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Review: The Rules by Stacey Kade

Submitted by on May 21, 2013 – 12:26 pmOne Comment

Author: Stacey Kade
Title: The Rules
Release: April 2013
Series: Project Paper Doll #1
Reviewer: Mona Leigh
Source: Publisher/NetGalley

Purchase: | Book Depository

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…

Stacey Kade has done it again. After reading her Ghost and Goth series, I was curious to see what she’d write next, so when I got my grubby little hands on an ARC of her new book, I jumped right in. Let me just say that if you liked her last series, you’ll love this one.

Her new offering is part sci-fi, part young adult romance, and all consuming. She’s taken the modern UFO mystery surrounding Roswell, New Mexico and used it as the basis for her main character, Ariane, a part alien, part human laboratory experiment. Rather than making Ariane freaky, Kade walked a fine line by adding enough humanity to balance out the alien traits, thereby giving us a sympathetic character who struggles daily to conform to human standards.

The Rules are the guidelines her pretend father gives her in order to blend in after he helps her escape from the GTX lab. The rules are: 1) Never trust anyone; 2) Remember they are always searching; 3) Don’t get involved; 4) Keep you head down; and 5) Don’t fall in love. All of them are important and she reminds herself of them daily.

When her best friend Jenna is humiliated by Rachel Jacobs, the most popular girl in school, Ariane has a hard time letting things slide. But she has to, because Rachel’s grandfather runs the laboratory where Ariane was created. Anything she does to Rachel could draw his attention to her, and she never wants to return to the concrete cubicle where she was subjected to gruesome experiments. But it’s not easy to ignore Rachel.

Every time she tries to protect Jenna, strange things happen – such as the lights explode or everything begins to shake – until she’s afraid GTX will notice. Yet, it appears Jenna doesn’t want her protection, because she seems to think Rachel’s being men because she’s friends with Ariane.

One of Rachel’s friends, Zane Bradshaw, gets pulled into the conflict when Rachel insists that he make Ariane fall for him. At first, he resists, but later decides to turn Rachel’s prank against her. He convinces Ariane to go along and she does even though she risks exposing herself. But to her way of thinking, Rachel has gotten away with murder long enough, and it’s time someone put a stop to it.

Zane didn’t plan on falling for Ariane, but sometimes things just happen. He’s noticed for some time that she isn’t quite like everyone else. She does her homework in ink, for goodness sake. And she always misses two questions. And he thinks she wears contacts that make her eyes a murky shade of blue. And then there’s the matter of four broken fingers she had last year. He’s pretty sure someone’s abusing her; he just doesn’t know whom.

Together, Zane and Ariane plot Rachel’s downfall. Who knew it would also lead instead to Ariane’s downfall? Or that she would be betrayed by the last person she expected? Once he learns the truth, does Zane stick by her or does he let fear make his decisions for him? How does Rachel figure into Ariane’s future? And Rule #1. Does it mean everyone?

Like I said earlier, Stacey Kade walked a very fine line writing this book, but she managed to make Ariane just human enough without losing the alien-ness she needed to pull it all together. I was fascinated by the descriptions of her – tiny things that would have eluded a lot of writers. Each page brought new danger that kept me on the edge of my seat, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book.

Mona's first grade teacher, Mrs. Stanford, gifted her with the love of reading. For that, she'll always live in her heart. But reading took over Mona's life, eclipsing everything but playing sports, and has continued to be a huge part of her life. Although she has always written poetry and stories for her self, last year she decided to try her hand at writing fiction. She is currently editing her first urban fantasy and hopes to have it ready for the agent by summer's end. Besides reading, Mona loves speed in the form of fast cars. The faster, the better! In her next life, she plans to drive race cars (or whatever happens to be their replacement in the future) all while reading and writing. She has also taken up rune reading, and find it to be disturbingly accurate and exciting.
Doll Mona Leigh

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