The Rules for Disappearing (Rules Series #1)

( 23 )

Overview

She's been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she's been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they've given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he ...

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Overview

She's been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she's been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they've given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do-or see-that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all of the Suits' rules-and her dad's silence. If he won't help, it's time she got some answers for herself.

But Meg isn't counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who's too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there's only one rule that really matters-survival.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Seventeen-year-old Meg Jones (not her real name) and her family are in the witness protection program, and they’ve changed towns six times in less than a year, each move bleaker and more debilitating than the last. Meg’s mother is an alcoholic, her father is depressed and secretive, and her 11-year-old sister is having trouble coping with all of the change. Fed up, Meg wants out of the program and will do anything to save her family, including digging up what her father did to get them into this mess. After ignoring her instincts and letting a cute Louisiana farm boy into her life, Meg becomes even more resolved to stay put. Surprises aplenty await readers in this high-stakes thriller, Elston’s debut. After Meg discovers the real reason her family went into hiding (which some readers may find disappointing after all of the buildup), her efforts to set things right strain credibility. For those drawn in by the story’s action and mysteries, Elston leaves the door open for a sequel. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency. (May)
Children's Literature - Bonita Herold
With each move Meg's nightmares get worse and her eleven-year-old sister becomes increasingly dependent on her and her parents. With each move, not only do they shed their names but they shed their entire identities as well; in doing so, they lose a little bit of their original selves each time. Because seventeen-year-old Meg has been hurt once too often by sudden moves, she plans to remain friendless in this latest move to Louisiana. But that is really hard to do when Ethan Landry, an adorable farm boy, charms her with his good looks and his overall niceness. She has to ignore him; doesn't she? Or can she figure out the mystery and remain in Louisiana forever? Just what did her father do to put them in Witness Protection? She needs answers, but no one will tell her—not the Suits, not her increasingly alcohol-dependent mother, and certainly not her father. And what do Meg's ongoing nightmares have to do with anything? Elston's page-turning mystery will leave teenage readers demanding more. Reviewer: Bonita Herold
VOYA - Sarah Phillips
Anna Boyd is an inspiring character. She portrays the difficult life of moving around a lot. Readers who move and have relationship issues will feel connected to Anna. The ending is abrupt, however; one moment the characters are running for their lives, and the next they are told the killer is dead. Overall, the book is very touching, leaving readers with the message that life can change at any moment. Reviewer: Sarah Phillips, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Deborah Wenk
Anna's family is in the witness protection program, and they have relocated numerous times, taking on new names at every location. The latest move to Louisiana even involved changes in hair color and styles, as well as colored contacts for Anna. Her family is falling apart—her mom drinks heavily, her dad makes secretive phone calls, and her little sister withdraws further with each relocation. Previous relocations have been the result of her missteps, so Anna knows she needs to steer clear of relationships to avoid awkward questions or worse. She did not, however, count on Ethan—cute, persistent, and in the end, trustworthy Ethan. When events come to a head, Ethan is the only one Anna can trust. Elston has crafted a gripping tale that immediately captures the reader's attention. Anna is a typical teenager thrust into a most atypical situation. The pacing of the story hits just the right mark, slowly building the tension as the story progresses. Just when everything seems to be wrapping up neatly—BAM! —the author throws the reader for a loop. Several loose threads are left hanging, suggesting the possibility of a sequel. This will appeal to a wide range of readers—chick-lit fans will appreciate the lovely romance, and adventure readers will be drawn to the suspense and action. This is a solid selection for young adult libraries. Reviewer: Deborah Wenk
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Meg Jones and her family have been under Witness Protection for eight months and have been relocated six times. Any day it might happen again: U.S. Marshals will arrive with no warning to shut down their lives and transfer them. The family will be given new personal histories to memorize, new names, and new appearances. They must never make a mistake. They must always stay in character. It's no wonder that Meg has nightmares, her little sister barely speaks, and her mom drinks. As for Mr. Jones, Meg blames him for all of it. Whatever he's done or seen to land them in this predicament has destroyed the family forever. The novel's first half is tense and captivating, as the Joneses adapt to a new home in rural Louisiana. The characters struggle under severe uncertainty and dysfunction. Their new home is dreary, they have very little money, and every bump in the night could mean trouble. Some rules of Meg's new life: Don't make friends, don't trust anybody, don't use the Internet. Again and again, she tries to discover who is after them and what happened last June, but her father won't discuss it. Elston then breaks the tension when Meg falls in love, confronts a repressed memory, and hits the road with her new boyfriend to free her family for good. From there, the plot loses emotional resonance and becomes implausible, but readers will likely enjoy the action. Everything works out in the end, of course, but a single unfinished story line suggests a forthcoming sequel.—Denise Ryan, Middlesex Middle School, Darien, CT
Kirkus Reviews
Who's never wondered what it would be like to enter witness protection and assume a new identity? Meg Jones, her younger sister Mary and their parents have run through six witness protection placements. Each time, something goes awry, and they are swept right out of their old lives and right into new ones, with new names, new looks, new challenges--and the same old feeling that something just isn't quite right. The latest stop is Natchitoches, La., a warm, colorful place with quite a few perks, including a job at a local pizza joint and a handsome boy named Ethan. Smitten, Meg decides to do whatever it takes to stay put, and that means finding out what her father witnessed, or perhaps what crime he committed, to warrant the family's entry into the strange world of witness protection. Once she's on the trail of the truth, Meg feels compelled to make things right for her beleaguered family, even if it means placing herself and her devoted new beau in grave danger. The fresh first-person narration serves the story well, providing grounding in reality as events spin out of control. Though the plot may seem a bit far-fetched at times, the realistic setting, believable romance and spunky protagonist will make this one worth the trip for mystery and romance fans. (Suspense. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423168973
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 5/14/2013
  • Series: Rules Series , #1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 317,894
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ashley Elston

