Alison Rules

Alison Rules

4.1 32
by Catherine Clark
     
 

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What is It About Alison?

For one thing, she has rules:

  • When stealing a rowboat, ALWAYS check that the oars are the same length, so you don't go in circles.
  • In reference to your best friend's crush, KEEP your feelings to yourself.
  • NEVER use your locker if that's where you werestanding when told the very worst news of all.

But rules —

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Overview

What is It About Alison?

For one thing, she has rules:

  • When stealing a rowboat, ALWAYS check that the oars are the same length, so you don't go in circles.
  • In reference to your best friend's crush, KEEP your feelings to yourself.
  • NEVER use your locker if that's where you werestanding when told the very worst news of all.

But rules — like hearts — are meant to be broken.

From Catherine Clark, author of Frozen Rodeo, comes a profound story of friendship, love, and loss.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
High school sophomore Alison is withdrawing: she broke up with her senior football quarterback boyfriend and avoids hanging out with her dad and younger brother. "The strength here lies in Clark's ability to create a very real world through vivid details," wrote PW. Ages 14-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Alison Keany is an emotionally-fragile high-school sophomore dealing with a tragedy she refuses to talk about or acknowledge. She copes with her life by living by certain sets of rules her best friend Laurie calls "Alison Rules:" she never gets emotionally involved with anyone, she never uses the locker at school where she learned of the tragedy, and she avoids anything that reminds her of when she used to be happy. Alison and Laurie become fast friends with a new boy at school named Patrick Kirk, and their friendship is tested when both girls develop a crush on the new boy. Eventually the combination of Alison's refusal to face her recent past and the conflict the girls have over liking the same boy leads to a greater tragedy that forces Alison to begin to come to terms with her emotions, her family, and the way she interacts with others. The author of this book offers an interesting twist on the predictable boy-comes-between-friends premise, and the overwhelming sadness that permeates every aspect of Alison's perspective throughout much of the book is especially effectively drawn. The plot twist at the end that is the catalyst for Alison's healing, however, seems a bit over the top and the idea that this second tragedy would spark Alison's emotional recovery seems a little hard to buy. However, middle schoolers and young teens will enjoy this well-written look at high school life, and the twist at the end saves it from a predictable happy ending. 2004, HarperTempest/HarperCollins, Ages 12 up.
—Lauri Berkenkamp
KLIATT
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, July 2004: Alison meets the clever, wisecracking new boy named Patrick in geometry class, and they become friends when he joins the staff of the high school newspaper for which she is a reporter—not that there is much news in Birch Falls, a tiny town in Western Massachusetts, where there isn't a lot to do beyond bowling and hanging out by the river. Alison, her best friend Laurie, and Patrick start to spend all their time together, and even pull off a great prank at the newspaper. However, when Patrick makes it clear that he would like Alison to be more than a friend, she rejects him, afraid of shaking up her small, controlled world. Alison is afraid of many things, particularly feeling strong emotions, ever since her mother died of cancer a year ago. In retaliation for being rejected, Patrick starts going out with Laurie, which wounds Alison deeply. Fearless, funny Laurie has always been there for Alison, but the relationship with Patrick causes a rift between the two friends. Then Laurie has a tragic accident. In the end, Alison is finally able to express her grief over her losses, and to connect with her feelings and with Patrick. Alison's pain and grief are sensitively depicted, and the emotions stirred up by the romantic triangle are equally credible. Clark, the author of the funny and appealing YA novels Truth or Dairy, Frozen Rodeo, and Maine Squeeze, offers a darker tale here, but it still features her trademark sense of humor, terrific dialog, and memorable characters. KLIATT Codes: S—Recommended for senior high school students. 2004, HarperTempest, 264p., Ages 15 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-High school sophomore Alison makes plenty of "rules" for herself-don't get involved, especially with cute new classmate Patrick; don't go to Boston ever again; don't laugh too loudly or have too much fun. Her friend Laurie tries to bring her out of her shell, but to no avail. Most readers will quickly guess that something terrible has happened to Alison's mother, though they don't find out that she died from breast cancer until the last third of the book. Although it has a few funny moments, this novel is much more serious than the author's Truth or Dairy (2000) and Frozen Rodeo (2003, both HarperCollins). It is a moving story, especially when Alison's repressed emotions do explode, but some readers may find the buildup to that release excessively long. A love triangle involving Alison, Laurie, and Patrick adds interest, however, and a tragedy that occurs in the last few chapters is shocking, unexpected, and heartbreaking. Teens looking for books about daughters grieving their mothers might prefer Karin Cook's What Girls Learn (Pantheon, 1997) or Joan Abelove's Saying It Out Loud (Puffin, 2001), but this is also a solid choice.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060559823
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
07/26/2005
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.12(h) x 0.54(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

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