- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
KLIATTChild abuse, and the courage of children trying to protect one another and survive: these are the themes of The Rules of Survival. The novel is about three children; the older two are teenagers. The narrator is the oldest, Matthew, who has spent most of his life trying to protect himself and his younger sisters from their mother Nikki. Nikki is attractive, smart, and hopelessly manipulative and cruel. She is capable of showing a rational side to others. Even her sister, who lives in the apartment below them, knows the depth of her cruelty but wants to believe she is a capable parent. Nikki seduces a man named Murdoch, and the children are relieved because they trust him to protect them from their mother. But when Nikki reveals her sadism, instead of protecting the children, Murdoch walks away. Matthew is dumbfounded, but can't give up. He devises a plan, pleading to his father and to his aunt for their protection from Nikki. Still, nothing is simple, nothing easy. There is a crisis; Murdoch intervenes and we understand more about who he is and what his strengths and weaknesses are. Werlin won the Edgar Award for her YA novel The Killer's Cousin. She creates a suspenseful plot while developing characters who are movingly realistic. Matthew is a hero we can all appreciate. An excellent mystery; with heartbreaking descriptions of child abuse, both physical and psychological. KLIATT Codes: JS*--Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2006, Penguin, Dial, 260p., $16.99.. Ages 12 to 18.