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Rules of Summer #1

Rules of Summer

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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?

352 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2013

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About the author

Joanna Philbin

17 books321 followers
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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 412 reviews
Profile Image for Bridget.
146 reviews235 followers
February 27, 2022
Honestly, wouldn’t read again. But the vibes were amazing. The forbidden romance trope always gets me and the moments with Connor we’re super cute, although the book was LACKING THEM. the romance felt way too fast paced and it happened out of no where? like magically he fell in love with her, that seems a little odd. I loved Isabel but I wasn’t a fan of mike, the whole 21 and 17 year old irked me a tiny bit even if she was turning 18.

OVERALL, love the vibes, Rory was amazing and super sweet and the 3rd person POV didn’t even bother me that much.

I’d reccomened if you’re looking for something fast paced, not too much drama, and good east coast summer vibes.
Profile Image for Jay.
514 reviews370 followers
October 1, 2013
3.5/5 stars

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 can't 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!
Profile Image for Taylor McBroom.
36 reviews10 followers
July 15, 2013
Rules of Summer was an unexpectedly engrossing novel about love, heartbreak, friendship, and the class system. I started reading it because I was in the mood for a light summer read, then was surprised to find myself halfway through with absolutely no desire to put it down.

Rules of Summer alternates between focusing on Rory and Isabel, a duel narrative that I really enjoyed. It was a nice change of pace from the girl/boy duel narratives. Normally I have a hard time getting into a book that's written in third person, like Rules of Summer, but I had absolutely no trouble at all this time. In fact, I really enjoyed Philbin's writing style. There were a few times where it was unclear which girl was the "she" being referred to, but those instances were brief and cleared up quickly.

Though it may appear to be just a light romantic read, Rules of Summer has much more to it than meets the eye. Rory and Isabel develop a friendship that forces them to examine the differences in their social classes, as does Rory's crush on Isabel's brother and Isabel's infatuation with a guy who is far removed from her country club world. I loved how Rules of Summer had a strong family storyline, and wasn't just about summer romances. There are plenty of those out there.

The biggest love story in this novel is the friendship between Isabel and Rory. It felt genuine to me, and the way both of them grow from it was great to read. Both Rory and Isabel's personalities were very distinct and I connected with them both in different ways. Rory's down-to-earth qualities and how she handled herself in uncomfortable situations were very easy to relate to, while Isabel's need to find herself outside of her family made me root for her the whole way.

My only problem with Rules of Summer was the rushed ending. I wish there had been some more resolution to a few things, or more of the month of August. There was also a twist that I saw a mile away, but also one that I didn't see coming at all. So in my mind that's evened out.

I would definitely recommend Rules of Summer for anyone looking for an engrossing young adult contemporary that has a whole lot of heart.
Profile Image for Princess Bookie.
960 reviews97 followers
May 21, 2013
My Thoughts: I’m one of these people who don’t like it when the perspectives switch back and forth, especially without really telling us. And this book did that, a lot. It did bug me a little bit.

We are introduced to Isabel who is the rich families daughter. She is used to getting what she wants when she wants it. Guys fall at her feet, she never really has to second guess anything.

The other girl in this novel, my favorite, is Rory. Rory comes from another town where she lives with her mother who is like a child. Rory takes care of her more than she should.

Rory goes to spend the summer helping her aunt and waiting on this family. Shes supposed to do errands and just do whatever needs done. Rory thought this could be an opportunity to get away from her mother and see something new.

Rory and Isabel form a complicated and great friendship. It starts out rocky at first but it got interesting to say the least. Both girls also meet guys. Isabel likes a older guy who is a surfer, while Rory likes Isabel's brother Conner.

I really really liked Conner. He is what made the story for me. I just wish we had got to see him more and got to interact more.

This is the story of self discovery, and seeing how the other half lives. I loved Rory as a character and I did like the plot.

Overall: I enjoyed reading it. I thought there would be more rivalry or more scandal but there wasn't too much. Don’t get me wrong, there was some but nothing I found too thrilling or surprising. I enjoyed it but not a favorite I guess.

Cover: Its alright, but it doesn’t really stand out, you know?

