Review: The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston + Giveaway

book coverFormat: E-ARC
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: May 14, 2013
ISBN: 9781423168973
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Rules for Disappearing #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

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 one of the 2013 debuts I was most excited for because I just love the sound of the Witness Protection premise. Sadly, while it wasn't a bad read, it didn't quite live up to my expectations.

We follow "Meg" (her real name is Anna) as she and her family are once again transfered to a new town by the Witness Protection Program. This time they are transplanted in a small Louisiana town and Meg is determined that this will be her family's last move--for that to happen she will have to lay low and not draw any attention to herself, especially in school. She is also making it her mission to figure out what her dad did to get them into the Witness Protection Program in the first place. However, her plans didn't quite work out because her family seem to attract attention like flowers attract bees and a cute boy, Ethan, was adamant in getting to know her and to be her friend.

Like I said, The Rules for Disappearing is not a bad read. If you are looking for a mystery-lite with a strong romance, you may enjoy this. But for me most of the story was too conventional, too cardboard. Nothing really surprised me when I was reading it and the twists I saw a mile away. There were some parts that may have added some meat to the story like Meg's alcoholic mom, her dad who may be making deals with the wrong people and the man who may not be who he says he is--they could have turned the story into a darker fare but they were mostly glazed over. Instead the story focused more on Meg's relationship with Ethan.

I am all for romance but I thought, Meg and Ethan got together too easily. I never really understood Ethan's interest in Meg in the first place because it seemed there wasn't much to like about her when they first met. Also, Ethan was too perfect to be realistic.

But I did sympathize for Meg/Anna's character--how she was dealing with all the moving around and her frustration of not understanding why they were in the Witness Protection Program, the pressure of keeping her family together and taking care of her little sister, and basically having to carry all her possessions with her (in her "go-bag") so that she and her sister will have their stuff in the highly likely chance that they will be plucked in the middle of the night and moved to a new location without warning. I felt sorry for her and I rooted for her to figure out the "whys" and hopefully help her family get out of Witness Protection.

The Rules for Disappearing did not quite live up to my expectations but it was still a pretty good read. If you like mystery/thrillers on the lighter side, you may enjoy it more than I did. Oh, and the daisies on the cover? **Wink** They show up at the end of the novel. While The Rules for Disappearing is not a book I'd recommend you run to the bookstore to buy, it's definitely worth borrowing in the library.

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