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Rules for Hearts

Rules for Hearts

4.4 7
by Sara Ryan

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Battle Hall Davies is sure of some things: She's going to Reed this fall; she loves girls; and her older brother, Nick, outshines her. He ran away four and a half years ago; now he's tracked her down, and she's spending the summer at Forest House, where he lives in Portland. It is a summer of surprises. Battle is swept into Forest House's community Shakespeare


Battle Hall Davies is sure of some things: She's going to Reed this fall; she loves girls; and her older brother, Nick, outshines her. He ran away four and a half years ago; now he's tracked her down, and she's spending the summer at Forest House, where he lives in Portland. It is a summer of surprises. Battle is swept into Forest House's community Shakespeare production, their all-night card games, and the arms of her new housemate, Meryl. As the weeks pass, Battle realizes that Nick isn't who she thought he was - and she isn't who she thought she was, either.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Lynn Evarts
Battle Hall Davies of Empress of the World (Viking, 2001/VOYA August 2001) is back, moving from the summer-camp world to the realm of community theater before her freshman year at college in Portland, Oregon. Battle has left behind Nic, her first love, for her wayward brother, Nick, who ran away from home when she was thirteen. Their parents still believe that he is in New York City, but he has fashioned a life for himself in Forest House, with a hodgepodge of people whose common interest is acting. As Battle struggles to create a relationship with her brother, she also feels a sense of attraction to Meryl, a resident of the house. While the house members move toward their production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Battle learns that in real life people have many personalities, just as the Athenian youth of the play. In this long-awaited continuation, readers learn more of Battle's story after her relationship with Nic at summer camp. Unfortunately the story lines do not develop completely in this book. Nick steals whatever he is able to, including food from others on their camping trip and the utility money for Forest House. Meryl, Battle's newest interest, is undecided about what she is looking for in a relationship. Battle's character is a bit more fleshed out here, but the reader never really feels connected to anyone else in this story. Readers might also be disappointed by the convenient endings of both the brother and the love-interest plots. Although this book will find an audience with readers who connected to the first book, those particularly excited to learn what happens next to Battle might be frustrated.
Diana Costello
Battle Davies is headed to college. She has talked her parents into letting her go for the summer to get familiar with the area before classes start. What she doesn't tell them is that she will be living with the brother who ran away from home years earlier. Like most teenagers, Battle has a lot to learn. Her brother has changed from the guy always willing to let her tag along to a man who rarely puts the needs of others above his own. Battle is exploring her creative side and sexual tendencies. Between her part in A Midsummer Night's Dream and the daily drama of her roommates, Battle has to determine her role in her own life. The Rules for Hearts is an interesting look at coming of age. Reviewer: Diana Costello
Kirkus Reviews
It's hard to believe that Battle Davies is a fictional character. Ironically enough, that's not exactly a good thing. The first-person narrative of the summer before she begins college reads more like a memoir than a novel. The plot is episodic, relationships are realistically random and confusing and many characters' motivations are murky. Battle's brother Nick ran away from home at 17. Now she's staying in the communal house where he lives. The story meanders along as Battle develops a crush on a housemate, joins a theater troupe and tries to rebuild her relationship with her adored older brother. Unfortunately, Nick turns out to be decidedly unworthy of her devotion. Battle's clear-eyed assessment of him as he finally heads home, bailed out by their parents, bodes well for her growing maturity but may leave readers feeling disappointed and disillusioned. Still, fans of Empress of the World (2001) will welcome the chance to follow up with a familiar character, while those who first meet Battle here may be sufficiently intrigued to turn to Ryan's earlier work to learn more about her. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
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Penguin Group
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File size:
203 KB
Age Range:
14 Years

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Read an Excerpt

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page



ACT I - Are You Lost?

ACT II - Some Very Interesting Choices

ACT III - It ’s a Trick-Taking Game

ACT IV - Yeah, He’s a Runner

ACT V - I Got Lucky




The Rules for Hearts
Me and Edith Head (with Steve Lieber)
Empress of the World

Author’s note: Some places that I’ve written about in this book are real, though I’ve changed details and added elements to suit my story. But Forest House and all its inhabitants are fictional.





Published by Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P
2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
(a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a
division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
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New Delhi-110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), Cnr Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany, Auckland 1310, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published in 2007 by Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.



Copyright © Sara Ryan, 2007

All rights reserved


Lyrics quoted on page 122 are from “Palmcorder Yajna” by the Mountain Goats, C & P Cadmean Dawn [ASCAP], rights administered by Pacific Electric and used with permission of the artist.


eISBN : 978-1-101-01486-8

for U. C., with love


BATTLE HALL DAVIES, 18-year-old high school graduate, accepted to Reed College


NICHOLAS DAVIES, 22, Battle’s older brother, a cab driver, resident of Forest House


MERYL DAVENPORT, 22, swimming instructor, resident of Forest House


AURORA KNEEDLER, 46, owner of Forest House and artistic director of Theater Borealis


ROBERT CRACKNELL, 50, resident of Forest House, set designer and builder, Aurora’s partner


CHARLES FAHEY, 27, gardener, bike messenger, designer, resident of Forest House


HENRY O’BRIAN, 55, donor to and actor in Theater Borealis


DAMIAN J. WOLF, 28, actor in Theater Borealis


A NNALISA TANNAHILL, 34, actor in Theater Borealis


ELLERY TANNAHILL-LIPPMAN, 11, Annalisa’s daughter, actor in Theater Borealis


THE MINIONS, assorted genders, ages, Robert’s helpers in the Theater Borealis scene shop


LUCKY, 3, a dog


Church basement, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, almost five years ago

Meet the Author

Sara Ryan lives in Portland, Oregon. This is her first novel.

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Rules for Hearts 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Rule for the Hearts was written by Sara Ryan in an emotional story setting in Portland, Oregon. Young battle is moving away from home leaving her parents and her relationship back home. Little do her parents know there daughter is being sneaky and mischievous to move in with her brother that ran away from home a few years ago. The theme of this story is this young battle all she wants 2 to do is reunite with her brother have him reunite with his parents. The conflict this story is battle falls in love with merlye and they ended up fooled around and merlye keep saying you know back there that was accident I didn't mean for that to happen and it keep hurting battle, so they house ended up busting up and ended up moving out the group went their own way. This book was a completely awesome book I loved it explains about what can happen. In a relationship and how hard and hurtful it can be even when you don't mean to hurt the other person.
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