Title: Rules of Summer
Author: Joanna Philbin
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Source: ARC from Publisher
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 waring 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 brining 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?
Unlike a lot of people, I had never read anything by Joanna Philbin until I was offered a copy of Rules of Summer for review. But as many of you know, I am a sucker for any contemporary read, so I didn't think twice about picking it up. And just like I predicted, it was the perfect summer read and it didn't take long for me to get completely sucked in to the story.
Rory McShane is ready for something different this summer. As she heads to East Hampton to work as an errand girl for the Rule family, she isn't sure what she should expect. Rory knows that she should just do her job and not get involved with the family she is working for. Everyone has warned her not to socialize with the Rules. But the more time she spends with certain members of the family, the harder she is finding it to stay away and just do her job. And it doesn't help when the youngest Rule, Isabel, decides that Rory is going to be the one to help her sneak around with a boy her parents would never approve of. But Isabel, isn't the only Rule Rory has been spending time with even if she knows that the more time she spends with Connor, the more she risks losing the one friend she's made in East Hampton.
I am a sucker for a good contemporary story, and I am even more of a sucker for those stories if they are summer themed. I just can't seem to stay away from them. It's like they have this special pull on me. All that to say that when I first heard what Rules of Summer was about, I knew right away that it was something I wanted to read. And so I picked it up and started reading and it wasn't all that long until the story had completely sucked me in. While reading Rules of Summer, I couldn't help but be transported to the Hamptons and the world Rory was living in for the summer. But the thing about this story is that it kind of took me by surprise at moments. Sure it wasn't the world's deepest and most complex story, but then there were moments when something more seemed to be happening. And those moments were the ones that kept me reading. It was exactly what I needed when I read it: a summer romance story filled with just the right amount of emotions and depth.
I loved that the story followed both Rory and Isabel. At the start of the story, the two girls could not have been any more different. But despite their differences, I could tell rather early on that the two would become friends. And even though I knew it would happen, it didn't stop me from enjoying seeing the way Rory and Isabel came together as friends. It was kind of gradual and unexpected--they were thrown together almost against their will but eventually they both started realizing that they were actually becoming friends. What I especially liked is that both Isabel and Rory needed the other girl, though they may not have realized it at first. And except for Connor, I had my issues with the rest of the Rule family. Mrs. Rule, though you eventually find out why she is the way she is, rubbed me the wrong way the whole time I was reading. It seemed like she couldn't accept that her children found happiness in ways that she didn't necessarily approve of for reasons that were a bit of a mystery to me. And the same kind of goes for the rest of that family. Except for Connor. Connor, I liked right from the beginning. And that's all there is to know about Connor without revealing everything.
Joanna Philbin's Rules of Summer was exactly what I was looking for. Right from the start, the story drew me in and I found myself having trouble putting the book down. If you are looking for a light and fun summer romance that will put a smile on your face, then I strongly recommend you pick up Rules of Summer.