Book Review: “The Rules of You and Me” by Shana Norris

Hannah Cohen has always lived her life by a set of carefully constructed rules to maintain the image of perfection. But now, the rules aren’t helping control the chaos that is quickly taking over. Opting out of spending the summer in Paris with her mom, Hannah instead heads to the mountains of North Carolina to stay with her aunt. The Blue Ridge Mountains provide a barrier between Hannah and the rest of the world, a safe haven where her secrets can be forgotten. When Hannah crosses paths with Jude Westmore, a guy who hangs a different shirt from the tree in his front yard every day, she finds herself breaking out of the comfort of her rules and doing things she had never dared before. As the summer passes, Hannah and Jude grow closer and make up their own rules for dealing with life. But when the secret Hannah has tried to forget is finally revealed, even the new rules can’t save her from possibly losing everything–including Jude. (summary provided by publisher)

 

I just knew this book would be good ,not by how attractive the cover looked, but because of the unusual and unique story line; A seventeen year old girl who uses a bunch of rules she’s constructed from all the things her parents had taught her to deal with the challenges life brings. I was really interested to see how this story would develop and eventually end. And I was not disappointed.

When Hannah’s world practically imploded, I held on to every word of this novel to see how exactly she, her family and friends would recover from the incidents that took place. I loved the fact that when things fell apart, she discarded the rules and relied on her Aunt Lydia, newly-found friends and even past friendships to help her recover. However, throughout some parts of the book, the actions of the characters were pretty predictable. I knew for a fact that when the truth came to light, Jude wouldn’t have totally left Hannah in the open. It did shock me at first when he wasn’t on her side but I couldn’t blame him. He had every right to be fuming mad at Hannah. Yet, I knew he wouldn’t keep up his malice for long since he and Hannah had been close ever since she decided to spend her vacation with her aunt. When Jude tries to get Hannah to climb to the top of Chimney Rock to see the view and shout out her frustration, she’s hesitant each time they approach the nature-manufactured steps. Yet, as she makes progress every time they come across Chimney Rock, you kind of figure that she eventually making it to the top would be apart of the story’s climax.

Needless to say, I loved every character in this novel. It reminded me of the whole reason I read books; to witness crazy experiences that life sometimes brings to the table, to come to a better understanding of these experiences and how people handle them, and to simply forget my worries and relax.

Out of all the characters though, I especially liked Hannah. From the time I met her, I was like “wow, she’s kind of like me” in the way that she’s always striving to be this perfect person. I enjoyed watching the character develop from the teen who would live and die by these constructed rules to a simple teenage girl looking to find who she was and finally to the girl who figured that she didn’t need all the answers now but knew she’d find them out along the way. The way she chose and not her parents.

I also, along with Hannah, fell in love with Jude’s charming character. When I first came across Jude, he’s this generous, gorgeous and tire-fixing individual who seems to be harboring more than he’s willing to let on. Then when circumstances bring Hannah and Jude closer together, I get to see a vulnerable side of Jude that I wouldn’t have guessed he even had. Yet, throughout the story, his character also develops from this anti-social person to a guy who is lonely since the death of his brother and frustrated with his family’s situation to finally, a guy who realizes that he can’t put his life on pause because his brother’s will never resume again.

What also stood out to me, other than the characters, was the narration of the whole novel. At first, I questioned why the narration was so formal like the story was being told to you instead of hearing the protagonist’s thoughts as done in other stories. Then, when the story gained momentum, I realized that the writer was indeed using the protagonist’s thoughts to narrate the story. Hannah was this uptight individual so ofcourse her point of view would appear formal at first. As the story progressed, a change in the narration was clear. The once formal and uptight narration changed into a more relaxed and inquisitive tone of voice as Hannah figured out just who she was. A very clever style of writing.

In all, The Rules of You and Me is a book that speaks to all types of readers and doesn’t sell itself short of a possible best-seller. It is definitely worth a second read.

Rating: 9/10

Book Info:

Publisher: Fiction Addiction (June 24, 2013)
Series: N/A
Source: ARC (Provided by publisher)
Genre: Romance
Completed: June 2013

 

Leigh-Ann Brodber is an upcoming enthusiastic journalist. She knows it is a field that is already heavily flooded by diverse opinions, hard criticism and occasional appraisal (when it’s due), but she’s sure she’ll be able to add her own colors to the journalism rainbow soon enough. Leigh-Ann currently attends COSTAATT, a college located in the Caribbean, where she’s pursuing her Bachelors in Mass Communication. She’s written film, stage production and food articles for various websites, and she’s also a born and bred animal rights activist, although she doesn’t think she’ll ever give up her rights to eat chicken. She has helped out at her local hospital many-a-time by indulging in weekly chit-chat with patients under a program called Candy Stripers. She recently started getting help for her long term Facebook addiction, she swears.
  • http://inthehammockblog.blogspot.com In the hammock

    this looks great! sounds like some good characters!