None of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing
Kindle Edition, 2012
*Received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review - thank you!*
About to start her senior year of high school, Sophie is feeling a little bit lost. Sure she has her two best friends by her side, but things are changing and she doesn't quite feel like she's been living her life to the fullest. When she finds a sort of bucket list that her aunt Suzy wrote and and wasn't able to fulfill before she died when she was 18, Sophie decides to complete these final wishes herself. The dares open Sophie to things she never would have done before, but as the year goes on, friendships become fragile, dark truths come to light, and Sophie is left questioning if she really knew her aunt, her friends, her family, or herself at all.
I'm always interested in 'dare' books, mostly because I'm such a pansy myself. As such, I was immediately intrigued by the premise. Sophie was a very realistic 17 year old girl - the things she worried about and her thought processes especially hit home. I had a lot of the same feelings at that age, and I honestly still do many years later.
However, as a narrator I felt like she was often holding back from readers. We get glimpses of the fact that not all is rosy at home, but we don't actually see much of it. Same goes for her relationships with her two best friends as the trio drifts apart, and even in her emerging romantic feelings towards next door neighbor Johnny. I really liked what was happening there - something raw and awkward and sweet - but Sophie never gets too specific on how exactly their friendship grows or what they even talk about when they were spending so much time hanging out together.
Downing gives readers big wide sweeps of emotions, I just would have preferred a few more specifics here and there. If I had to categorize this story, I'd say it's both an issues and coming of age novel. I read this over the course of a few hours one evening, enjoyed it, and consider it a fine one-time read.
Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!
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