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The Rules for Disappearing (Rules, The) Hardcover – May 14, 2013

Book 1 of 2 in the Rules Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Meg Jones and her family have been under Witness Protection for eight months and have been relocated six times. Any day it might happen again: U.S. Marshals will arrive with no warning to shut down their lives and transfer them. The family will be given new personal histories to memorize, new names, and new appearances. They must never make a mistake. They must always stay in character. It's no wonder that Meg has nightmares, her little sister barely speaks, and her mom drinks. As for Mr. Jones, Meg blames him for all of it. Whatever he's done or seen to land them in this predicament has destroyed the family forever. The novel's first half is tense and captivating, as the Joneses adapt to a new home in rural Louisiana. The characters struggle under severe uncertainty and dysfunction. Their new home is dreary, they have very little money, and every bump in the night could mean trouble. Some rules of Meg's new life: Don't make friends, don't trust anybody, don't use the Internet. Again and again, she tries to discover who is after them and what happened last June, but her father won't discuss it. Elston then breaks the tension when Meg falls in love, confronts a repressed memory, and hits the road with her new boyfriend to free her family for good. From there, the plot loses emotional resonance and becomes implausible, but readers will likely enjoy the action. Everything works out in the end, of course, but a single unfinished story line suggests a forthcoming sequel.-Denise Ryan, Middlesex Middle School, Darien, CTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

After eight months and six different identities, Meg and her family are fractured to pieces by the time they wearily settle in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Meg has no idea why her family is in the Witness Protection Program. She does know, however, that in Natchitoches, she will not make any emotional attachments. It’s just too hard, being ripped away from friends without a good-bye. Right away, though, Meg’s resolve is tested. Ethan brings everything Meg needs in her life—companionship, loyalty, fun, and romance—if she would let him. But as Meg gradually learns the reasons for their confinement, she realizes that she needs to push Ethan away for his own safety. The sweet, sexy attraction between Meg and Ethan will captivate romance readers, while the suspense that runs tautly through the story will widen the novel’s readership. If this were a movie, viewers would be screaming at Meg, “Don’t go in there!” A contemporary suggestion for Lois Duncan fans. Grades 7-10. --Diane Colson

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Series: Rules, The
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423168976
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423168973
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #427,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ashley Elston lives in North Louisiana with her husband and three sons. She was a wedding and portrait photographer for ten years so most of her Saturday nights included eating cake, realizing no shoe is comfortable after standing for more than six hours and inevitably watching some groomsman do the alligator across the dance floor. Now, Ashley helps her husband run their small business and she writes as often as possible.

Customer Reviews

Its characters were interesting and the plot moved at a good pace.
Mary E. Young
It doesn't.* It wasn't an earth-shattering cliffhanger, but it was definitely left open ended.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys suspense/thrillers.
Jen @ A Book and a Latte

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Evie Seo TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Set in Natchitoches, LA, The Rules For Disappearing follows Meg Rose Jones (not her real name), a girl whose family is in the Witness Protection Program, as she vows to make sure this placement (7th placement in a row!) will be their last. Meg's fed up with having to start over, memorize all the details of the fake identities assigned to them by the Suits, and make sure no one ever gets close enough to discover their secret. She's tired of running, hiding, and never being allowed to make friends. Most of all, she's determined to find out what exactly did her father do - or witness - that her entire family had to run for their lives.

I love solid mysteries - and the more there is to uncover, the better! A family in hiding, danger lurking around every corner, not knowing who to trust and who will turn out to be an enemy - it's all super intriguing and exciting! I loved the premise of The Rules For Disappearing and the slowly unravelling mystery. This was a fast-paces, highly addictive read that kept me glued to the pages all throughout. I wanted to learn what started it all and who exactly where they running from? Did Meg's dad do something that landed them in the Witness Protection Program? Or was there something more to the story?

I thought the lead characters were really awesome. They were all well developed, with distinct and interesting personalities. I especially liked Ethan. He is a country boy, with a good heart, sharp brain and sunny personality. Handsome, chivalrous, reliable and bright, he made for an awesome love interest - though I wouldn't mind having him as a good friend, either! Meg herself was a fantastic MC, too, though I must admit it took me a while to warm up to her.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By kindlemom1 (My Guilty Obsession) on May 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I love Ethan. He might very well be the best part of this book. Okay, maybe not the best part because I really enjoyed the storyline and the other characters as well but I just adored Ethan. He was just amazing and I love that he never gave up on Meg. That he pushed her when she didn't want to be pushed and stuck with her when she didn't want anyone there. You have to admire a guy for that.

Where to start with the rest of the story? Hmm, not sure really without giving too much away.

Meg is in witness protection along with the rest of her family and she is there for reasons she doesn't even know why. All she knows is that for the past 8 months, things have not been the same. She was uprooted from her home in the middle of the night and on the run since.
By the time she gets to the little town in Louisiana she has had enough. Her family is falling apart and she is tired of running from something she has no clue about. She wants answers and she will do just about anything to get them.

Meg was a very different character. She isn't helpless but she isn't necessarily strong either (at least, not at first). She isn't always nice and she certainly isn't charming but that too has it's reasons and they all make sense as the story unfolds. Meg's life is in shambles and by the time we get a glimpse into her life, she is almost ready to give up...almost.

Instead of taking things for how they are she decides to fight back and get some answers.

I have to say, I really liked how this story unfolded and even though I suspected some of the things that happened were going to happen, I still really enjoyed this. I loved getting to watch Meg take charge and be in control and do something about her life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael M. Jones on December 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
The girl currently known as Megan Jones has been through half a dozen identities in under a year, as have her parents and little sister. Constantly uprooted, forced to live in obscurity, never daring to draw attention to themselves, they’re a family in hiding, a family on the run from killers and criminals. They’re in Witness Protection, and Meg is sure she’ll never get her life back.

So sure, by this point, that she’s vowed to stop trying to make a new life. Why bother with friends, relationships, putting down roots, when chances are good she’ll just leave it all behind again in a matter of weeks? She’s taken to carrying her “go bag” with her at all times, a duffel containing the essentials for staying sane from identity to identity, just in case the move comes as suddenly as it did previously. All she wants is to know why her family is constantly being dragged from town to town, forced to adopt new names and backgrounds. She knows her father must have done something, but he’s not talking. The constant change has taken its toll on her family as well: her mother’s drinking is out of control, and her little sister has withdrawn from the world.

When Meg and her family are reassigned to the small town of Natchitoches, Louisiana, she figures she’ll lay low and do her best to stay aloof from the locals, kill time until the next move. She has her Rules. No clubs. No friends. No teams. She’ll discover the truth no matter what. Instead, despite her best intentions, she finds reasons to get involved. She picks up a part-time job at a local pizza parlor. She makes enemies of the local mean girls. She develops a love/hate friendship with the handsome, infuriatingly charming Ethan. And slowly, bit by bit, the mystery behind her family’s predicament reveals itself.
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