ARC Review: Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin

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rules of summerTitle: Rules of Summer
Author: Joanna Philbin
Date(s) read: August 5 – 9, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher (eARC)

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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?

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Thank you to Poppy and NetGalley for providing an eARC of this book for review!

I love a good summer story — something that takes place on a beach or a favourite summer destination. Since I live in a place where we get rain and very unpredictable weather all summer, it’s nice to read a story where it’s sunny all the time. AND where there’s romance.

This was a good story. I did really like Rory and Isabelle and how they came to get to know one another. It was nice that they had the difference between them of coming from a family with no money where Rory had to do everything herself, to a family like Isabelle’s, where they have the means and the help, and everything seems to be given to them.

I also felt that the supporting characters, including Fee (Rory’s aunt who works at the Rule’s home) and Bianca (the house manager who seemed to have a stick up her butt). It really focused on the idea of class, with Rory thinking at times that she was part of the family and making friends, and at other times her being shunned by Isabelle’s mom for not being upper class and not fitting in with the family.

The things that really knocked this story down for me was the writing itself and the ending. First of all, the story is told in dual narrative, with Rory and Isabelle trading sections. Though sometimes it’s not clear who’s section is which — it would start with a ‘she’ or a ‘her’ and it would be a few paragraphs until I understood who was talking. That made me flip back a few times while reading. Also, the ending just seemed a little too neat. There was one thing that happened that I don’t want to mention without ruining it, but it was like once that event was brought to light, it was resolved way too quickly and neatly.

In the end, it was an okay story and one that I’m glad I read in the summer. I still loved the setting of the Hamptons and the friendship that the story seemed to revolve around. It might not be my favourite summer story, but it was a great way to spend a few afternoons.

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4 thoughts on “ARC Review: Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin

  1. Sometimes it’s nice to read a summery, beachy read and other times it makes me jealous because I live so far from the ocean! Too bad the dual POV didn’t work for this one.

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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