The Rules for DisappearingFeatured
Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do—or see—that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all of the Suits’ rules—and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.
But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters—survival.
Action, Suspense and Romance.
I used to fantasize about being in the Witness Protection Program when I was a kid (I was a weird child, what can I say?) but that sense of adventure, being able to "be" someone else and the idea that your life would never be boring all appealed to me. However, fear, paranoia and the fact that I'd have to cut my hair and wear hideous clothes never played into my fantasy because really, where's the fun in that?
What I liked: This is one of those books that pleasantly surprised me. It's well written, humorous with fast-paced action right from the start and the mystery and suspense of not knowing who Meg can really trust kept me on my toes. Did I mention the kissing, because you can never go wrong with kissing, even when you're in the midst of running for your life.
Despite the chaos of their lives, Meg and her family are tight-knit albeit extremely dysfunctional. Meg has to be guarded and often times she's a tough character to like but if she was written any other way she wouldn't feel genuine. Ethan is an enjoyable blend of strength, compassion and wit and don't even get me started on that dimple of his. The rest of the supporting characters were complex and interesting and the ending while not necessarily shocking, did leave me wanting to know what happens next.
What left me wanting: When I picked this up, I wasn't aware that it was the first book in a trilogy or a series and I'm looking forward to finding out more about Ethan's story which was eluded too but not fully explained in this book.
Final verdict: Fans of Alias, Altered, Also Known As and Pivot Point will enjoy this!
How Not To Disappear
This is a story about a girl in protective service who had to move a bunch of times so she is not up for meeting new people when she is forced to move to a small town in Louisiana. Her family was upper-middle class (I think) before they had to change their identities. Meg (or Sissy) is determined to find out the truth from her parents but they aren't really the sharing types. Dad is always working while mum is constantly drunk so she mostly takes care of her sister, Mary (or Teeny) who is afraid of being left behind. She finds a job in a local pizzeria on her first day of actually looking (#jealous) where the hot guy from school. Ethan Landry comes to eat swamp pizza.
The first part of the story was centered around Meg's paranoia. She fears that her family is going to be sent somewhere else any minute now so she carries her go-to bag with her all the time. She tries to stay away from all new people but it's not working because Ethan cracks her armor and starts seeing there's something weird about the way she's acting. The first half of the book was actually the part I enjoyed till they went hunting wild hogs, with guns. Having minors near guns or even letting them use them is a huge no-no for me. Meg even fainted. From there the book started to show flaws and I couldn't see anything good.
The second half of the book is ridiculous. I don't want to reveal too much but Meg finally finds out the truth about what happened and with Ethan's help she sets out to find the evidence without letting anyone know. They go to place where Meg grew up while there are a bunch of mobsters after them. For some reason, they thought it was the right thing to do. Who would actually do that I know I wouldn't. I would let the Feds know where the evidence is and just stay safe and let professionals to do their job. I prefer to live another day. Such stupidity. The whole reveal was unsatisfying and unrealistic ***SPOILER[Mobster killing 2 people and letting Meg live without torturing her to find where the evidence is. He just walked away.]***END SPOILER As for the ending, who knows. Maybe there'll be a sequel, it's never over.
Mix of realistic contemporary fiction and hollywood-style action
As soon as I found out The Rules for Disappearing is about a Witness Protection program, I wanted to read it. I can not recall if I ever read a book that covers that subject and I thought that it was an opportunity for some great character development. When I started reading The Rules for Disappearing, very soon it was clear to me that I was right.
The story is narrated by 17-year-old Meg who talks to us about problems and experiences that her family encounters while being 'protected witnesses'. The strain and tension of constant moves, names changes, crappy living condition and tension of expecting an unknown trial date has taken it's toll on everyone. Her father, mother and young sister are all just shadows of their lovable perky past personalities. So what to do when you are moved to yet another strange town? The best is to keep everyone away and do not get involved. Meg learned that the hard way. But keeping people away is not so easy as it looks. I loved Meg's inner struggle, her monologues and thoughts, she sounded like real teenage girl.
Additional charm to the story is added with cute rules for disappearing that are written at the beginning of each chapter. They contain some lessons Meg had to learn the hard way and sometimes hints what is going to happen. If I am ever enlisted into the Witness Protection, those are going to come in handy.
"RULES FOR DISAPPEARING BY WITNESS PROTECTION PRISONER #18A7R04M:
Only use public transportation. It's the one true way to look completely uninteresting. That is, unless, you have a hideous wood-paneled station wagon. That'll work, too."
Compared to strong family and personal drama both mystery and romance in The Rules for Disappearing seem secondary and somehow lacking. The final twist and bad guy are too predictable. The love story happens too fast and jumps from instant attraction into dreaded territory of insta-love. In fact, the whole second part of this book when romance starts to really grow and develop and mystery to unravel seems a little bit too easy and unbelievable. More like a Hollywood movie than a realistic life story. Because, where else will you see a teenage girl without any weapons and combat training go on a quest against bad guys? Only in movies. And even there it's usually some tough guy like Jason Statham or Liam Neeson.
Despite these flaws, I think that The Rules for Disappearing is going to find a wide range of fans in both lovers of realistic contemporary young adult fiction or fans of fluffy romantic suspense novels, if they do not set their expectations too high.
Disclaimer: I was given a free eBook by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.