Author: Ashley Elston
Release date: May 14th 2013
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.