Christina's Reviews > The Rules of Survival

The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
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's review
Oct 13, 07

it was amazing
bookshelves: realistic
Recommended for: anyone looking for a sad but uplifting story about abuse
Read in October, 2007

17 year old Matt writes a letter to his 9 year old sister Emmie, telling her the events of the last few years that she probably doesn't remember--which culminated in their mother kidnapping her at age 7. From the beginning you know this is not going to be a cheery book. Matt and his middle sister Callie protect Emmie as best they can from the abusive and crazy ways of their mother, who professes to love them, and rarely hits them, but abuses them in all sorts of other ways, from sneaking up on Matt and putting a knife to his throat to convince him not to sneak a cookie, to playing chicken with their car in order to force an "I love you MOM!" out of her terrified passengers. She is unpredictable, vindictive, jealous, addicted to cocaine and alcohol, uses men to get back at ex-boyfriends then tosses them aside. She's just plain nuts, I think. It was painful to read, but at the same time you're rooting for these kids to rise up, survive, and get out of this situation. And as in all of Werlin's books, there's some really good suspenseful situations that'll have you biting your nails.

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