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Rules of the Road (Rules of the Road, #1)
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Rules of the Road (Rules of the Road #1)

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  4,720 Ratings  ·  454 Reviews
Meet Jenna Boller, star employee at Gladstone Shoe Store in Chicago. Standing a gawky 5'11" at 16 years old, Jenna is the kind of girl most likely to stand out in the crowd for all the wrong reasons. But that doesn't stop Madeline Gladstone, the president of Gladstone's Shoes 176 outlets in 37 states, from hiring Jenna to drive her cross country in a last ditch effort to s ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 7th 2005 by Corgi Childrens (first published 1998)
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Oct 24, 2010 Divya rated it it was amazing
I thought that this is one of Bauer's best books yet! I love how she transforms what people consider a lowly job into something of interest.
Jenna is normal, and one thing I love is that the author doesn't emphasize on what she looks like. She works at Gladstone's, a shoe store, where she is passionate about selling shoes. As the book went on I began to wish that I sold shoes too. Jenna has a sister, Faith, a witty mom, and an alcoholic dad. Her mom, Jenna, and Faith left her dad years ago, yet
This is the kind of book about women that the world needs, which is to say it is in no way chick-lit. The protagonist is an ugly-duckling teenager who loves to sell shoes and chaffeurs her 70-something boss around the midwestern and southern US. The majority of the book is spent with this teenage girl, who is anything but frivolous, and a hard-as-nails septuagenarian. There are a couple kind-hearted shoes salesmen and a drunken father, but these are just bit parts. At this book's heart is a stor ...more
I’ve been noting which books I’ve read before, and trying to note what I thought of them at the time because I think my thoughts on them from when I actually was a teen are valuable. I don’t remember when I read this one, but I remember enjoying it, liking the writing, and going on to read more by Bauer. And I picked up a used copy when I ran into one. So that’s a fair level of commitment. I didn’t remember anything at all about it, but as soon as I began it I recognized it.

When Jenna’s boss dem
Amy (A Magical World of Words)
I first read this about two years ago. It was just as good as I remember.

The characters are interesting, witty and relatable. The dialogue is witty, believable, and hilarious. And I mean hilarious!! There are some definite laugh-out-loud moments, and with such strong characters with diverse personalities it was thoroughly enjoyable to read :D
Also, there was plenty of wisdom and strong life-lessons in the book. I kinda felt that I grew along with Jenna in her journey.
And I could easily relate
This is a charming coming-of-age story. Jenna loves working at Gladstone Shoes. An unexpected visit from the elderly owner of the company lands her a chaeffuer job. While driving her elderly boss across the country, she finds the courage to stop running away from her own problems and maybe help solve some of Mrs. Gladstone's too.

This was incredibly sweet, perhaps too sweet. There are moments where you must suspend your belief, but it ultimately proved to be a worthwhile read. I will admit that i
Madelyn Novosad
Oct 04, 2011 Madelyn Novosad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
ashley nicole
Dec 12, 2016 ashley nicole rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
This is such a heartwarming book that teaches some very important lessons. Themes like never giving up and speaking the truth really stuck out to me. Jenna deals with guilt from things that aren't really her fault; and she has to deal with that. In many ways I could relate to Jenna in feeling guilty. But I love how she finds freedom. I would definitely recommend this book to any age.
Linda Lipko
Dealing with the very tough topic of alcoholism and the way in which it impacts those in contact with the alcoholic, Bauer appears to know this topic well.

As the oldest child of an alcoholic father, Jenna has learned the games involved, the lies, the deceit and the shame. She has learned all too well how to feel responsible and guilty. When her near do well father breezes into town drunk once again, she decides to take advantage of a unique opportunity.

