Review: None of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing

Title: None of the Regular Rules
Author: Erin Downing
Publisher: self published
Publication Date: November 20, 2012
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Source: Author
Sometimes, a few dares can change lives...

The weekend before the start of senior year, Sophie Erickson and her best friends, Ella and Grace, discover a handwritten list of dares tucked away in the glove compartment of Sophie's beat-up old Toyota. But this isn't just any list; it's a dead girl's bucket list.

Sophie's beloved aunt Suzy died as a teenager in a fatal fall, leaving Sophie with an overly cautious family, a few fading photographs, and a bucket of bolts that barely passes for a car. But now, Sophie has Suzy's list of the things she wanted to do in her last year of high school. Sophie can't help but wonder: What would happen if she tried to fulfill Suzy's last wishes, to live out the longed-for life of her aunt, her hero?

As Sophie and her friends attempt to knock off the things on Suzy's list of dares, love blossoms in unexpected places and Sophie begins to feel that her life is finally coming together...when in fact, everything is slowly unraveling around her. When the truth about a long-held family secret threatens to shatter everything she believed to be true, Sophie is forced to question everything she knew about the life and people she believed in, and ultimately herself.
When I picked up None of the Regular Rules, I was expecting a cute romance. What I got was more a story about friendship and living life.

The relationship between Sophie and her best friends Ella and Grace is probably the best part of the book for me. These are friends who genuinely love each other despite each girl having a couple of issues. And their dynamic makes for a great story about overcoming some of the trials of friendship. When they argue it is because they care about one another. They help each other to see some difficult truths and that is my favorite thing about None of the Regular Rules. It's a story about seeing the truth and acknowledging it and loving despite any ugliness.

The romance seemed a little lackluster in comparison to the relationship between the three girls, and I wanted more development out of Johnny and out of Sophie's relationship with him. A little more time spent on their interactions would have made a big difference toward making theirs as meaningful a connection as the one that Sophie has with her friends. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy Johnny as a character, but had there been more development where he is concerned I would have felt more invested in him and in his relationship with Sophie. As a result, I feel as though the whole Sophie+Johnny thing wasn't really a major part of the story even though Johnny is the most encouraging in Sophie's quest to do all of the things on Suzy's list.

None of the Regular Rules has a pretty solid pacing and isn't too long so it makes a quick read. Sophie concentrates on completing Suzy's list and there are some conflicts going on in her life as well as Ella's and Grace's that keep the plot moving and the characters growing. I like the development of all three girls by the end of the story.

Yeah, there was a niggling thing here or there but I enjoyed None of the Regular Rules and read it quickly. I liked the supportive friendship between the three girls. I do feel that Johnny and Sophie didn't get enough page time to really draw me in, but it's cute nonetheless. If you like YA contemps and enjoy stories with friendships, then I'd recommend this one as a quick read, maybe on a rainy day.

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  1. I've seen that a bit, that this was less about love and romance and more about friendships. Not that this would bother me. I don't always need the romantic aspect to enjoy a book, though it doesn't always hurt. And I like the idea of completing someone else's bucket list when they can't do it themselves.

    1. I really like books that focus more on the friendships. I do feel though that this book could've been better if the friendship and subsequent relationship between Sophie and Johnny had been more fleshed out. Still, it's a cute and fun read with a little bit of seriousness thrown in.


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