Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Review - None of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing

None of the Regular Rules
None of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing
Series: Standalone
Published by Self-published on November 20 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 260
Rating: 4/5 stars

Sometimes, a few dares can change lives…
The weekend before the start of senior year, Sophie Erickson and her best friends, Ella and Grace, discover a handwritten list of dares tucked away in the glove compartment of Sophie’s beat-up old Toyota. But this isn’t just any list; it’s a dead girl's bucket list. 
Sophie's beloved aunt Suzy died as a teenager in a fatal fall, leaving Sophie with an overly cautious family, a few fading photographs, and a bucket of bolts that barely passes for a car. But now, Sophie has Suzy’s list of the things she wanted to do in her last year of high school. Sophie can't help but wonder: What would happen if she tried to fulfill Suzy’s last wishes, to live out the longed-for life of her aunt, her hero? 
As Sophie and her friends attempt to knock off the things on Suzy's list of dares, love blossoms in unexpected places and Sophie begins to feel that her life is finally coming together...when in fact, everything is slowly unraveling around her. When the truth about a long-held family secret threatens to shatter everything she believed to be true, Sophie is forced to question everything she knew about the life and people she believed in, and ultimately herself.

Sophie’s life is pretty boring. It’s safe. She’s nearly eighteen years old, starting her senior year of high school, and she’s ready for a change. She’s finished with spending her weekends watching movies and having sleepovers with her two best (and only) friends, Grace and Ella. She’s ready for adventure, which arrives in the form of a list she finds in the car of her dead aunt Suzy. It’s a list of dares, of things that Suzy never got to do, and Sophie decides to follow her aunt’s dreams, as they happen to coincide with some of her own.

Sophie’s story was a very pleasant read. It was truly a coming-of-age story disguised as a romance novel. 

The cover certainly does not accurately portray what the book is about. It’s very misleading, and I was so off-put by its cheesiness that I nearly didn’t bother reading the book. I’m glad that I did, though.

The characterization, for one, was brilliant. Sophie is kind of  annoying at times, but it’s because she’s real. She behaves like a real person and that is sometimes upsetting, but in the best possible way. She reminds me a lot of teenage me, which is probably why I disliked her from time to time. I was similarly sheltered, but unlike Sophie I didn’t have a pair of amazing, supportive friends to keep me in check.

Ella and Grace were one of my favourite things about None of the Regular Rules. I loved that they had their own lives and that they had affairs beyond Sophie and her problems. Grace’s relationship with Ian was really difficult to read, but it had a happy ending and it made sense why she stayed with him as long as she did. She was scared and vulnerable and didn’t want to let people see that she didn’t have everything as put together as she led people to believe. Ella’s relationships with her own identity and her parents (a depressed and manipulative single mother and a convict father) were equally well-portrayed.

On to the romance! I was so happy to find that Johnny wasn’t just a superficial party boy – after all, with a name like Johnny Rush, what are you really expecting? It’s definitely a porn star name. He was so sweet and though I hated that he kind of led Sophie and Mackenzie on, he was trying to do the right thing and he ultimately made some great choices. It was lovely to see a LI who doesn’t immediately fall head over heels for the MC, proclaiming their undying devotion and vowing never to love another. It gets old, and frankly it’s kind of ridiculous. Johnny was one of the most charismatic LIs I’ve come across in a long time, and I’m kind of in love now. I felt like his storyline regarding not going to University was kind of lame, but it all worked out in the end!

The biggest complaint I have about None of the Regular Rules is that it’s too short! It was over so quickly and I wanted it to keep going, which I think is the mark of a good book. I usually have the opposite problem.

Also, I’m not sure why some people have it shelved as NA? It’s definitely a YA book.

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