Six Rules of Maybe, The MP3 CD – Audiobook, December 1, 2016
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MP3 CD, Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
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About the Author
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Scarlet grew up in her older sister Juliet's shadow. Juliet was beautiful, always had boyfriends (bad boys, of course), and never worried about how her actions affected other people. Their mom worked hard to raise them, and their father left them long ago, leaving plenty of abandonment issues behind him. When Juliet comes home married and pregnant, Scarlet and her mother aren't surprised by the whirlwind situation, but are surprised Juliet chose to stick with the commitment of a baby and a husband.
Hayden and his dog Zeus may be unexpected additions to the house, but to Scarlet, they are incredible and surprising. Scarlet begins to have feelings for Hayden she knows are wrong, but she can't help. When she realizes Juliet is sneaking around with her ex-boyfriend, she is conflicted- she is furious that her sister would hurt Hayden, but elated because she is falling in love with him herself. But nothing is more forbidden than your sister's husband, no matter how perfect he is.
There are parts of this story that are like windows into a high schooler's soul. In particular, it is a glimpse into the soul of a pleaser. If you aren't a pleaser yourself, you definitely know one. She is that girl who can't reject even the most annoying guy for fear of hurting him. She is a weirdo magnet because she will never do anything that might make someone feel bad. She also never thinks about how this all affects her, because she is too worried about everyone else. She seems so strong, so impervious, but really? She is a mess. She questions everything she does, feels trapped, and can't stand up for herself. Scarlet is a piece of all of us we wish we could squash but know will always be there.
This book is interesting, but is more in Scarlet's head than anywhere else. There is little dialogue or action, but when there is some, it is well done. The insights are incredible, but I am afraid it might be lost on a punchy teenaged reader who just wants gratuitous entertainment. This is a brilliant story with beautiful writing, but might not capture the attention of many of my students. I wish it would teach them a little about themselves or the people they know, but the lessons might be too subtle. I think this book is more valuable for the teacher or mother who deals with adolescent girls than for the girls themselves. While Ophelia Speaks gave us a glimpse into the minds of real girls, The Six Rules of Maybe can do so with a fictional girl who seems so real, you will swear you know her.
Scarlet Ellis believes she has a role in life. She has taken it upon herself to make life easier for others - to smooth over their problems and to help them get what they want. In the privacy of her own mind Scarlet might admit that her reasons for helping others are not always altruistic, but that doesn't change the fact that she spends more time worrying about other people than she does thinking about what she wants from life. That all changes when Scarlet's older sister Juliet comes home to stay.
Twenty-year-old Juliet has always been the center of their single mother's world. Talented and temperamental, Juliet is more than self-centered, she's often selfish. The last thing Scarlet ever expected was for Juliet to give up her job as a singer and move back home, especially since she's pregnant and newly married to Hayden Renfrew. As Scarlet gets to know Hayden, she realizes several things: Hayden is a nice person, just like Scarlet; Juliet doesn't love Hayden like she should; and most importantly, Scarlet wants Hayden for herself.
I have read several of Deb Caletti's novels and all of them have been wonderfully written, but the prose in The Six Rules of Maybe is so exquisitely lyrical it approaches poetry without seeming contrived or out of place. I would have a hard time coming up with any other Y.A. author who has a better command of her craft than Deb Caletti. Her way with words, her finely crafted characters and the profound truths that her stories delicately reveal put Caletti firmly in the very top tier of those writing for young adults. I immediately knew Scarlet because I once was Scarlet. The need to fix everyone's problems, the tendency to tell small lies - and the reasons for those behaviors - Ms. Caletti captures it all so perfectly. This novel spoke to me in a very personal way, but I would have loved it even if it hadn't. It's just that wonderful.