What I'd Give It: 3/5 Cupcakes
Taken From Princess Bookie
Profile Image for Allison Bean.
901 reviews7 followers
August 12, 2019
DNF! I can’t believe I’m saying that with this book because I stopped with 2 chapters left!!! It was just boring!
Profile Image for Stephanie (Stepping Out Of The Page).
465 reviews222 followers
June 29, 2013
When I received this book through the post, I hadn't heard of it nor of the author, but I was immediately taken by the contemporary cover and the seasonal title. Admittedly, it's not been very summer-like here in North East England lately, but there's nothing like reading a book to completely sweep you away and, at least in your mind, change where you are! This book took me all the way to the sunny, extravagant Hamptons in the USA.

I wasn't sure if I liked the sound of this book from the blurb or not - a story of an 'average' teenage girl, Rory, leaving home for the summer to spend it in the Hamptons, working for a wealthy family. I don't think I'm the only one that would immediately worry that everything could be completely stereotyped when you read the premise. Nevertheless, I wanted an easy summer read so I gave it a go despite any worries I had, and I'm very glad that I did. I won't say that there are no stereotypes, of course there are some - there simply has to be - but thankfully the author manages to really reach inside the characters in this book, making them all independent and giving them each a real personality.

The characters are of most importance in this book and it's interesting to see the differences between Rory's lifestyle and how the Rules live - though it's actually more interesting to see the similarities between them. Though the Rules may be of higher social status, this book really makes it clear that we're all human and a lot of things, especially emotions can't be changed or swayed thanks to money or popularity. Our two main characters are Rory and Isabel are initially two very separate girls with different lifestyles, but as the book progresses it is really interesting to see what they thought of each other and how they both helped each other in different ways. I didn't particularly like Isabel at the beginning of the book, but thanks to her friendship with Rory she did change and definitely became more likeable. Looking back, from the beginning, Isabel was really the best character for her role, as she initially had her own way of thinking, an attitude, even before Rory came into her life - this made her later actions more realistic and natural.

This book isn't just about Rory and the Rules - there are also romance story lines running throughout as both Rory and Isabel find themselves falling in love with two very different guys that others may find unacceptable for them to date. Again, the class system and social status issues are tested with both parties. I think that Philbin managed it really well, not making the story too cliche and though it was at points somewhat predictable, not making it completely obvious what was going to happen next. The book was very easy to read and so was certainly a page turner. I enjoyed reading about both the friendships and the romantic relationships in this book and how they effected each other.

I enjoyed this book a lot more than first expected when I read the premise and that is because Philbin executed her ideas well. The message came through very clearly - love and friendship can be a lot more valuable than money or popularity and sometimes you do just have to follow your heart, even if others think it's a bad decision. I'd definitely recommend Rules of Summer to any young adult (and perhaps new adult) readers for an easy, enjoyable read this summer.
Profile Image for Stacey (prettybooks).
509 reviews1,548 followers
August 27, 2016
When Rules of Summer fell through my letterbox for review, perfectly timed, I had not heard of it. I was already planning on getting together a little stack of summery books to read and so Rules of Summer went straight onto the pile.

Rory McShane is a fairly normal teenager with a fairly normal life, but with one exception: she has to deal with a very difficult mother who is fond of alcohol and is apparently still stuck in teenagerdom herself. Rory has just had enough and so decides to spend her summer with Aunt Fee, working as an errand girl for a rich family. Rory could do with a well-earned break, relaxing in a massive beachfront mansion, but she gets more than she bargained for when it with the Rule family.

You'll see that the tagline for Rules of Summer is 'there are two sides to every summer', but I actually think Rory's story is the only one worth telling – but that does not mean I wasn't interested in hearing about the youngest member of the Rule family, Isabel. She's spoiled, shallow and incredibly snobby. After all, these are all traits one looks for in a friend, right? Not! Rory's accepted that Isabel will never like her and so tries to stay out of her away, without success. Isabel Rule is, unsurprisingly, a unlikeable character, whereas I warmed to Rory immediately, but I loved the contrast between the two and it only served to make each girl's personality stand out even more.

