Sunday, January 26, 2014

Not From Around Here: The Rules

The Rules by Stacey Kade (Project Paper Doll #1)
Disney-Hyperion, 2013

*ARC won from Literary Lushes - Thank you!*

The residents of Wingate, Wisconsin have no idea that their sleepy little small town is the home of one of the world's biggest secrets, and Ariane would like to keep it that way. Because Ariane is no ordinary girl, she's a genetic experiment - half human, half alien - who must live by the carefully crafted rules established by her adoptive father, the man who helped her escape from the lab she came from. She's biding her time until she's 18 and can leave town without suspicion, but when a school prank goes awry Ariane goes from being able to disappear in a crowd to being the center of attention. And when the police chief's son Zane notices her, she finds that the rule she never paid much attention to before may be the one that one that makes everything she's built fall apart: Don't fall in love.

My journey into to the science fiction genre has been a gradual one. With slow steps, I've warmed up to stories with fantastical and paranormal elements, but with Kade's novel I finally hit a story that is directly about the aspect of the genre I've been most skeptical about: aliens. And I'll admit it, I was pleasantly surprised. The premise here is an interesting one about an experiment who must hide in plain sight and how her carefully constructed world comes crashing down. The internal war between Ariane's human and alien natures was well thought out and then displayed. I even liked the dual narrators of Ariane and Zane as it gives readers a look at her camouflage from both sides (though after reading multiple books with multiple narrators lately, I need a break).

Where this book left me scratching my head was in the third act. Since this is the first book in a series (I believe it's a planned trilogy, but don't quote me on that), of course not all of the loose ends will be tied up here, but some of the characters' choices left me absolutely flummoxed. Without spoiling anything, there were at least a few times where I found myself thinking "uhh...really?" Not that I was confused, just had a hard time believing it.

All that being said, the Project Paper Doll series is off to an interesting start. I'll probably pick up sequels at my library in time. To those in the mood for a contemporary story with an extra-terrestrial twist, The Rules may be for you.

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!

Stacey Kade's Website
Stacey Kade on Twitter

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