Author: Ashley Elston
Publication Date: 14 May, 2013
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Amazon | Goodreads
She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.I was pretty excited about reading this book, because, come on, just take a look at the blurb, will you? And I wasn't disappointed.
Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.
But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.
Meg had the perfect family. Her father was a lawyer, her mum loved to organize parties at home, she and her friends were the 'cool' people at school, and yeah, her sister was the typical pesky little sister, but whatever, you can't have everything. And then, one day, the day she finds out that not everything you see is true, everything collapses. Her father did 'something' (if only she knew what!) and now they're all stuck in the Witness Protection Program with the FBI
Meg and her family have been on the run for eight months. They call it Witness Protection Program, but for all intents and purposes, it's the same thing as being on the run. Every few months the 'Suits' turn up and yank them out of their current safe house (you cant call it 'home'), stuff them into a windowless van and off they go to their next destination.
This time, their destination is Natchitoches. After eight months of no stability or answers, and having to leave new friends every time, Meg is determined for things to change:
1. I will not join any clubs
2. I will not try out for cheerleading or any other sports/teams
3. I will not make any friends
4. I will discover the truth no matter what
Needless to say, she doesn't really succeed in her goal to not socialize, because the people in this town are just as determined to include her. On her first day of school, she meets Ethan, who very quickly sees the discrepancies in her back story. Pretty soon, she makes an enemy in Ethan's twin sister, Emma. Her father wont give her any answers despite her questioning him, her mother is almost constantly in a drunken state, and her sister Teeny goes into a panic if she sees men in suits or if Meg comes home late. And on top of all this, she's almost certain she's being followed.
My heart went out to Meg and Teeny. I can't imagine how it would be to have every single movement monitored (she cant even go online), and never know when you might have to pack up and go. It's obvious that being in the program changed Meg in a fundamental way. Her relationship with her sister is much closer, almost like they're each others only anchor. And with her mother incapable of taking care of them, it falls on Meg to do things for Teeny. She reminded me of Katniss from The Hunger Games in that aspect. The author gave Teeny a central role in the story, and this is one of the few books I've read that does that.
I loved that even though they're names were changed so often, they still kept some part of themselves with them. When it's just family, her father still calls them by their nick names - Sissy (Meg) and Teeny. Teeny's current name is Mary, but I came to think of her as just Teeny; the names suits her perfectly.
The secondary characters in the story are great. Ethan turns out to be persistent in his pursuit of Meg. Inspite of her pushing him away time and again, and sending him mixed signals, he still goes out of his way to be nice to her and Teeny. The budding relationship between the two has several 'aww' moments, when they're just too cute for word; you know, that stage when they're still shy with each other.
During Meg's search for the truth, we find out more about her past, and slowly, the truth comes out. There were several instances when what was happening was so clear, but still Meg just didn't get it, and that really makes you want to smack her a bit. She doubts herself and keeps thinking that it's all 'in her head'. Really, when a person start behaving way out of the norm and your journal goes disappearing, would you still think it's 'all in your head'?
The mystery is in layers and each is peeled back at its own pace. At the end, there's still one one little mystery left unsolved, and you know me, I like my ends tied firmly, so that drove me a bit crazy for sometime.
Each chapter starts with a Rule for Disappearing by Witness Protection Prisoner #18A7R04M, which was one of highlights of the book for me.
In parts sweet (the romance) and intriguing, in parts makes you want to hit the MC for being so thickheaded, The Rules for Disappearing is a light mystery that leaves you wanting for more.
The guilt eats at me every time I lie. I'm going to need counseling at some point - maybe I should find a Liars Anonymous meeting, "Hi, I'm Meg from Louisiana. No, that's not right. I'm Suzie from Texas. No, that not right either..."
This quote is the perfect portrayal of Meg's character. It brings out the constant changes that she goes through and how painful they are for her, while her humour and positive way of dealing with things also shines through!
About the Author
Ashley Elston lives is North Louisiana with her husband, three sons and two cats. She worked as a wedding and portrait photographer for ten years until she decided to pursue writing full time. Ashley is also a licensed Landscape Horticulturist and helps her husband run a commercial lawn and landscaping business. They also custom harvest pecans and have cows. Yes, cows.
ashleyelston.com | twitter.com/ashley_elston