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Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself Paperback – September 1, 2013

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 960L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (September 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613747845
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613747841
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,176,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up–Nearly three dozen young adult authors each address a “rule” that should be bent or ignored, such as “always sit in your assigned seat,” “dress appropriately,” “never be alone,” or “don't quit.” Each contributor shares personal experience and advice, which makes for good, varied reading that will surely offer something unique for many readers. The essays are inspiring and thought-provoking, and many offer truly funny moments. Reynolds provides an excellent flow between essays. This title could easily be read cover to cover or by individual selection based on theme. There is a nice mix of male and female voices. Especially good are Leslie Connor's “Don't Tell Lies,” in which she confesses to actually liking rules; Lisa Burman's essay on eating disorders, titled “Don't Get Fat”; and Chris Barton's “Go to College After High School,” because it allows readers to think about their options. As readers head back to the classrooms this fall, these essays can serve as discussion starters and give readers a jumping-off point for thinking about the bigger picture and life after high school.–Elaine Baran Black, Georgia Public Library Service, Atlantaα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Thirty-five writers use the 20/20 hindsight of their adult perches to look back and give back. Weaving together this caring anthology is the message to teens to pump up the volume on their inner voice and to consider writing as a vehicle to traverse adolescence. While each contribution is deeply heartfelt, the shining stars of the collection are those that elegantly guide the reader with authentic, personal specifics on journeys that are genuinely transformative. Matthew Quick shares the experience of attending a wedding in Namibia with his wife, Alicia Besette; Luke Reynolds and his brother Chris run the London Marathon; and Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s extraordinary big brother Ricky introduces someone who could shape readers’ future relationships with friends and family. The contributors’ biographies reveal more personal insights along with professional accomplishments, and teens might well use the biographies as references to read more from a favorite new author. Grades 7-12. --Gail Bush

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Otter on September 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
Break These Rules is groundbreaking and thoughtful. Solid messages written with wit and heart. This is a must read for young adults.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Liviania VINE VOICE on September 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
First off, this title is slightly misleading: it's a mix of young adult and middle grade authors writing about breaking rules. I'd name and link to all of the authors, but last time I did that I decided the effort wasn't worth it. Second off, most of the authors are worth looking up.

Each author focuses on a different rule, which titles their essay. Therefore, a quick scan of the table of contents is probably enough to help you decide whether this collection is for you. I quite enjoyed it, and thought that much of the advice wasn't quite what I expected. I liked Wendy Mass advising people to be bored sometimes. (She's not the only one.) I groaned when I saw the title "Follow the Money, Not Your Heart" (Lisa Schroeder) since I currently am in a position where I really wish I had followed the money, but the advice tends more towards balance. There are times to follow your heart and times to follow the money. (Too bad figuring out which is which is hard!)

There's a nice mix of well-known names (A.S. King, Matthew Quick, Carl Deuker) and more obscure authors (Sayantani Dasgupta, Natalie Dias Lorenzi, Anna Staniszewski). There were enough familiar names to draw me in, and enough unfamiliar ones that sounded like they wrote cool stuff that I have plenty of new books to track down and read.

BREAK THESE RULES is unlikely to be a revelatory experience for adults, or even for the teens its aimed at. But it's less pat that you might expect. Some advice is pretty common - speak up or not having to look like a model. Other advice is something a young person might not hear much, like it's okay not to go to college. Others were unexpected, like Sara Zarr advocating talking about religion with people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ChinacatSun76 on December 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
As a whole, Break These Rules was a bit of a disappointment. I wanted to love it, I really did, but most of the essays just weren't for me. The majority of the 35 YAL authors included in this collection, some whom I recognized by name and most of whom I didn't, try too hard and just don't hit the balance of inspiration and real-life honesty that I was hoping for when I received the book.

The essays in this collection are targeted at teens and they encourage them to go break traditional and long-standing rules, to question the norm, and to go against the status quo - all things I encourage both my own children and my teenage students on a regular basis. One overwhelming message running throughout the collection was the idea to be still, embrace calm, and be bored - ideas that are important and should be encouraged in everyone. There is also the standard advice to not worry about your appearance, not second guess yourself, and to trust your judgement and your instincts. So my disappointment isn't with the subject matter, but the collection misses the mark in its delivery of the message.

The authors' life experiences range from speech disorders to trips across Africa to hospital ER visits to being flat chested, but many of them had the same tone and I just can't get on board with that. A parent committing suicide and finding a note that says a boy thinks you're not pretty both have an impact, don't get me wrong, but not to the same degree or in the same way. This collection presents the authors' experiences without giving appropriate deference to more weighty topics or having the perspective to acknowledge differences between a one day struggle and a life altering event.
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