Saturday, 28 June 2014

Review: Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin

Rules of Summer (Rules of Summer #1) by Joanna Philbin
Publisher: Atom
Released: May 23rd 2013
My Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

There are two sides to every summer.

When seventeen-year-old Rory McShane steps off the bus in East Hampton, it's as if she's entered another universe, one populated by impossibly beautiful people wearing pressed khakis and driving expensive cars. She's signed on to be a summer errand girl for the Rules -- a wealthy family with an enormous beachfront mansion. Upon arrival, she's warned by other staff members to avoid socializing with the family, but Rory soon learns that may be easier said than done.

Stifled by her friends and her family's country club scene, seventeen-year-old Isabel Rule, the youngest of the family, embarks on a breathless romance with a guy whom her parents would never approve of. It's the summer for taking chances, and Isabel is bringing Rory along for the ride. But will Rory's own summer romance jeopardize her friendship with Isabel? And, after long-hidden family secrets surface, will the Rules' picture-perfect world ever be the same?
(from Goodreads)

This book can pretty much be described by the word “meh”. Everything was meh, the main characters, the love interests, the plot...I could get through it without wanting to hurl the book across the room, but I didn’t really enjoy it that much. It was just...meh.

Rory was the housekeeper’s niece, coming to stay with the rich Rule family for the summer as an errand girl. She was all right. She didn’t really stand out much or say much and she was a bit passive at times. She and Isabel, the youngest daughter of the Rule family, didn’t get along at first but after Rory covered for Isabel and got into trouble instead of her, Isabel did a 360 and decided Rory might actually be worth the time of the day. It was pretty predictable. They became friends (though it was kind of weird that Isabel suddenly had a massive change in attitude) and both began to confide in each other. Isabel was the rebellious rich girl type (at times, I couldn’t help but think “poor little rich girl” – I mean, really she had no problems until she met Mike) and was looking for something different this summer, Mike being that “different”. Rory wasn’t searching for a relationship, but oh noes, somehow managed to fall in love with Connor Rule, whom she was apparently not at all appropriate for because she was just the help. Total insta-love for both of these relationships and very cliché, and I didn’t like Mike or Connor because Mike was kind of douchey and Connor was just boring. And he was another one of those kids who thought he had so many problems – “Oh no I’m on the swim team, but I don’t want to be, whatever shall I do?” You know what you do? You quit the swim team and stop complaining. He was wealthy, went to a good school, was good looking, loved his family but had a few issues with them (don’t we all?) and he had nothing to be whining about! So his dad would be TEMPORARILY upset about it – who cares! Mountains out of molehills, I tell you. It was like Austin Ames from A Cinderella Story – I never got why he thought he had any problems. His dad got over him quitting football almost instantly. He got into EVERY college he applied to and was like “oh how do I tell my dad I don’t want to go to the one he wants me to go to!” -__-.

Not much else happened. Isabel and Rory had a temporary falling out and Mike turned out to have a “secret” but that was it. Rory didn’t seem to do many errands for an errand girl, and Connor seemed to like her for her appearance only (and vice versa) as it was so insta-lovey he apparently liked her the first time he met before they’d even had a proper conversation. Isabel’s old friends were, predictably, not very nice, and Isabel finally came to realise this. The ending was rushed. I don’t really know what else to say. This book wasn’t awful but it was just...bland.

Overally, if you like contemps and don’t mind clichés and insta-love, maybe give this a go. Otherwise, you might want to look elsewhere for your summer read. I also just found out it has a sequel, which I probably won't be reading because honestly I can't even imagine material interesting enough to form an entire second book.


  1. Well this book definitely does sound meh
    but great review nonetheless
    your reader
    Soma R

  2. Gah. I don't really read much of contemporary novels but it's saddening that this book didn't even try to bring something new to the table. I hate insta-love and I avoid meh books like the plague. Thanks for the heads up and the honest review, Liz! :)


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