Joanna Philbin seamlessly switches between third person narrative showing both girls' points of view, often mid-paragraph. Sounds confusing? I'd have thought it would be too, but the way the story is told works wonderfully. I'm used to reading stories told in first person, but I loved the way we were able to see through the eyes of both girls easily, yet not in the usual way. I've mentioned previously how important it is to me that characters are distinct and do not blend in with each other and Joanna certainly avoided that – she truly understood the two teenager girls she invented and it was fun to spend summer with them!

Rules of Summer has everything you could want from a summer book and it left me feeling like I'd just got back from relaxing on a private sandy beach. (A good thing, too, since one function of books is to take you away!).

Thank you Atom for providing this book for review!

I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books.
Profile Image for Suzanne.
635 reviews29 followers
April 16, 2013
The Hamptons is one of those summer resort locations for the 1% wealthy, so working class Rory looks forward to spending a summer at one of those fancy beach mansions even it's just as an unpaid Girl Friday with the family who has employed her aunt as their housekeeper for years. Her mom is a hair stylist who relies on Rory a lot when her latest no account man breaks her heart. Her life in rural New Jersey doesn't exactly thrill.

Now it's time for Rory to see who she is in this new locale, in the domain of the Rule family, headed by a very exacting matriarch and featuring Isabel, the youngest girl, and Conner, one of the boys off at college in California. Rory is surprised to find herself going from adversary to friend with Isabel and even more surprised by the romantic feelings she has for Conner, ones she isn't sure he is free to return because of the extreme difference in their social classes. Hard to believe that's a big stumbling block in 21st century America, but this is a book that trades on its panache and insider information about how the beautiful people live.

Poor girl-rich boy is reversed when Isabel starts to fall for Mike, a community college guy who is gorgeous, loves to surf, and lives in the Hamptons year-round--but in a fairly filthy shack with some roommates. He, too, is a shameful secret. Isabel only gradually gathers the courage to "come out" to her family about Mike. She has never felt so much for any of the country club set, and it's exciting to slum it.

So really, for me: ick. I don't want to read about the snob set or encourage girls to measure themselves against the privileged and think the shallow existence of many depicted here--negatively, granted--is desirable. If people enjoy reading People magazine, Entertainment Weekly, or catching TMZ on TV religiously, then they probably do enjoy vicarious wealth and its trappings, so that would make this a fun choice for summer reading on the beach, lake, or poolside. And who knows: Maybe they will be lucky enough to snag a rich guy and never have to worry about money--or independence--again.

I really shouldn't judge other people's escapism. I certainly have my own.

Profile Image for Kenna Jean .
123 reviews7 followers
June 14, 2016
**Actual Rating 3.5**

I went into this without hearing anything about it from it on booktube or on the book blog relm, and I was perfectly happy about that. Actually I decided to look up Rules of Summer book Review on YouTube and only one video came up, so that should tell you something. I also didn’t really know what this book was about other than a middle class girl starts working for a rich family. I had no idea any of the romances in it or anything like that.
While I really enjoyed reading this, I felt like there wasn’t really much of a main plot. Not rich girl goes to work for rich family for the summer, and hell and romance ensues. That’s pretty much it. While each character had a bit of their own mini-plot line, there wasn’t an overall goal that they were trying to achieve. I did enjoy Isabel and Rory’s own plots in this book, and how they were really changing for the better. The romance plots were also a lot of fun, despite how some of it was kind of rushed, not only in the story telling aspect, but the time frame of this book.
The characterization for the two main characters was amazing. Not only did you get to see Isabel change from prissy, stuck-up, rich girl, to being a really good person, you also got to see Rory come out of her shell and change for the better as well. These two weren’t really stock, two-dimensional characters you see a lot in contemporary. However, I felt like the rest of the characters weren’t very explored. I did enjoy how the author tried to make Rory’s mom immature and not really ready to handle adulthood/motherhood yet, but I still felt like that’s all we got to see of that side of the story.
The writing of this story was really what kept me going. I enjoyed how it wasn’t too forcefully ‘musical’ or too straight forward. It was really just an easy summery read and that’s what I was in the mood for when I picked it up.
While I did really enjoy reading this and I recommend it to anyone who wants to read a fun summery contemporary , I did have some issues with it, so I’m overall rating is 3.5/5 stars!
Profile Image for Myndi .
1,364 reviews51 followers
January 9, 2018
This is not your every day YA Romance. The best part about this book is the fact that the girl friendship trumps the love story. It's more about how Rory and Isabel connect than the side romances of theirs. I also liked how this book showed how some people still view the differences between people with money and people without. How certain people may think they are above others due to how much money they have, or where they're from, or even who they're family is. And how even if we're raised to think that way, we can grow up to see the fault in that and make friends and relationships outside of that limited circle.

