Title: The Rules for Breaking (The Rules for Disappearing, #2)
Author: Ashley Elston
Rating: ★★ (2/5 Stars)
Hardcover, 320 Pages
Published May 2014
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Summary: Anna Boyd almost lost her life to get what she wanted most in the world: freedom. But just when it seems that her family has finally escaped Witness Protection, the illusion that Anna could resume a normal life comes crashing down. The deadly man Anna knows as Thomas is still on the loose, and now he's using her as a pawn in a dangerous game with the drug cartel determined to silence her forever. When Thomas and a mysterious masked man capture not only Anna but also her fragile younger sister and her boyfriend, Anna decides it's time to break all the rules-even if it means teaming up with the lesser of two evils. Anna will do whatever it takes to protect the people she loves and win her life back once and for all. But her true enemies are hidden in plain sight. Before long, Anna will learn that putting her trust in anyone may be the last mistake she ever makes.
I had high hopes for this book after loving The Rules for Disappearing, especially since the story is sort of relative to my novel that I wrote, about a girl running but not sure from what. This time, though, I was disappointed, which was sad for me. I was expecting this book to be as great as the first one was, and it was more of a...letdown, so to speak. It was given two stars because all I could say after I finished this book was that "it was okay." I couldn't even bring myself to say I liked it.
I'm not a fan of negative reviews, and I especially hate writing them, but I still feel that it's important to be honest and truly express what in this book kept me from giving it a higher rating. So before I begin, I want to make it clear that in no way am I saying any of these things out of malice or to personally attack Ashley Elston. This book just wasn't my cup of tea.
The first thing about this book that seriously bothered me was Ethan's attitude. Several times when Anna told him not to do something, he would try to be the heroic boyfriend and say "screw it" and do it anyway. I get that there was supposed to be some romance and heroic acts towards this, but throughout the book, especially towards the ending, it got highly irritating for me every time I did it.
And for some reason, the plot of this book just seemed...unrealistic to me. Granted, Anna's being held captive by members of a drug cartel and that isn't really a situation that's realistic for everyday people. However, the whole thing didn't add up for me. Why didn't anyone come to rescue Anna when she tried? How did nobody notice anything that went on, and why didn't any of the captives speak out and cry for help when given the chance? It felt like if I was in Anna's position, realistically, I would have done so many things differently to save myself a lot sooner. I just..wasn't entirely sold on the story and couldn't get into it.
One more thing that annoyed me was Tyler's character. Throughout the book, after Anna finds out who he really is, she continually refers to him as psychotic and a stalker and sick in the head, even when he tells her that he had been played just like she had. Granted, working in a cartel with his brother isn't something to be proud of, but he knew of nothing else, and he tried to be Anna's ally and she wrote him off as a psycho killer.
The story was also predictable, in a way. At least, in the sense of who the mole was. I called it by page 50.
Even though there were many aspects of this book that I wasn't too keen on, there were some things that I was satisfied with, too. Especially Teeny's character development from the first book. I found it sweet and amusing (and also heartbreaking) to watch her grow as a person, despite the cruddy circumstances she was dropped into. And the epilogue of the book was satisfying, too. I was left with a few questions, nothing major, but that is what an epilogue is supposed to do.
As long as you aren't left with too many questions.
All in all, The Rules for Breaking was an okay book with an okay plot line, okay characters, and okay everything. I was expecting much more out of this book and was thoroughly disappointed that I didn't receive it and that it didn't live up to my expectations as a follow-up novel for The Rules for Disappearing. However, Elston seems like a good author and I'd definitely read more stories by her in the future.