Review: The Rules by Stacey Kade

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on April 22, 2013 | 12 Comments

Review: The Rules by Stacey KadeThe Rules by Stacey Kade
Series: Project Paper Doll #1
Published by Disney Hyperion (4.23.2013)
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: ARC, 416 pages
Source: Gifted
Buy on Amazon

5 Stars

1. Never trust anyone.
2. Remember they are always searching.
3. Don’t get involved.
4. Keep your head down.
5. Don’t fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…

My thoughts

Big thanks to my loverly Nator twin for sending me a copy! <3

 I don’t really know what I was expecting going into this one. But I was pleasantly surprised! I honestly didn’t think I was going to enjoy it as much as I did. First of all, it wasn’t as much about alien experimentation as much as it was a vengeance campaign against the high school mean girl. That’s what about 70% of this book consisted of. Not that that’s a bad thing – Kade’s writing style was fantastic and very engaging! Despite my aversion to high school drama stories, I found myself way more invested in the story and the characters than I thought I’d be.

The prologue grabs you right away! I knew from the first page that I would love this one. I mean seriously, the first line is ‘I have a dead girl’s name.’ How intriguing is that?! The story held my attention even in the slower parts because like I said, the prose is so engaging you can’t help but love it. This book was written in two different points of view…as I’ve said before, that can be hard to pull off, because if you don’t have two distinct voices it gets confusing. There was no problem with that here! I loved Ariane and Zane’s voices, and there was a clear difference between them. 

I really, really liked Ariane! There were many times when I felt like she was more human than some of the full-blooded humans. She stayed true to herself, and even though she had some odd quirks (um duh, alien DNA) I think that her and I could definitely be besties! I felt bad for her, though, because of her past in the lab and the life she had to live. How horrible would it be to have strict rules to follow, to have to think carefully about every little aspect of your life before you act on it? Even something simple like doing math problems in ink (because she’s super smart yet has to appear average). Yikes.

I looooved Zane! He was damaged in his own way, but he wasn’t a jerk despite the horrible people he surrounded himself with. Deep down he was a good person, and the way he saw Ariane made me love him even more. He was intrigued by her, even though she was distant and everyone else thought she was a freak. He made the effort to get to know her instead of judging her like everyone else. That was what made him awesome. Plus, he was a sweetheart! There were so many times that I felt all warm and fuzzy over something he did/thought/said. Yet he wasn’t too perfect like many of the ‘swoony’ boys in YA are. He was perfectly flawed, and that made him feel very real.

I despised Rachel. With the fire of a thousand suns. Which was kinda the point, because she was the mean girl of the story. She was despicable, conniving, and cruel – basically, the spawn of Satan. She was a complete sociopath! It disgusted me how much she enjoyed others’ humiliation. I wished that someone would knock her teeth out, and I was proud of Ariane for standing up to her! 

But you know who else I hated, that caught me by surprise? Jenna. In a way, she was worse than Rachel. At least Rachel was straightforward about being a heartless bitch. Jenna was passive aggressive, a liar and a fake. Her treatment of Ariane, her supposed ‘friend,’ really ticked me off. I wanted to throttle her! And what made it worse, Ariane felt guilty for the things that happened to Jenna. Ariane stayed true to the friendship even as Jenna was stabbing her in the back, worrying about Jenna’s feelings when it was clear her so called ‘friend’ wasn’t a bit concerned. ARGH. I mean really, what kind of friend ‘takes a break’ from a friendship just to get in with the popular crowd? Obviously one who is not a friend at all. 

The characterization in this book is really something. Each and every character had their own personality, and they all had depth. By the end of the book, you feel like you really know all of the people in the story. They’re so real it’s like they exist somewhere outside of the pages!

If you know me, you’ll know I’m not big into heavy romance. Which is why this one was perfect! It developed slowly and realistically. But I think the main reason I liked it is that it was an unlikely romance. In the beginning, it was just an alliance made against the common enemy, for the sole purpose of vengeance. I loved to see the change in how they saw each other and how their relationship grew into something more gradually. They didn’t realize they were in too deep until they were six feet under (in the best way possible, of course). It was great! Believe me, it’s a great feat for a romance to give me warm fuzzies.

Which brings me to another great thing about this book – emotional investment. I actually cared about the characters and what happened to them. I felt various things while reading – anger, outrage, happiness, and the biggest one, shock. I do love a book that can surprise me, and this one pulled the rug out from under me at a certain point, leaving me gaping very unattractively at the pages. Yeah, it was that awesome!

All in all, there was absolutely nothing that I didn’t like about this book. If you haven’t read this, you should get on that! 

Overall Assessment

Plot: 4.5/5
Writing style: 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
World-building: 4.5/5
Pace: 5/5
Cover: 3.5/5
Overall rating: 5/5

Jessi (Geo)

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12 responses to “Review: The Rules by Stacey Kade

  1. Awesome awesome review! I totally agree with you.. this book rocked my world!! You really nailed the characters; they were all so awesome (or awful) in their own ways, and that’s really what connected me to the story! I’m so glad you loved this book too. :D

    • Thank you! And that’s so true, they were amazing or awful. But I think the awful part made me like it even more…because in real life you can’t love everyone! There are despicable people in reality and there were plenty in this book too. *fist bump*

  2. Kelly

    Is it strange that I love when I hate the antagonist as much as you did here? I just become so much more involved in the story and I empathize with the protagonist so much more if I can understand where they’re coming from! While the fact that this one isn’t as sci-fiy as I had hoped for, the fact that everyone seems to be loving the characters so much makes me eager to read it anyways!

    • Not at all! I love it too, because it goes to show how talented the author is that they can make me feel blatant hatred. I hope you love it as much as I did!

  3. I’m so behind and I still haven’t finished this yet. But I so agree with you so far! I’m loving the characters and how REAL they feel. Arianne is so conflicted and you can see both of the sides clashing! And it WORKS! I’m so agreeing with you. And yes! Zane! I absolutely LOVE that he’s got a brokenness to him. It’s prefect. Eeeeeep!! <333 it so much

    So glad you loved you loved this book! And you're so welcome!!! Nator twins love to send books to their fellow nators. :D

    <3333 Inkinator

  4. Molli Moran

    Oooooh. ANY book that gets me emotionally involved is one I’m going to love, and will often overlook other flaws in because it makes me feel. Glad to hear this one did for you, Jessi!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  5. Ooooh I’m so glad you loved this one! Jenna and Rachel sound like they’re those characters that are despicable but in a good way because they’re supposed to make you feel that way. All of these characters sound phenomenally well done because of how much you’re gushing about the and the book in general! I want to read The Rules now just for Zane, Ariane, and this really intriguing premise.

    Fantastic review Jessi!

    • They were despicable in a good way! I actually love books that can make me feel outright hatred toward some characters because that means I’m emotionally invested! You reeeaaally need to read it :)

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