The Rules of Survival Review

Monday, February 15, 2010

I know I usually do a Monday Movie Review on Mondays, but I didn't quite make it to the theatre as planned. I ended up getting a wee bit sick on Saturday, so I didn't get to see The Lightning Thief, but I am going tonight!

It all starts when Matthew observes a heroic scene in a convenience store: A man named Murdoch puts himself between an abusive father and his son. Matt is determined to get to know this man. And when, amazingly, Murdoch begins dating Matt’s mother, it seems as if life may become peaceful for the first time.

Matt and his sisters have never before known a moment of peace in a household ruled by their unpredictable, vicious mother. And so, after Murdoch inevitably breaks up with her and the short period of family calm is over, Matt sees that he needs to take action. He refuses to let his family remain at risk. Can he call upon his hero, Murdoch? And if not, what might his desperation lead him to do?
Taken from GoodReads.

The Rules of Survival follows the story of Matt and his two younger sisters, Callie and Emmy. Callie and Matt have the same father, while Emmy is their half-sibling from a one night stand where Nikki, their mother, tried to trap a rich man into marrying her. Matt and his sisters bore both emotional and physical abuse from their mother for years because nobody believed or understood what was happening. When Matt and Callie witness Murdoch McIlvene protecting a child in the convenience store, they swear he'll be the one to save them, but it turns out to be much harder than they thought.

Ok, I had planned on doing this review later in the week, but I couldn't get it out of my head, so decided to do it today. First of all, can I just say how amazing Nancy Werlin did at making this story tangible and real? It's incredible. This story is written in letter form from 18 year-old Matt looking back at his life before college and putting it all in a letter for his younger sister, Emmy, before he leaves. I thought that might be hard to keep up throughout the book, but it wasn't. It made it so much more poignant.

I don't remember why I decided to read this, but I had read Impossible by Nancy Werlin, and I enjoyed her writing style. I was honestly just blown away by this book. The characters are so real, and the story strings you along the horrifying, heart-wrenching tale of a broken family. You want to scream, and cry, and help them, but all you can do is keep reading.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something real that makes you feel. I give this a definite 5 out of 5.


  1. I've heard great things about Nancy Werlin! This book sounds awesome. Loved your review. :]

  2. Great review. I hadn't realized this is by the same author as Impossible.

  3. Wow! This sounds like a great book. Nancy Werlin sounds like a wonderful writer. I'll definitely have to read one of her books sometime.

  4. Awesome review. I don't read a lot of YA but this one sounds good.

  5. This was an excellent and really haunting book, wasn't it? My daughter and I both read it about a year ago. The really heartwrenching thing is that Nancy Werlin has said, in interviews, that kids have approached her about that novel and said "this is my life." :-(

    I hope you enjoy The Lightning Thief!

  6. I wanted to let you know I gave you an award at my blog. :)

  7. I love your review. I enjoy "real" books. I think this will be a great read. Adding it to my TBR pile

  8. I tried reading this once. I regret not finishing it now! It looks really good now. Awhsome review [:


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