Wednesday 1 July 2020

The Rules by Tracy Darnton Book Review

The YA genre is one that is becoming increasingly popular with both children and adults. I for one am a huge fan of these types of books and always find myself recommending them to others. So I was extremely happy when I got wind of Little Tiger's expanding collection of YA books. 

On a slightly different note ... Is it bad that before receiving The Rules I hadn't read a book written by Tracy Darnton? I can tell you now that this is something that I will be rectifying ASAP.


Amber’s an expert when it comes to staying hidden – she’s been trained her whole life for it. But what happens when the person you’re hiding from taught you everything you know?

When a letter from her dad arrives, Amber knows she’s got to move – and fast. He’s managed to find her and she knows he’ll stop at nothing to draw her back into the extreme survivalist way of life he believes in.

All of a sudden the Rules she’s spent so long trying to escape are the ones keeping her safe. But for how long?

The Rules follow teenage girl Amber. 

She is a young woman that has been through a lot in her life time.

Her mother is no longer with her and she is unfortunate to have a father that can be violent and unhinged. 

After moving her way through foster care for the past couple of years, Amber finds herself in danger again when Julie, who has been overseeing Amber's care, lets her know that they've managed to trace her dad and they are hoping this means that she will be able to be put back with family.

Trouble is the system doesn't know what Amber's father is like, what he is capable of and so begins a game of cat and mouse as this seventeen year old tries to outrun her father by using his own rules against him.


Amber's father is what is known as a survivalist or prepper (his terminology). This means preparing for the unexpected, the apocalypse, the end of the world. Amber has always had to follow a strict set of rules under her Dad as he prepared for the worse to happen.

This book is broken down into short, snappy chapters that alternate between Amber's past and present.

As the story progresses we begin to learn more about 'The Rules' and what they mean to Amber's survival. But I guess the most important one throughout this novel is TRUST NO ONE. 

Finding herself alone again, Amber is on the run, doing what she can to survive, the question is can she out-smart the person who created the rules.

What if the person hunting you taught you everything you know?

Even though Amber is well trained in survival, she remains a teenage girl and as such makes some mistakes along the way, all accumulating in one hell of an explosive conclusion.

The Rules is captivating, with a strong plot. It remains fast paced throughout.

I couldn't put it down!
(Beware trigger warnings for the following: domestic abuse, ableist language, emotional and physical parental abuse.)

This is a thought provoking YA book, one that will resonate with so many readers.

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