Rules of Summer
by Joanna Philbin
Hardcover, 352 pages
To be published June 4, 2013
Book Source: Netgalley
Book Summary from Netgalley: There are two sides to every summer.
When seventeen-year-old Rory McShane steps off the bus in East Hampton, it’s as if she’s entered another universe–one populated by impossibly beautiful people wearing pressed khakis and driving expensive cars. She’s signed on to be a summer errand girl for the Rules, a wealthy family with an enormous beachfront mansion, and maybe to sneak in some beach time. Upon arrival, she’s warned by other staff members to keep her head down and to avoid socializing with the family, but Rory soon learns that may be easier said than done.
Feeling claustrophobic in her country-club world, the youngest and most impulsive Rule child, seventeen-year-old Isabel, embarks on a breathless summer romance that her family would never approve of. Isabel has decided that this is the summer for taking chances, and she’s bringing Rory along for the ride. The girls forge a true friendship, but when long-hidden secrets start to surface and Rory reveals that she has feelings for someone, too–Connor Rule, Isabel’s older brother–their relationship is put to the test.
Review: I chose Rules of Summer because of the dreamy setting an promise of a light summer read in the Hamptons, on the tip of Long Island. Rory is a Jersey girl from a no nonsense background living wither her mom who seems to have a hard time picking reliable men. Tired of picking up the slack and being around the drama she packs up and takes a summer job with her aunt as the live in help of the Rule family, a blue blood high society wealthy Hamptons family. Right away it becomes obvious Rory is entering a different world of country clubs, in home theatres and a daughter of the house who is used to getting whatever she wants. Isabel Rule is Rory’s same age but the two couldn’t be any more different. Isabel’s growing pains and quest to find herself landed her in California where she picked up a love of surf. Now that she is home she feels the undeniable itch that things aren’t quite the right fit anymore. So when when she runs into an older surfer in the water she gets pulled in deep.
I loved the distinction between classes and how those lines can be blurred by life and friendship. The main distraction for me was one of the love interests and what a jerk he is through the entire book. Isabel is young and doesn’t seem to catch on, but the underage drinking, the age difference and sex were a giant red flag from the beginning. I wanted to yell “run!”
On the flip side, Connor Rule, “the other boy” is nice, all-American and the perfect fit. Drama is high and the pacing a little uneven, but the overall message is one of breaking down boundaries in the name of loyalty and love. If you are looking for YA contemp in the perfect place this one is for you, for older audiences due to content.
About the author: Joanna Philbin was born in Los Angeles and grew up in New York City. She is the daughter of television host Regis Philbin. She started her first novel at the age of seven, but only got as far as the second chapter. She went on to receive her B.A. from Brown University and an M.F.A. from the University of Notre Dame. She now lives in Santa Barbara, California.
Learn more on Goodreads/ author’s blog