January 2, 2014

Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin

Title: Rules of Summer (Rules of Summer #1)
Author: Joanna Philbin
Publisher: Poppy
Publish Date: June 4, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3/5 Stars

There are two sides to every summer. 
When seventeen-year-old Rory McShane steps off the bus in East Hampton, it's as if she's entered another universe, one populated by impossibly beautiful people wearing pressed khakis and driving expensive cars. She's signed on to be a summer errand girl for the Rules -- a wealthy family with an enormous beachfront mansion. Upon arrival, she's warned by other staff members to avoid socializing with the family, but Rory soon learns that may be easier said than done. 
Stifled by her friends and her family's country club scene, seventeen-year-old Isabel Rule, the youngest of the family, embarks on a breathless romance with a guy whom her parents would never approve of. It's the summer for taking chances, and Isabel is bringing Rory along for the ride. But will Rory's own summer romance jeopardize her friendship with Isabel? And, after long-hidden family secrets surface, will the Rules' picture-perfect world ever be the same?

Okay, so I know this is a summer book, but I got it for Christmas and was so excited I just had to read it. I actually wasn't disappointed - only slightly. But, as per usual, I'd really like to talk about the things I enjoyed first.

The book started off really nicely. It didn't completely toss us into the action, but we were definitely not bored. Seventeen-year-old Rory McShane is off to spend the summer doing odd jobs for the Rules, a wealthy family that her aunt works for. She can't wait. Her mother won't be around to tell her what to do along with her obnoxious array of boyfriends. But Rory soon realizes that the Rules weren't the people she thought they were. Even Isabel, one of the daughters in the family, isn't as bad as she first thought. Soon she is thrown completely into their world.

I loved how realistic this book was, considering the circumstances. I don't know what it is, but lately I seem to be reading a lot of books that deal with class differences and the rich and poor. It's sort of odd, but anyway...I liked how the author made the Rules seem nice on the outside but there were hidden family issues underneath the sugarcoated surface. 

The writing was excellent and there were little comments that Rory slipped in that were completely relatable. I also liked the way it was told from both Rory and Isabel's perspectives. I actually found myself liking Isabel's perspective more, even though she was really mean and annoying in the beginning. I really liked how she changed over the course of the story, and the fact that it was a realistic, plausible change. It was also gradual, which is something you don't always get to see but should.

The relationships in this book were more along the lines of "meh." I actually didn't mind what went on between Isabel and Mike because it showed her what real life is like, and it was realistic. (Are you noticing a pattern here? For me, books are all about how realistic they are. If they're not realistic - or as realistic as they can be in the case of paranormal, fantasy, dystopian, etc. - then chances are I won't like it.) But Rory and Cole's relationship was so fluffy. A bit too fluffy, but it was tolerable.

I'm also aware that this book is going to be a series, which brings up the conversation of the ending of the book. I didn't like it. In fact, it's the only part of the book I completely hated. If you know me well enough, you know I hate happy endings. I mean, I can handle slightly happy endings, but this was seriously fluffy. I'm not going to spoil it, but it was something that just wouldn't happen.

Overall, this was an okay book. A little fluffy, a little real. Definitely good for summer. So if you like YA Contemporary and don't mind a bit of fluff, go for this one.


  1. Haven't heard of this one until now. Not sure if this one if for me. I'm a bit tired of the whole class differences thing. Thanks for the great and honest review!

    1. Same here. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!