I enjoyed Rory's character. She's a strong girl who hasn't had an easy life, but remains open to possibilities in spite of that. I think her and Isabel bring out the best in each other and I really like that friendship.

I think fans of Sarah Dessen and Jay Asher will enjoy this story.
August 14, 2016
Rory McShane decides to spend the summer at the Hamptons working for a wealthy family; it's the same wealthy family her Aunt Fee is a housekeeper for. The Hamptons is a welcome escape from her needy mother and her string of bad boyfriends that somehow find their way into their apartment. All Rory has to do is run errands for the Rule family and in turn she gets to live in this gorgeous beach front mansion. Rory assumes it will be smooth sailing until she meets the youngest Rule, Isabel, who is bratty, conniving and all around horrible. However, Isabel grows as a person as the story progresses, especially when she starts a romance with a local surfer boy who shockingly isn't wealthy. Also, Rory finds herself attracted to Connor Rule, Isabel's brother, who seems, surprisingly, like a decent guy, but she knows a romance with him would be forbidden on many levels. One thing is for sure, this summer is proving to be a crazy one for both Isabel and Rory. Joanna Philbin's Rules of Summer is not a mind-blowing, life-altering book by any means, but it's a fun summertime escape.

Read my review here: http://www.confessionsofabookaddict.c...
Profile Image for Steffi.
2,897 reviews163 followers
June 11, 2015
Ein weiteres YA-Sommerbuch, dass mich leider nicht komplett überzeugen konnte.

Die Geschichte ist absolut nicht neu und sehr klischeehaft. Es konnte mich zwar gewissermaßen unterhalten, aber es war leider nichts besonderes. Außerdem war es wirklich sehr sehr vorhersehbar. Manchmal mag ich sowas, aber hier hätte es vielleicht nen letzten Funken ausgemacht, um das Buch etwas aus der Masse hervorstechen zu lassen.

Sprachlich hatte ich es zum Teil eher kindlich als jugendlich empfunden. Ganz im Ernst, wer sagt mit 17 noch miteinander gehen?! Das mag hier allerdings auch an der Übersetzung liegen und nicht an dem Buch selbst.

Rory fand ich sympathisch, aber ist doch ziemlich blass geblieben. Auch wenn mir Isabel zu Beginn eher unsympathisch war, hat sich zumindest etwas von den anderen Charakter abgehoben. Auch die Jungs sind mir in diesem Buch zu blass geblieben.
November 17, 2020
I love the book Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin. The author did a great job expressing that you have to give everyone a chance because they can surprise you. She showed this very clearly in the characters thoughts and in the ending when summing everything up.
In this Young Adult Fiction book, Rory and Isabel who are from totally different backgrounds and social classes, come together and find that they can be the best of friends. After a long journey, they find that first impressions aren’t what you should judge someone by, and that you should really get to know someone. Rory has a wild mother, and is very responsible, while Isabel is irresponsible and has a pretty good home life. When Rory goes to help her aunt and run errands at the home of the wealthy Rules, she thinks she should stay away from their youngest, Isabel Rule. After Isabel realizes she has fake friends and Rory is covered for her after her mistake, she confides more in Rory and they become friends. They go through ups and downs but eventually realize that they click really well and need each other.
I think that this is a great book that was very clear but also left room for people to create their own points of view on characters and the ways the characters handled things. This book teaches the reader to look past first impressions and to get to know someone before you judge them completely. The other help in the Rules household warned Rory about Isabel before they had even met and Rory took that and tried to stay away before even formally meeting her. This was a mistake on Rory’s behalf, but eventually it was resolved. The book teaches to not do this, but to be aware at the same time. I have judged people before meeting them based on others' advice and recommendations, but I think that you have to get to know and see for yourself because not everyone will see people in the same way.
I give this book 5 stars because it kept me reading, interested, and invested a lot into it. I am already reading the next book in the series, and I would definitely recommend this to a 7th-9th grader.

