{Blog Tour} Review of The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston + Giveaway and Excerpt

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ashley Elston
Welcome to my stop in the Ashley Elston blog tour hosted by Shane of Itching For Books! Read on for my review of The Rules for Disappearing and a shimmery shiny giveaway.
The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

The Rules for Disappearing
by Ashley Elston
Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication date: May 14th 2013
Source: e-galley for tour
Author's website | GoodRead
She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they've given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.

But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.
I think that most of us have heard about the Witness Protection program. If you're an avid viewer of cop shows and mystery/thrillers, then it must have crossed your ears at some point. The usual scenario is that someone witnesses some kind of crime and murder, so the US Marshalls enlists the person in the Witness Protection program to keep them safe before they have to testify in court. The Rules for Disappearing tackles with what happens when you're in the Witness Protection program. Not before or after, but during the whole gruesome process. I haven't read any other young adult book with the same subject matter and I dived right in.

One of the things that The Rules for Disappearing did well was the depiction of the changes in Meg's family. They used to be really well-off and were depicted as happy go-lucky in all of Meg's flashbacks, but everything suddenly fell apart when they entered Witness Protection, and it was all pretty apparent. Meg's dad, who used to be a successful accountant but now works rough jobs, is really stressed out and unattached, her mother falls into the habit of drinking and passing out at any hour of the day, and her little sister Teeny just gave up in general and freaks out whenever she's left alone or whenever she sees a man wearing a suit. Meg is also sick of all the moving and pretending and won't allow herself to get attached to anything anymore, in turn creating a set of rules for herself. They were the perfect family before the whole mess and the program really took a toll them.

Meg was a really hard character to get used to. Meg was the only one who tried to pull things together when everyone else just refused to function. She isn't an ignorant girl, she knows when there are problems and she doesn't deny not figuring out that Ethan planned on asking her out. She was really observant and I admire her love for her sister. I liked her and her headstrong determination at times, but I got really confused whenever her resolution wavered. Ethan was a really cute supporting character, although sometimes a bit too cute for my liking. I really appreciated his lightheartedness whenever it balanced out Meg's defiance but there were times when (although appreciated) he was a bit too good to be true.

The thing that irked me in this mystery read was the lack of mystery and thrill. The scenes that were supposed to thrill me were being told rather than being shown, and that's not good for a mystery book. Some things in the story were also unjustified, like the reason behind the whole Ethan-Meg attraction among other more important things. Everything conveniently falls into place. Some instances and situations were too unbelievably unrealistic, especially the reactions of those who eventually got involved. I was waiting for that exciting climax but it came and went without me even realizing it and I had to backtrack. I have to admit that the ending disappointed me a bit- everything was rushed and stuffed to fit into the last handful of pages.

The Rules for Disappearing works amazingly well as a young adult contemporary read, but I wasn't feeling the mystery aspect of it. The book wasn't as dynamic and adrenaline-filled as I expected but I would still recommend it to someone looking for an light action movie-type read with great character building. The Rules for Disappearing is a really cute and light quick read that chronicles a girl's journey through Witness Protection, and I really enjoyed all the relationships she formed and all the roadblocks she went through along the way.


The Rules for Disappearing excerpt

"I thought you would be back. Wanted to see how you were handling what happened this morning."

I stopped chewing and look at him. That is the nicest thing anyone has said to me in a long time but I can't ruin The Plan over some sweet words. "I'm fine. You don't need to worry about me."

"Good. So, have you had a chance to check things out around town? You got here at the right time- Mardi Gras kicks off soon, and you can usually find a good party on parade nights."

"I thought that was only in New Orleans." My question may make me seem stupid. I'm supposed to be from Arkansas, which is next to Louisiana, so I should probably know all this.

He shakes his head and doesn't seem thrown off by my question. "No there are lots of smaller parades all day through the state. The best ones are down there, though."

Ethan digs in his bag and pulls out a sheet of paper.

"What's that?" I ask.

He shakes his head a few times. "Read it."

I take it but know instantly that this is not going to turn out well. It's a Wikipedia article about the Fouke Monster, which is basically a Big Foot-type creature believed to be in, well, Fouke. There was even a movie about it, and a little map that shows Fouke is near Lewisville. The town is crazy about the myth, and people come from all over to try to get a sight of it. My mouth gets dry. I'm so screwed.

Ethan takes a swig of Coke. "I don't think you're from Lewisville."

And there it is. The Suits explained what to do if someone question your story but he's called me out.

"What? Of course i'm from Lewisville." I try hard to look offended. Jumping up, I heave the go-bag to my chest. "I've got to go to the bathroom."

I cringe at my choice of words but beat it to the door anyway.

At this point, i'm sure he thinks i'm nuts. Multiple personalities or something. He doesn't say anything else, just watches me run back into school.

Ashley Elston

Ashley Elston lives is North Louisiana with her husband, three sons and two cats. She worked as a wedding and portrait photographer for ten years until she decided to pursue writing full time. Ashley is also a licensed Landscape Horticulturist and helps her husband run a commercial lawn and landscaping business. They also custom harvest pecans and have cows. Yes, cows.

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  1. I don't know that the mystery element would work for me, but I love the sound of the novel overall. I think that as a contemporary read, this book could really shine, and I do love the premise. I might still have to give it a go. Great review and thanks for your honest take on it, Ellie!

  2. Good review. Nice excerpt. Thanks for participating!

  3. I mentally kicked myself for not getting to sign up for this tour :| It's sad that you didn't find this as mysterious as I thought it was. The title and cover really promised a lot in that aspect.

  4. I've been hearing a lot of mixed reviews about this one. It has a very cool concept because you're right, Witness Protection program in YA is rare, if not unheard of. I'm sorry to hear that it came up short in the mystery and thrill department. Reading the synopsis, I didn't take it for a light read. Anyhoo, thanks for the honest review :)

  5. Everyone seem to be reading this book except me. I've seen it around but quite honestly I wasn't so interested for some reason. Yeah it seem cool but also not amazing. Great review :)


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