Working as a shoe sales person in Gladstone
Oct 10, 2012 Cherylann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, realistic-fiction
I feel like I've been reading books about quests lately. My last two books were fantasies in which the heroes and heroines headed off on a quest to save either the world or their clan and restore balance to the world. In Rules of the Road, the protagonist is not a demi-god or a vessel. She's just a 16 year old girl. A 16 year old who works part-time selling shoes and hopes to earn enough money over the summer to buy a car. Jenna never expected Mrs. Gladstone, the aging owner of a chain of shoe s ...more
Dec 08, 2011 Raelene rated it it was amazing
Fantastic; I can't give this one enough stars. I'm particularly impressed with the characterization and voice of Bauer's 16 year old protagonist. There is no condescension, no "dumbing-down." It is obvious that she has great respect for teenagers and their strength of character, their capacity to think and to reason and to contribute, when given the opportunity, in even the most serious situations, and their potential to effect positive outcomes as a result of their own free will. I'd love to te ...more
Margaret H.
Feb 17, 2010 Margaret H. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a comfort re-read and it worked just great. I love all of Joan Bauer's books, but this one might just be her best-- although Hope Was Here is pretty outstanding too. I think it's really the delicacy and intelligence with which Bauer handles Jenna's alcoholic dad that separates this book from more standard teen fare, especially when combined with the funny, innovative and fully-realized main plot. While the happy ending for the main plot is reached somewhat improbably, it obeys the inter ...more
Dec 12, 2011 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who knew I could love a book that talked about shoes from the beginning to the end. And not the glamorous side of shoes either lol... But I enjoyed this book. Jenna has a lot to learn about life and about how her father's issues cannot rest on her shoulder's any longer if she is going to have a productive life. I enjoyed her journey almost as much as she did and I felt a genuine connection with her character.
Anneliese F.
Oct 05, 2013 Anneliese F. rated it really liked it
This book was phenomenal! The ending had such an amazing surprise and then rushed into little sequences to follow the ending! This book was written to entertain readers. And as a matter of fact, IT DID! This novel is a feel-good, strong, and powerful book for sure! Joan Bauer is an amazing author and I would personally like to thank her for creating such an inspiring and award-winning (at least to me) novel, Rules of the Road.
Jan 31, 2017 Janet rated it really liked it
Rules of the Road is a young adult novel about a teenage girl, Jenna, that like many girls in that stage are very insecure. She feels insecure particularly due to her height, 5’11 which is taller than most and she also has some insecurities revealed when she stated that she did not feel as pretty as her younger sister, Faith. Her mother is a single mother who is a registered nurse who works at a hospital and her father is an alcoholic (they are divorced). Jenna works at a shoe store, doing what ...more
Bethany Ruccolo
Jan 31, 2017 Bethany Ruccolo rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex Leigh
Jan 29, 2017 Alex Leigh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: is-426
Rules of the Road follows the journey of Jenna Boller, a hardworking teen who dedicates her life to selling, (of all things), shoes. During the summer, Jenna unexpectedly receives an offer to work as a chauffeur for none other than crotchety, seventy-year-old Madeline Gladstone, the head of her shoe store's giant company. Jenna drives Mrs. Gladstone around the U.S. as she prepares to retire at the forceful behest of her scheming, villainous son. During her cross-country adventure, Jenna meets ...more
Stephanie Bolton
Jan 30, 2017 Stephanie Bolton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jenna Boller loves shoes. Specifically, she loves selling shoes. She lives for her part-time job at Gladstone's. There she knows what to do. She can look at a person and know what they need from her as a salesclerk and what they need from their shoes. When she's on the sales floor, life makes sense. That peaceful haven is about to be threatened on multiple fronts. Her estranged alcoholic father returns back to town causing ripples of discontentment throughout her family. So when the CEO of Glads ...more
Alex Valencia
Jan 31, 2017 Alex Valencia rated it really liked it
"Rules of the Road" is a young adult novel by, Joan Butler, which follows Jenna Boller as she goes on a road trip from Chicago to Texas with her cranky old boss from the shoe store in which she works in, Gladstone Shoes. Not only is the cranky old lady her boss but Mrs. Gladstone herself owner of over 100 shoe stores across the nation. Needless to say this is an important trip for Jenna's future. Jenna's is hitting the road to avoid some other issues in her life as well. Her father, an alcoholic ...more
Jan 30, 2017 Helen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 31, 2017 Laura rated it liked it
Rules of the Road, is a coming of age young adult novel that follows Jenna throughout a life changing road trip. Jenna is a sixteen year old girl with problems in her life and although she is escaping them somewhat on her road trip she is also forced to face them head on. Through out the novel she meets new people and grows up in the process. There are themes such as alcoholism, corporate greed, and family issues as well.