Ashley Elston (www.ashleyelston.com) is the daughter of an attorney and grew up surrounded by talk of court cases, crazy clients, and the law in general all of which triggered the ideas in THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING. She has a Liberal Arts degree from Louisiana State University and lives in Shreveport, Louisiana with her husband and three young sons.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

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(15)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 17, 2013

    The Rules for Disappearing is probably one of my favorite contem

    The Rules for Disappearing is probably one of my favorite contemporaries that I've read. While I am not usually drawn to the genre, I chose to read and review this novel because the author, Ashley Elston, is from my area. I read the book well before it's time on my reading schedule because I was a bit curious about the writing style, and I like glancing at the first page when I'm scheduling myself a certain amount of reading time. The next day, I had finished the book.

    I guess I should tell you a little about the book itself. I want to call The Rules for Disappearing a light read because I breezed through it, though it's not necessarily light subject matter. Bad guys being out to get you and ending up in the Witness Protection Program isn't exactly a walk in the park. Poor Meg has to deal with constant upheaval, a loss of her former life, being deterred from making any new connections, a closed off day, a breaking down sister, and an alcoholic mom. However, it was easy for me to connect with her because she still goes through many things that teenagers deal with, Witness Protection or not. Meg feels like she's an outcast with ugly clothes, betrayed by her friends, and responsible for sticking her nose precisely where it doesn't belong. I think we've all been there. I felt like a lot of what Meg went through was metaphors for those (and other) teen struggles.

    I really liked most of the characters, which helped move the story along. Meg was tired of her situation, and I love that she decided to do something about it. The mom in me was screaming at her because it was a terrible idea, but still. You have to love a YA heroine that doesn't just lie down and accept what's happened to her or wait on Prince Charming to rescue her. She also loves her family despite their flaws, real or imagined, and is very protective of her little sister, Teeny. Ethan, the love interest, stole my heart. He didn't give up on Meg no matter how many times she pushed him away, and he was always there for her, no questions asked. I even liked Meg's parents - Dad really did have their best interests at heart and Mom was trying, dammit.

    I don't want to give too much of the story away because it really is a fun read. I was never exactly surprised by the events in the book, but I didn't grow bored with them. There was just enough suspense to keep me interested, but not so much tension that it made me skip ahead in the book. (Yes, I am guilty of that.) There is some romance involved in the book, but if that isn't your thing, rest assured that it does not overwhelm the story's plot.

    All in all, I think The Rules for Disappearing will be enjoyed by most YA readers, especially teens. It's a great mystery with realistic characters and is a fun and easy read.

    4.5/5 Stars

    *To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for reviewing purposes as a part of Itching for Books Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review. The advance digital copy was provided to the tour by the publisher, which has in no way affected the outcome. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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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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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    Best book ever!

    This was the best book i ever read. It took me 3 days to read it. I cant wait until the rules for breaking comes out!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2013

    This book grabs your attention and keeps you going at every turn

    This book grabs your attention and keeps you going at every turn.  All my students were reading this book so I had to see what the fuss was about and I'm glad I did.  I can't wait to see what the author has in store for us!  Get this book!  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2014

    The rules for dissappearing

    It is a great book to read. You guys should read it sometipme. It really grabs your attention . I really like to own this book but i really dont know how much it costs to buy it. It certainly grabbed my attention in the middle of the book. I think this is my favorite book of all time. I would certainly read it if i had nothing to do.

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  • Posted July 11, 2014

    Really interesting. I would love it to be made into a movie.

    Really interesting. I would love it to be made into a movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2014

    Loved

    Great storyline. I could hardly put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2014

    Awesome book!

    Meg Jones is tird of witness protection- and she wants to get to the bottom of why they got there. Her plan is no ( boy) freinds, so she wont end up in some other sucky placement, but with Ethen theres no way she cant help falling 4 him, and dragging him into this mess.

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  • Posted July 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    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 June 11, 2013

    Let me start by saying how much I adored this book! Leila Howlan

    Let me start by saying how much I adored this book! Leila Howland has written a brilliant work here… It was such a different book from most things I have written and I couldn’t put it down until the very end, yep, that AWESOME!




    Meg is so tired of running, and she just wishes that she knew what she was running from. And then when she ends up in this town and meets Ethan.  Oh, Ethan. Yeah, he is so going up on my board of boy book heroes! He just won’t leave Meg alone, he keeps at Meg and keeps trying until he finds a crack, and well, I won’t tell you anymore, cause that might spoil the story, but, let me tell you, I don’t know many young men that would stand up and do what he did!




    Oh, and I can’t do this review with out talking about Teeny, Meg’s younger sister. In this town she goes by Mary. Teeny is Meg’s whole reason for going on when things around her seem to be crumbling.  Meg’s dad is acting weird, her mom is turning into an alcoholic, and Meg is starting to feel paranoid and spending a lot of time looking over her should, and with some good reason… things are starting to become clearer to her over time.




    When  they first moved into town, Meg set up a plan, not to get involved with anyone or anything, and that seems to be crumbling.  But now she’s worried that she is going to get someone hurt.




    This was an AMAZING debut novel by Leila Howland and I loved it (did I mention how much I liked this one yet?) I so couldn’t put it down and had to read to the end to find out what happened!

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  • Posted May 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

        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

    more from this reviewer

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    Great!

    This is a great book. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and keeps you wanting to read. I read the book in two days. I couldn't put it down!

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  • Posted May 14, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    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

    more from this reviewer

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2013

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    Posted March 12, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

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