The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin

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The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin

Now, I know I have a backlog of 10 or so books I need to review, but I read The Rules of Survival last night and I just have to review it.

Once I started reading, I absolutely could not put this book down, and when I finally finished it, I suddenly realized that I had a headache that went all the way down one side of my face. The story had been so intense that I had been clenching my jaw for almost two hours.

And now, I know it may seem odd to be recommending a book that gave me a headache, but it was completely worth it, and it's nothing compared to the pain that the Walsh children suffer.

Matthew is 14, and he lives with his two younger sisters, Callie (12) and Emmy (6) and his mother Nikki, who is becoming more and more unhinged. His main concern in life is keeping his sisters safe from his mother. After one especially frightening incident, he realizes that he needs to do something to get himself and his sisters away from Nikki, and he turns to Murdoch (one of his mother's ex-boyfriends) for help.

Werlin tells this story in the form of a letter written by an 18 year old Matthew to his younger sister, and therefore often addresses the reader as "you," which really helps to draw the reader into the narration. The language is simple and easy to read, which helps to balance out the difficult themes. This is a novel that needs to be read, as Matthew's story, like the story of so many children out there, is one that needs to be heard.


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