ARC REVIEW: THE RULES by Tracy Darnton

*Thank you to Stripes Publishing for this e-ARC*

I’m super excited to talk about this book because it’s the first of two five-star reviews that I’m posting this week! I’ve read so many amazing books recently and this is definitely one of the best.

‘The Rules’ is described as a a gripping thriller for fans of One of Us is Lying, We Were Liars and A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder so, after giving all three of those books 5 stars, I had really high expectations for this one. After reading the summary, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect in terms of how close this book would be to those and whether it would be completely in my comfort zone, but I knew that it had the potential to be a new favourite, and it absolutely didn’t disappoint. 

Amber is a young girl who has spent her teenage years making her way through care homes and foster homes, after running away from her somewhat delusional, prepping-for-the-apocalypse father. When she finds out that he has tracked her down, she makes the immediate decision to run away from the first place she has ever felt settled in order to self-preserve. What follows is a story of intelligence, planning and survival instinct, both on her part and on her father’s, as we get an insight into just how troubled he is and just how much that has scarred Amber.

I enjoyed every aspect of this book. I liked both Amber and Josh as characters and I loved that, despite their very different outlooks on life, they both found themselves at least a little dependent on one another throughout the story. There was no forced romance at all but it was beautiful to watch their relationship develop as they both figured out what they were doing on their journey and how they ended up together on the run.

As well as having strong characters, I found the story to be so compelling that I just couldn’t put the book down. The chapters are very short and abrupt, and I found it incredibly easy to keep going and get through this book without even realising it. The story is fast-paced and permanently exciting, with both the flashbacks and the present day constantly building up tension and setting the reader on edge. I knew throughout this entire book that it was building to a grand conclusion, and I wasn’t at all disappointed with the ending.

A combination of likeable, strong characters, an intense plot, and an enjoyable amount of twists and turns made this book one of the best YA thrillers I’ve read in years, and I will absolutely be grabbing every Tracy Darnton book I can get my hands on from now on.

RATING: 5/5

If you’d like to read this book, you can pre-order a copy here.

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