Published by Swoon on June 11th 2019
Genres: Coming of Age, Young Adult
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Honest and full of heart, this clever contemporary romance debut deftly combines utterly relatable family drama with all the sweetness and uncertainy that comes with falling in love.
Rule #1: Don’t get attached.
Amber lives by strict rules to survive her mother’s love life: Always keep your eyes on the horizon and never get close to anyone connected to Mom’s boyfriends.
But after they move in with Kevin, the latest of her mom’s “soul mates,” the rules become increasingly difficult to follow. Kevin’s daughter, Cammie, keeps acting like Amber’s friend, even though she’s definitely not. And Jordan—star basketball player, hottest boy in school, and Cammie’s best friend—keeps showing up at the most inconvenient moments.
Amber has reasons for every one of her rules, and following them is the only way to protect her heart when her mom inevitably moves on. But as she spends more time with Kevin, his daughter, and especially Jordan, she starts to wonder if the rules might be worth breaking this time.
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, Rules We’re Meant to Break is a charming, heartachingly real story of family and young love by debut author Natalie Williamson.
Rules We’re Meant to Break is a heartfelt coming of age story about the daughter of a single mother facing down the upheaval of “home” life by giving herself guidelines meant to keep her emotions in check. As the story opens, Amber does what any normal girl who just had her life upended by the breakup of her mothers latest boyfriend, which also means she loses the boy she’s crushing on as he drops out of her life too. She adopts a dog and drafts up “new rules” for managing what she knows will inevitable mean a new place to live with whomever her mother starts dating.
Amber ends up with nine rules that calm her anxiety but will soon challenge her to open herself up for greatness. As we catch up with her in her senior year of high school, she’s in a new house, with new house rules, and so much potential for strife. Thankfully Amber is surrounded by some wonderful friends and gains a few new ones as she settles into a new neighborhood. This is where she finds herself tested, her rules tested, as it’s not so easy to keep her new family at arms length.
I really enjoyed this as a YA/coming of age tale. The characters are well rounded and I felt as though I got a good sense of who Hannah (BFF), Jordan (BF), Claire ( her mother) and Kevin and Cammie (mom’ BF and his daughter), were. The story is told solely from Amber’s POV and there were times it felt a little drawn out, but when the big about face comes, when Amber is forced with contemplate how guarded she is and how it impacts others around her, it felt right. Williamson keeps the story sweet and dare I say it, clean, as Amber finds her “first love”. Amber is pretty mature for her age and makes decisions I would expect of any eighteen year old girl.
4 Stars and YA/Coming of age recommendation.
Praise for Rules We’re Meant to Break:
“The last time I devoured a book like this—I can’t even remember. … It was so openhearted and raw.” —Clarissa, reader on SwoonReads.com
“It is such a true true story about a girl finding herself within her first love. I loved it!” —Forever Bookish, reader on SwoonReads.com
Natalie Williamson is an HR person by day and a YA writer by night and nap time. She referenced Harry Potter in her first ever full time job interview, which tells you almost all the things you need to know about her. Other important things to know include: she loves her husband, daughter, dogs, and cat; she has a serious dessert problem; and she frequently Wikipedias movies and TV shows to find out if they have happy endings. RULES WE’RE MEANT TO BREAK is her debut novel.
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