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The Rules for Disappearing (Rules Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted May 15, 2013

    The Rules of Disappearing by Ashley Elston is her first book in

    The Rules of Disappearing by Ashley Elston is her first book in this new YA series. I wasn’t sure this was a series or standalone, but after finishing it, now I am sure this will continue. This is a totally different YA book, and an outstanding one at that. I am totally impressed with Ashley Elston, and her wonderful writing. Imagine a YA book in modern world, no dystopian, no worldbuilding, no real teen angst, but with suspense, drama, somewhat of a thriller, a cute romance, and done so flawlessly.

    The Rules of Disappearing held my attention from start to finish, as I could not put the book down. The book begins with our heroine, choosing her new first name, Meg. Why you ask? She and her family are in the Witness Protection program, and once again for the 6th time, they are being relocated. Meg, and her family; her younger sister Mary (Teeny is her real nickname), her mother and her farther are being sent to a hick town in Louisiana. Before she goes, the Feds help Meg dye her, with new contact lens, new papers, and a write up of who they now are to study, before arriving to their new home.

    Meg is bitter, and hates this life. She left behind friends, and doesn’t understand what really happened to force them into this life. Her father and the ‘Suits’ (the Feds she nicknames), refuse to tell her anything. Her mother has become an alcoholic with this change in their lives. So Meg is determined not to get close to people in her new environment and only worry about Teeny, who is not handling the constant changes very well.

    When Meg begins to attend school, she tries to avoid people. But it is harder then she anticipated, as she finds herself liking Ethan. No matter what she does, he will not go away, and he also suspects she is not who she says she is. Ethan is our young hero in this book and he is just awesome. He is the perfect young man any parent would want for their daughter. Ethan is very independent, but so sweet, fun, caring, and very handsome. This was slow to build, due to Meg’s hesitation, but it was such a cute romance. You found yourself rooting for them both.

    Elston has created some great characters in this book, from Meg, Ethan, Mary (Teeny), Pearl, the high school friends or enemies, as well as some of the ‘Suits”, and her parents. Very well done.

    This is also a mystery, as the story unfolds, Meg will discover more then she bargained for, as there are so many twists along the way. Her determination to find out the truth, puts her life, and even that of Ethan in danger. With no spoilers, Meg wants her life back, her family back, and will let nothing stop her from finding the truth. The last third of the book, as revelations are made, is so exciting and enjoyable to read. Meg is an awesome heroine, strong, smart, street savvy, stubborn, and loyal.

    Each chapter begins with a quote from the rules of disappearing, which for the most part Meg ends up not following. This was a great read, exciting, interesting, and a story that does not let you stop reading. A wonderful debut for Ashley Elston, as I cannot wait for the sequel to this book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2013

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    I really, really, really, really liked this book. It had suspens

    I really, really, really, really liked this book. It had suspense, young love, conflict, friendship and a road trip! The character development was superb. I couldn't help but feel for Meg (Anna) and her sister and all they had been through. I was rooting for them to have normal lives from the beginning. And Ethan? Swoon. He was perfection. 

    The only place it fell a little short with me was the speed at which things were wrapped up. After all the lead up, it all ended way too quickly for my liking. It was also wrapped up a little too neatly. I did, however, like the surprise of the letter at the end and the way Anna reacted to it. That felt real. As though even though everyone thinks it's over, it just might not be. That moment gave me chills. 

    I look forward to more from this author. I really enjoyed her writing style.

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  • Posted May 31, 2013

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        Loved this premise, and The Rules for Disappearing definitel

        Loved this premise, and The Rules for Disappearing definitely delivered. It packed a lot of emotion that I wouldn't have necessarily expected. I connected with Meg, she was smart, and loyal to her family in a big way. I also loved her snark. She is by no means perfect because she has low self esteem at times (another reason I connected for her and cheered for her.)
        The moving around from being in the witness protection program has taken a huge stress on her family, and Meg had to step up in ways that no teenager ever should. Taking responsibility for her little sister like she did told me so much about her character. I loved them both and hurt for everything they saw with their mom, the fear that they lived in, and I melted a bit at how deep their love for each other is. 
        The way that the first couple pages set it up is that there would be a love triangle, and honestly, I hope that it wouldn't turn out that way. And luckily it ended up being a one man show, and I was so thankful for that. 
        I really liked Ethan, but was frustrated for Meg's benefit at how perceptive and intuitive he was. He is quirky, witty, and has such a kind heart. I loved the romance, that they bantered, flirted, and that although they were attracted to one another, things built more slowly. 
       The mystery was great. It kept me on my toes, and the things that I thought would happen had a twist to it and then went in a new direction. 
       Oh, and the chapter headings are cute and funny. 
       The story itself wraps up pretty well, but the epilogue definitely leaves room for many more questions and has me eager for the next book. 

    Bottom Line: Beautifully executed premise with an emotional punch. 

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  • Posted May 26, 2013

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    The Rules for Disappearing by author Ashley Elston was a fun rea

    The Rules for Disappearing by author Ashley Elston was a fun read that kept me wondering for the entire novel. The description sounded very interesting and by the time I began reading I found myself comparing it to mystery/thriller novels I read in the past. The Rules for Disappearing is a read that was stuffed with romance, mystery and drama. Do I hope for a sequel? Yes, yes I do.

    The Rules for Disappearing tells the story of main character “Megan Rose Jones” whose family is in the Witness Protection Program. Her sixth move has given her a new name, hair and eye color and a new life in Louisiana. Meg’s mother has become an alcoholic, her little sister “Mary” (Who Meg just likes to call Teeny) hasn’t acted like a kid since they entered the Witness Protection program and Meg has no idea why they were put into the Witness Protection Program in the first place, but she is intent on finding out.

