Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin
|Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin
|Reviewer: Robert James
|Summary: Teen fiction by the numbers, this is about as bland as it gets. Not recommended.
|Date: May 2013
|External links: Author's website
Rory wanted to get away from her mother, even if it means working as an errand girl for the wealthy Rule family. Isabel Rule just wanted a summer romance with a hot guy. I wanted a fun read with engaging characters. Guess which of the three of us was disappointed?
I usually try and leave it a day or two between finishing a book and writing a review to give me time to gather my thoughts on it. Sometimes, I jot down particular bits I want to reference when I first finish, but this is the first time I've written a review within half an hour of getting to the last page – for the simple reason I'm not one hundred per cent sure that I'll actually remember it by the time I wake up tomorrow morning.
That's not to say it's especially bad (which to be honest would make it more likely to stick in my mind), just that it's incredibly, staggeringly, nearly unbelievably bland. Between the one-dimensional characters, the plot I seem to have read hundreds of times before, and the generic 'rich people's playground' location of the Hamptons, reading this one just felt like a completely pointless thing to do. I started every chapter wondering if this would be the one where something interesting and worth reading about happened and was repeatedly disappointed.
Teen fiction of recent years includes, in my mind at least, some of the greatest books ever written for young adults. Books that can move people, like Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson or The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. Books that hit you like a punch to the gut, like Bruised by Sarah Skilton, or Before I Die by Jenny Downham.
That's not to say that every book written needs to aspire to that – it doesn't. Sometimes, a light read can be perfect as well. I'm thinking about The Anti-Prom by Abby McDonald, or Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, amongst dozens of others. But there has to be something there to make it stand out, and this just doesn't have anything. If you want a light teen tale of forbidden love, check out Cecily Von Ziegesar's Gossip Girl series or Flawless: Pretty Little Liars 2 by Sara Shepard, which may not be without their faults but are at least both written with an engaging enough style that they're ten times better than this is.
To say it's a bad book would be going too far, it's just never more than adequate. And with the number of wonderful novels out there, who has the time to waste reading something that's adequate as best?"
You can read more book reviews or buy Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin at Amazon.com.
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