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The Rules- Tracy Darnton

Thank you to the publisher for gifting me a finished copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Amber is an expert when it comes to staying hidden it is something she has been training her whole life for. But, what happens when the person you’re hiding from taught you everything you know?

When a letter from her dad arrives, Amber knows she’s got to move and quickly. He’s managed to find her and she knows he’ll stop at nothing to draw her back into the extreme survivalist way of life he believes in.

All of a sudden the Rules she’s spent so long trying to escape are the ones keeping her safe. But for how long?

The Rules is a fast-paced and suspenseful YA thriller that kept me hooked page after page. What a book this is to read during a global pandemic! It is such an interesting look into the life of ‘preppers’ who I hadn’t really heard of before reading this book. If you are looking for a suspenseful thriller then this is the book for you!

Our main character Amber is a quirky, smart and determined teen who is trying to put as much distance as possible between her and her ‘prepper’ father. Amber is one of those characters who you aren’t the biggest fan of at the start of the book. But, as you work your way through the story you realise why she is how she is and start to hope the best for her. All the secondary characters are well-rounded and incredibly intriguing. A personal favourite of mine being Josh who I really wish Amber appreciated a lot more!

The storyline in The Rules alternates between the present as well as flashbacks from Ambers past. The present storyline is fast-paced and non-stop and at times had me panicking myself. Then, the past storyline shows Amber’s traumatic upbringing and how growing up under her dad’s strict rules have affected how she is today. As traumatic as Amber’s upbringing is it is really interesting to see how the skills and lifestyle she is running away from is actually helping her to run away.

The Rules is an absolute rollercoaster of emotions. It is full of twists and turns and moments to keep you on the edge of your seat. This might be the first book by Tracy Darnton that I have read but it certainly won’t be my last. One thing I want to mention quickly is the part of which an advent calendar has in this book. It is so cleverly written into the story line and I loved the little nods to it each chapter!

Be sure to check out the trigger warning for this book before reading as there as certainly some topics in this book that could be very triggering.

As soon as I finished this book I started researching the ‘prepper’ lifestyle and I can’t believe I had never heard of it. If you haven’t either I highly recommend looking into it because it is such a wild lifestyle that I’m sure is more common than you think.

Overall, The Rules is a thrilling, fast-paced YA novel that I throughly enjoyed. It makes you think not only when reading but long after too. Put it this way, as soon as I finished this book I packed my own grab-and-go bag! I highly recommend you pick this one up!

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