I liked this book, it was a fast read and although some of the topics are
Wendy Nunez
Feb 02, 2017 Wendy Nunez rated it really liked it
I really like this book because all the female characters in the story appear to be really strong independent women. Also, because the main character is a female and because the story doesn't end in a typical happy end.
The story is about a teen girl named Jenna, she is insecure about her height and her weight and everything about her. She goes to school and works part-time selling selling shoes. She has an alcoholic dad that only appears every once in a while and she feels like its because of h
Jan 31, 2017 Erika rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-lit-class
The main character Jenna is a pretty humorous character who works at Gladstone's shoes. She is a good student and generally fares well in a lot of the things that she does. She doesn't particularly like herself, but eventually starts realizing that she isn't responsible for things like her father's alcoholism. I personally thought this book was going to be a little better since she's working at a shoes store, but I felt like this book was too ideal, like things are happening as they should as th ...more
Bailey Miller
Jan 17, 2017 Bailey Miller rated it really liked it
Have you ever felt like you are not brave enough to talk to your parents about a serious issue? You are not the only one. Jenna needed to address a serious problem with her father, however she was scared to talk to him and she felt that she was not brave enough to do so. She learned that sometimes in life you have to step outside of your comfort zone and do the things you are terrified of doing. This book was more than I had hoped it would be. From the dramatic problems in the middle of the book ...more
Feb 08, 2017 Luke rated it really liked it
Rules of The Road is awesome- I love Joan Bauer's way of flowing the story carefully with the characters so that in some parts the characters seem to develop ahead of the story, and sometimes, they get hit hard by the story. However, I think it's just this particular story that doesn't have as much of a problem (that is to say, as much of a dramatic problem that's hidden and almost corrupted) as Hope Was Here, one of my favorite books (it's by Joan Bauer). Overall, maybe a 8.75/10? A great book, ...more
Jan 28, 2017 Melliott rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. I particularly liked it for its portrayal of strong women: Mrs. Gladstone is determined to prevail against those who wish to undermine her company; Jenna's mother has coped with her absent ex's alcoholism and works hard as an ER nurse to support her two girls; and Jenna herself, though in some ways self-doubting, steps up to do the right thing in almost every circumstance in which she is placed. Yes, the story may be a little idealistic in these respects, but it's nice to re ...more
Renee Starosta
Feb 07, 2017 Renee Starosta rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite authors, Joan is an ace at incorporating heartfelt meaning into something as common as a shoe. She makes it easy to understand with the same eagerness you get when you are reading a mystery. Her "evil" characters make the book that much more exciting. I just can't stop reading this book (seeing as this is the third time I've picked it up).
Dec 16, 2016 emma rated it liked it
This was far better than I thought it would be, I got attached to the characters and it pulled me into their little world even though I care and know nothing of the shoe business. This was just such a lovely read and I really enjoyed the main character, Jenna.
Adaeze Ezeanioma
Feb 02, 2017 Adaeze Ezeanioma rated it liked it
a good read, easy to follow ... somewhat relatable...strong female protagonist! so different from the books I enjoyed my time with it!
Alyssa the Reader
good defiant protagonist
Jan 12, 2017 Jeannine rated it really liked it
Best one yet! I love Bauer's characters.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
climax and resolution 2 4 Dec 15, 2015 08:50AM  
internal and external conflict 4 5 Dec 10, 2015 08:54AM  
dialogue in Rules of The Road 8 2 Dec 04, 2015 06:34AM  
Awesome book! 4 25 Mar 01, 2012 06:06PM  
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July 12, 1951 - I was born at eleven A.M., a most reasonable time, my mother often said, and when the nurse put me in my mother's arms for the first time I had both a nasty case of the hiccups and no discernible forehead (it's since grown in). I've always believed in comic entrances.

As I grew up in River Forest, Illinois, in the 1950's, I seem to remember a
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Other Books in the Series

Rules of the Road (2 books)
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“My grandma always said that God made libraries so that people didn't have any excuse to be stupid.” 732 likes
“It seemed to me that the people who made the rules of the road had figured out everything that would help a person drive safely right down to having a sign that tells you you're passing through a place where deer cross. Somebody should stick up some signs on the highway of life.


Blinking yellow lights when you're about to to something stupid.

Stop signs in front of people who could hurt you.

Green lights shining when you're doing the right thing.

It would make the whole experience easier.”
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