Profile Image for Nadjab.
1,771 reviews
March 14, 2021
Sonne, Strand und Meer wünscht sich Rory neben ihrem Sommerjob. Als »Mädchen für alles« wird sie ihre Ferien bei der wohlhabenden Familie Rule in den legendären Hamptons verbringen. Doch es kommt alles anders: Die verwöhnte Tochter des Hauses macht ihr das Leben schwer, und sobald Rory Connor, den Sohn, kennenlernt, ist es um sie geschehen. Die Rules halten Rory allerdings nicht gerade für den richtigen Umgang für ihren Nachwuchs. Und Rory steht plötzlich vor der Entscheidung: Kämpft sie um ihre große Liebe, oder verschwindet sie und kehrt in ihr altes Leben zurück, als sei nichts gewesen?

Meine Meinung
Das Buch erzählt abwechselnd aus der Sicht von Rory und Isabel. Rory ist dank ihrer Tante Fee als "Mädchen für alles" bei der Familie Rule in den Hamptons angestellt. Sie will einfach aus ihrem Alltag herausgekommen, in dem sie alles für sich und ihre Mutter regeln muss und etwas erleben. Sie ist klug, nicht auf den Mund gefallen, entschlossen und mutig, aber auch zurückhaltend, was den Umgang mit Jungen betrifft. Isabel ist die jüngste, verwöhnte Tochter der Familie Rule, die es ihren Eltern nicht recht machen kann. Sie ist klug, selbstbewusst und entschlossen, aber auch verunsichert, was ihre Gefühle und ihre eigenen Wünsche betrifft. Beide verlieben sich in jemanden, in denen sie sich nicht verlieben sollten, doch es ist für beide schwierig, diese Gefühle zu verheimlichen, weshalb Isabel in Rory eine Freundin findet, obwohl sie aus unterschiedlichen Welten stammen. Auch wenn die Geschichte kaum überraschende Wendungen und Entwicklungen bietet, so zeigt sie auf, wie ähnlich und verschieden Menschen ihren Sommer und ihr Leben verbringen. Es ist eine Geschichte über das Sein und den Schein, was interessant war. Der Schreibstil ist angenehm und flüssig zu lesen.

Ein gelungener Auftakt mit interessanten Protagonistinnen, der mich gut unterhalten konnte, auch wenn er vorhersehbar war, daher gibt es verdiente
3,5 von 5 Würmchen
Profile Image for Mia.
157 reviews
May 19, 2020
I really hated Isabelle in the beginning of the book: she littered, was extremely rude to her family and Rory, snobby, littered, wanted to drive without a permit... the list goes on. However, about halfway through the book Isabelle did a compete 180 and became much more tolerable, dare I even say likeable. I had a better understanding for the reason in which sue acts out, due to the neglect of her parents. Rorys character I really enjoyed, she was a hardworking, kind girl who was getting shamed by the hamptons rich. I really enjoyed all aspects of this book, except the romance... which is the main focus of the book. Rorys relationship with Connor was boring and I feel like we never really saw them fall in love. As for Mike, I found that relationship very forced and uncomfortable given the age gap with 17 year old Isabelle.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Shanoe.
1,423 reviews16 followers
June 28, 2018
Selten hab ich bei einem Buch so stark gemerkt, dass ich nicht die Zielgruppe bin. Ich glaube, wäre ich noch im Teenager-Alter, hätte es mir schon gefallen. So aber fand ich alles zu vorhersehbar, die Charaktere irgendwie ... mäh. Die beiden weiblichen Perspektiven waren nicht wahnsinnig spannend, da ist Rory, das wahnsinnig schüchterne Mädchen, das irgendwie schon sehr erwachsen ist, weil es das Leben nicht so gut mit ihr gemeint hat und dann haben wir Isabel, die verzogene reiche Göre, die sich sooooooooo unverstanden fühlt. Die Jungs/Männer in der Geschichte bleiben allesamt ziemlich blass, ich kann nicht mal ansatzweise nachvollziehen warum die Mädchen sich für sie interessieren. Nein, das war leider nichts.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews837 followers
August 4, 2014
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin
Book One of the Rules of Summer series
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Review copy sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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?

