Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin
Release Date – June 4, 2013
Publisher Website - Hachette Canada/Poppy
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**obtained for review from publisher**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
There are two sides to every summer.Summer reads should be filled with romance, beaches, and drama. Rules of Summer delivers on all counts, and provides lighter fare for your beach tote.
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?
Joanna Philbin's writing is indicative of her book. It's light, and airy like the beach that features predominately in the novel. The setting and the writing bring it's beachy feel to forefront and captures what I love most about summer novels - the buoyant feeling that comes with summer and waves.
Rory and Isabel come across as different halves of the same coin. They have a lot in common but their backgrounds could not be more different. At first they may seem like unlikely friends but each of them has a tenacious, rebellious streak in that draws them together. The friendship is the most genuine relationship in the novel. It felt more developed than the romances.
The family bond and ties were also quite realistic. The family secrets being held, long buried, were believable. The flawed dysfunction that seemed to exist regardless of background also resonated with me. Along with the budding friendship it was one of my favourite parts of the novel
The romance had an interesting angle in that Rory and Isabel's romances mirrored each other, just inverted. Isabel was involved with someone that her parents would not approve of, and Rory was the one who felt like she wouldn't be accepted by the object of her affection's family. The trial and tribulations they experience are the main source of the tension and drama in the novel. Sadly, I didn't feel enough attention was spent here. There relationships were not gradually built, and seemed to happen rather quickly. The impulsive side of young love came across, but the depth of the feelings being presented didn't ring true for the amount invested in the relationships. A bit more interaction between each of the main couples would have helped establish them more.
This novel reads a little like junk food. Enjoyable while you're consuming it, but did not have any lasting impact on me. It's comforting, and sweet. It's perfect for when you want this type of novel. It's one of those novels that is tailor made to be a 'pallet cleanser' after a more wrenching, tense read. It'll light your spirits, and leave you ready for the next novel in your 'to be read' pile.
I did want a little more from the plot and characters, but still ended up enjoying this quick, light read. A cute, breezy book that pairs nicely with a long day at the beach, or when you want to be reminded of them during the long cold months of winter.