an appearance? Then I'm definitely not reading this. Lol So how exactly does she manage to have a boyfriend if she's constantly moving? I just read April Henry's 'The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die' and it had the same issue: some random guy she barely knows was willing to completely lay his life on the line for this girl. There were attempts to make it plausible but it didn't work for me. Great review, Maja! I'll be skipping this one. :)

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  11. I don't like it when guys fall all over and risk their lives for girls that they just met, really annoying. This doesn't sound like a book that would appeal to me. Great review though Maja :)

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  12. Despite issues this does sound interesting and I could imagine it as a movie by the way you described it. Do I detect a Bruce Willis fan in our midst..LOL. Sometimes its fun to let go and just enjoy the ride without over analyzing the logistics! Great review!

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  13. The first half sounds very captivating :D I'm not a fan of unbelievable action though! Laughed at the line about Bruce Willis! Great review Maja :)

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  14. The whole witness protection program parts sound really interesting. I am sure that some of the parts that don't quite ring true would bug me, but then again sometimes it is just nice to read something exciting and put aside reality.

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  15. I think it depends on HOW much belief I have to suspend. I can do it quite a bit, but I find that I do have limits. Still, this one doesn't sound too bad. It didn't stop you from enjoying parts of it... and I'm curious about the Bruce Willis action! LOL

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  16. Depending on my mood, I sometimes adore unbelievable action :)

    Thanks for sharing what captivated you in the first half of the book. I think if I were Meg, I'd feel tormented and angry at the suits. Your review is very informative. Thank you, Maja!

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  17. I actually just started this one today, and I'm quite enjoying it so far! I agree with you on how the first half of the story is so far: really getting into the specifics on the girls' struggles and such. I can't say anything about the second half yet, but at least I know now that I may not be blown away with the plot and the romance. I'm looking forward to the action though! Thanks for the brilliant review, Maja! :)

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  18. Excellent review, Maja, it's so well balanced. I don't often pick up contemporaries, and the ones I do tend to be of the funny variety. I'll give this one a miss, I usually find that the books I can easily imagine as films have got so much going on that they overshadow any connection I'd be looking to form with the characters.

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  19. This book definitely does sound like one where you have to approach it with the right mentality. I generally don't like books that feel like movies, but there is a time and place when I do want to read that type of book. I think the premise sounds interesting and I do want to read it, but I'll keep in mind I need to suspend my disbelief while doing so. Thanks for the thoughtful review, Maja!

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  20. Huh. I was worried when you mentioned putting logic aside, but this does sound interesting. That's funny though, about waiting for Bruce.

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  21. I'm glad I read your review. I have this for review in the upcoming days too. I would have been annoyed by the lack of logic so thank you for the heads up. Now, I can go into the book not expecting it to make much sense in certain aspects. I like the sound of the characters and I can't wait to meet them. It's too bad about the love interest. I would be confused as to why he wanted to support the MC too especially if they only recently met.
    Lovely honest review, Maja!

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  22. I like the sound of quick and exciting and I think I will be overlook the issues.

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  23. It sucks when you have to put logic aside and ignore your inner "yeah right!" voice just to finish a book. It does sound like a fun ride, but I think I might get frustrated with the second half. I'll probably skip this one after all. Thanks for your thoughtful review, Maja!

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  24. I have a copy of this that I was hoping to pick up soon. I'm thinking that some of the issues you had might not be a problem for me, but I'm not sure. I guess I'll just have to wait and see!

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  25. I guess I wasn't bothered about the end as much as you were. I figure nowadays with Crime TV and Forensic Files a lot of what Ethan knew is things an avid crime tv addict would know. Glad to see you enjoyed this overall. :)

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  26. I keep reading mixed things about this one, but still want to try it out! I will be prepared to suspend my belief a bit. I can completely relate to the sentiment that sometimes an unlikely action plot works best in a movie than a book. It's easier to gloss over the glaring plot holes when you have pretty pictures to watch.

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  27. I think I liked this one more than you, but I appreciate your review. And I LOVE that you included one of the chapter header RULES. I read a touring ARC and didn't copy any down in my notes. But those were some of my favorite parts of the book:) I hear there is going to be a sequel too:)

    Visit me at The Flyleaf Review:)

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  28. i love how you straight up mentoin you need to put logic aside, lol. i love the premise of this one and am looking forward to it.

    i find it easier to put logic aside for movies, but not so much for books. weird :)

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