Books Reviews Young Adult Fiction

The Rules* by Tracy Darnton

April 27, 2020
The Rules by Tracy Darnton

I have never read a book that explores the idea of 'Preppers' and 'Prepper life' before. The Rules* was a first for me. To preface a 'Prepper' is someone who believes that there is going to be an event that ends civilisation as we know it, anything from an alien invasion or huge volcanic explosion. They plan for this in stockpiling essentials, having a self-sufficient home and quite frequently seem to be wary of outside authority.

The story's protagonist Amber is on the run from her Dad, a prepper. Her life with him was abysmal, constantly under his thumb and stuck following his Rules. Everything has its place, checks every week, tests the lot. Including being locked in a dark cave with no light. She managed to get away from him but now it seems he has an idea of where she is. Now she has to leave her life at her new school and the friends she's made.

Whilst I really enjoyed this book I was left feeling a little wanting. The end, whilst clever completely negated the arc that Amber appeared to go on. Was it all a ruse? Probably. Was it clever? Yep. But it made me dislike her as a character which after growing to like her felt a little deflating. I understand why the book ended the way it ended. I was more upset with how she viewed her 'friend' in the end. A witness. Nothing more. My copy of this book is 192 pages long and when I checked it's stats on Goodreads it said on publication it was due to be over 300. So I'm not sure if there have been changes or not on the plot front. It also felt very YA, which isn't a bad thing. I imagine six years ago I wouldn't have felt this but now being nearly twenty-four it's something you notice.

I loved Josh. I found him charming and funny, the lightness this novel certainly needed. He was surprisingly helpful and was necessary for Amber's journey. Not just in the sense of he had skills but the book wouldn't have been the same with Amber alone. That being said I thought the plot, up until the end was excellently paced. I like how it moved, what caused changes and the twists that occurred.

Simply, I wish that the ending had been different.


Name: The Rules*

Author: Tracy Darnton

Publisher: Little Tiger

Pages: 192


Rating: 3.5/5

Have you read The Rules?

What did you think?

Thank you for reading,

Katie x

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