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.