    When Meg meets Ethan, a smart, funny and cute country boy—Meg knows that the only way to uncover what happened to put her family in the Suits’ protection is to find out herself. There are rules that Meg has put in place to keep her family safe from whoever is after them and another move. However all these rules seem to be broken as Meg and Ethan grow closer together. She knows that his being involved with her puts him in grave danger, but Ethan knows that Meg isn’t who she says she is and that she has a big secret. The two begin to search for the truth, but when they find it Meg becomes aware just how dangerous her family’s situation really is.

    I really liked the main character Meg. I really liked that there was a real mystery behind who she was before the Witness Protection Program and having to guess at who she really is/was. Apart from that, I also liked the way that Meg acted as an older sister. She looked out for her little sister and would do anything to keep Teeny safe. I admired that. As the novel progressed you also get to find out that Meg has repressed memories from her original life before the Suits and the Witness Protection Program that lead to uncovering the mystery of what happened to her family.

    I loved Ethan. He’s described as a cute and funny, but also dedicated to helping Meg. At first, he came off as a bit annoying but as circumstances push him and Meg closer together I started to fall in love with him. With Ethan also came Ethan’s sister who adds some high school conflict into the novel. Suddenly Meg is a target at her high school and this adds a ton of drama into the mystery/thriller mix that The Rules for Disappearing has. The cast of characters in The Rules for Disappearing are memorable and all add to each other.

    When we do find out the reason behind why Meg is in the Witness Protection Program the story dose develop a quick pace. Suddenly the Suits pose a threat, nobody can be trusted and Meg becomes paranoid. Before this, the story does have a bit of a slow pace, but it’s nothing that would make anybody irate. I personally found that it added to the mystery of the novel. After Meg’s discovery is made the novel turns into a total thriller and doesn’t lose pace at all. That ending too—I totally want more.

    The Rules for Disappearing is totally Stacy Kade’s Project Paper Doll novel meets Kate Brian’s Shadowlands. Fans of mystery will devour this read as will readers who are looking for a novel that has romance and thrills all in one book.

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  • Posted May 14, 2013

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    The Rules for Disappearing was one of our Waiting on Wednesday p

    The Rules for Disappearing was one of our Waiting on Wednesday picks, and I'm so glad it did not disappoint. The Rules for Disappearing was the perfect mystery for me. The main protagonist is in a witness protection program that her dad got her whole family into. She's been in six different places, and every place she's got a completely different identity. We actually don't find out the main protagonist's real name until the end, so for now I will be calling her with her last "fake" name, which is Meg. Meg is fed up with all the moving around, and she is now determined to find out why her family is in the witness protection program in the first place. Meg has also decided that she won't even try to fit in in her new school, because sooner or later they will be moving out again. There is one problem though, and that is Ethan. Ethan isn't allowing Meg's plan to go smoothly, and that's how the story develops and gets more interesting. If I was in Meg's place, I would definitely feel the same way as she does. I feel like Ashley Elston did a great job of portraying a girl who just wants to be worried about what clothes to wear, rather then keeping major secrets like her real name. Meg was an awesome character, and I really felt like I could relate to her. We also get introduced to Meg's younger sister, who is called Mary. What I really liked is how Ashley Elston had the sister play a major role in the book. I think that just made the book much more realistic, and more believable. It's always weird when authors forget to mention the families of the main protagonists, when family clearly plays a major role in every person's life. Ethan was a very interesting character to read about, but I kind of think that we didn't get to know that much about him. He was sweet, and was definitely interested into finding more about Meg and her secrets. The mystery picked up it's pace during halfway of the book, and I guess that's where the author added an unexpected twist to it. Overall, The Rules for Disappearing is a very interesting mystery book, and I totally recommend it to all those mystery fans out there! The ending is very open ended, and I guess you can say that the mystery might not have been completely solved? I guess that did annoy me a bit, but again, I think it added more to the "realistic" factor of the book. I'm definitely going to look out for more books by Ashley Elston, and I hope I enjoy her future work as much as I enjoyed this one!

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  • Posted May 13, 2013

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    Action, Suspense and Romance. I used to fantasize about being i

    Action, Suspense and Romance.

    I used to fantasize about being in the Witness Protection Program when I was a kid (I was a weird child, what can I say?) but that sense of adventure, being able to "be" someone else and the idea that your life would never be boring all appealed to me. However, fear, paranoia and the fact that I'd have to cut my hair and wear hideous clothes never played into my fantasy because really, where's the fun in that?

    What I liked: This is one of those books that pleasantly surprised me. It's well written, humorous with fast-paced action right from the start and the mystery and suspense of not knowing who Meg can really trust kept me on my toes. Did I mention the kissing, because you can never go wrong with kissing, even when you're in the midst of running for your life.

    Despite the chaos of their lives, Meg and her family are tight-knit albeit extremely dysfunctional. Meg has to be guarded and often times she's a tough character to like but if she was written any other way she wouldn't feel genuine. Ethan is an enjoyable blend of strength, compassion and wit and don't even get me started on that dimple of his. The rest of the supporting characters were complex and interesting and the ending while not necessarily shocking, did leave me wanting to know what happens next.

    What left me wanting: When I picked this up, I wasn't aware that it was the first book in a trilogy or a series and I'm looking forward to finding out more about Ethan's story which was eluded too but not fully explained in this book.

    Final verdict: Fans of Alias, Altered, Also Known As and Pivot Point will enjoy this!

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    Posted January 26, 2014

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    Posted March 12, 2014

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