When Rules of Summer fell through my letterbox for review, perfectly timed, I had not heard of it. I was already planning on getting together a little stack of summery books to read and so Rules of Summer went straight onto the pile.
Rory McShane is a fairly normal teenager with a fairly normal life, but with one exception: she has to deal with a very difficult mother who is fond of alcohol and is apparently still stuck in teenagerdom herself. Rory has just had enough and so decides to spend her summer with Aunt Fee, working as an errand girl for a rich family. Rory could do with a well-earned break, relaxing in a massive beachfront mansion, but she gets more than she bargained for when it with the Rule family.
You’ll see that the tagline for Rules of Summer is ‘there are two sides to every summer’, but I actually think Rory’s story is the only one worth telling – but that does not mean I wasn’t interested in hearing about the youngest member of the Rule family, Isabel. She’s spoiled, shallow and incredibly snobby. After all, these are all traits one looks for in a friend, right? Not! Rory’s accepted that Isabel will never like her and so tries to stay out of her away, without success. Isabel Rule is, unsurprisingly, a unlikeable character, whereas I warmed to Rory immediately, but I loved the contrast between the two and it only served to make each girl’s personality stand out even more.
Joanna Philbin seamlessly switches between third person narrative showing both girls’ points of view, often mid-paragraph. Sounds confusing? I’d have thought it would be too, but the way the story is told works wonderfully. I’m used to reading stories told in first person, but I loved the way we were able to see through the eyes of both girls easily, yet not in the usual way. I’ve mentioned previously how important it is to me that characters are distinct and do not blend in with each other and Joanna certainly avoided that – she truly understood the two teenager girls she invented and it was fun to spend summer with them!
Rules of Summer has everything you could want from a summer book and it left me feeling like I’d just got back from relaxing on a private sandy beach. (A good thing, too, since one function of books is to take you away!).
Published: 23rd May 2013 (UK) 4th June 2013 (US)
Publisher: Atom (UK) Poppy (US)
Source: Thank you Atom for providing this book to review!
If you liked: The Summer I Turned Pretty & Second Chance Summer