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June 11, 2013

Review: Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin

Rules of Summer
Rules of Summer
Joanna Philbin

Publisher: Poppy
Publication date: June 4, 2013
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Source: HBG Canada
Format: ARC
Pages: 352
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. Upon arrival, she's warned by other staff members to avoid socializing with the family, but Rory soon learns that may be easier said than done.

Stifled by her friends and her family's country club scene, seventeen-year-old Isabel Rule, the youngest of the family, embarks on a breathless romance with a guy whom her parents would never approve of. It's the summer for taking chances, and Isabel is bringing Rory along for the ride. But will Rory's own summer romance jeopardize her friendship with Isabel? And, after long-hidden family secrets surface, will the Rules' picture-perfect world ever be the same?
Rules of Summer is a similar but much better read than The Au Pairs by Melissa de la Cruz. Both books are similar in the sense that an average, if not poor, girl ends up working for a rich family, this one living in the Hamptons. What is also similar is that there is a switching POV however this one is only between two girls, Rory, the girl staying at the house for the summer in exchange for being the errand girl, and Isabel Rule, the girl from the rich family that Rory is working for. At the beginning, I felt there would be a bit of cattiness coming from Isabel, however Isabel was a pleasant surprise. She just came back from a full year at a high school in California (her parents sent her there because of her rebelliousness) and now she hates her old life, from the fake friends who are snobs to anyone who isn't rich, the Goergica, the exclusive club that makes these rich people's heads grow bigger, to her family that is trying to find any excuse to point out how big of a screw up she is. 
I do know the synopsis hints at a big mystery.. well it more like says it "long-hidden family secrets" isn't much of a hint, however that never really becomes a big part of the novel.. only towards the end is the secret revealed and you go like "ohh.. yea the synopsis did mention there is a secret or something." This doesn't mean that the book wasn't good, but if you are going into it for that, I say to change your expectations. Now for Rory.. I really tried loving her as a female protagonist but I just couldn't get past the "tolerable enough" state. She gets love struck immediately by Isabel's brother and somehow her world started revolving around him. I hate girls who act like that and can not relate to them at all. In all honesty I didn't enjoy the romance that went on in both Isabel and Rory's lives.. what I did enjoy is their growing friendship and following through their arc and seeing how two girls from two different worlds were able to become friends. 
I cant promise you depth or substance.. this book is a fluffy rummer read. I personally enjoyed the first half more than the second because the full on love fest didn't sit well with me. when two people say "I love you" to each other when they've only been seeing each other for a month.... that makes me roll my eyes.. hard. One thing I  must point out is that this is apparently a series (well.. goodreads says it is) so I am not sure what I feel about that. The ending did feel a tiiiiiny bit open ended, in the sense that their journey promises more, but I didn't expect that. I am looking forward to the sequel and hoping that is when we see more depth and complexity from the characters and the plot. All in all Rules of Summer is perfect for a beach read and fans of summer/contemporary reads! 


  1. I didn't request this because it sounded like a book I'd read before, but I've since seen some positive reviews, so maybe I'll give it a try.

    Ooh, I see that Juhina is reading In the After -- just finished that one and I liked it!

    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

  2. I feel the same about declarations of love too soon. Really annoying. Sorry you didn't enjoy this one as much as you hoped. Great review Juhina :)

  3. Didn't expect that the family secret wasn't a big part of the story. I think I'll like Isabel :)

  4. This definitely sounds like a cute read but I know I'm going to be annoyed by the "I love you" after only a month of seeing each other! Definitely one of those eye-rolling moments for me too!
    Great honest review, Juhina!

  5. This sounds like really light read but I love the daughter books and would love to see how Joanna grows as a writer with a new books about something different.

    Great Review!


  6. I like the story. good review.

  7. Every once in a while I like a fluffy read, but I don't like insta love. It sounds like a cure book though. Great review!

  8. This sounds like a light and fun read. I was kind of intrigued by the "long-hidden family secret" but well, thanks for the heads up I won't expecting too much about it if I ever decided to pick this up. Lovely review, Juhina. :)

  9. I though this was similar to Breathe (by Abbi Glines) where a middle class girl works for the rich family, but that was more on the romance side. I like that this one has a strong friendship in it. This books is very cute and I'm think I would enjoy it for a summer read. Great review :)

  10. I haven't seen this one before, but it sounds interesting. The title didn't make me think of an errand girl/aupair or whatever she is. And that cover's kind of awkward. It looks like she's naked lol. Anyways, I might add this to my tbr. Great review!