What I Liked:

I have a secret to tell you all: I LOVE books like these, when the two protagonists come from two very different social backgrounds, and fall in love. I don't read too many of them (heck, I don't really like contemporary novels), but I LOVE contemporary romance novels like that. I believe All In by Marta Brown features this type of story and romance, though I have not read that one yet (I own a copy though).

I was pleasantly surprised when I finished this book and realized that I really enjoyed it! As I said before, I love books with a "poor" girl and super rich boy (or vice versa), and this book actually features both types of relationships. Rory, the summer errand girl, falls for Connor Rule, one of the sons of the family. Isabel Rule, one of the daughters, falls for Mike, a farmer's son.

This book is told from both Rory and Isabel's perspective, but both are in third person. In the beginning, I vastly preferred Rory's perspective. Rory is level-headed, intelligent, thoughtful, with a slow-burn temper. She and I are very similar, and I have a lot of respect for her. Her character development is subtle, but I love what Philbin does with Rory. As her story progresses, Rory gets braver and braver when it comes to what she wants, and in the end, she stands up for herself.

Isabel is different. In the beginning, Isabel seems shallow and self-centered, although she also seems frustrated with her life. She's the typical partying, troublesome, spoiled rich girl, who got kicked out of school and is always getting what she wants. She meets Mike when she almost drowns, and he pulls her out of the water. She can't stop thinking about him, he can't stop thinking about her, and a summer fling begins. Except for Isabel, and Mike, it's so much more.

Isabel grows up quite a bit in this book. She learns who really are her friends, and finds that she can trust and rely on the "help" (Rory) more than she can on her socialite friends. When Isabel falls in love with Mike, she's unsure of what she's doing, because he doesn't bow to her every command. Mike is mysterious, a wild card, and Isabel isn't used to this. Isabel is spoiled and rich, but she learns how to be more "human" in this book, due to her relationship with Mike, and her budding friendship with Rory.

That's something that I really liked about this book - besides the character development, the demonstration of real relationships is abundant in this book. Rory and Connor fall in love, and even though it takes them longer to get together, and the spotlight isn't on them, their relationship is beautifully crafted. The romance in this book is more focused on Mike and Isabel, and I liked their relationship as well. Friendship is important too - Rory and Isabel become good friends, despite their social differences.

I really enjoyed the romances, as I mentioned (though I wanted more Connor and Rory). I definitely like how this book is part of a SERIES series, and not a companion series. I cannot wait to see how Isabel figures out her love life - I'm excited, just from reading book two's summary. My review of book two will be posted later this week!

What I Did Not Like:

Me labeling this book as a "contemporary romance" novel isn't completely fair - romance isn't all that is on Rory's mind. Isabel, maybe, but not Rory. However, that's just it - I wanted to see more romance and chemistry and whatnot from Rory and Connor. I was a tad bit disappointed by how little scenes there were between Connor and Rory alone - I wanted more! Perhaps in the next book, right?

Would I Recommend It:

If you're looking for a good, fun, summer contemporary romance novel, then look no further! This book came out last year, but I think it's fresh and awesome. And the second book (which comes out this month) is NOT a companion novel, but it's an actual sequel! That's pretty rare these days, when it comes to contemporary romance novels. If you like contemporary romance novels, definitely check out this series!


4 stars. This is a great summer romance read! I can honestly say I don't read too many summer contemporary romance novels, but I liked this one well enough! I'll be reviewing book two, Since Last Summer, here on the blog on Thursday!
Profile Image for Mary.
1,014 reviews4 followers
July 3, 2018
This was not high literature - pure escapism. I did like the main character, but the plot and writing were subpar.

I do enjoy a well written YA book, but I have an axe to grind with the genre in general. In so many of these books underage drinking is portrayed as normal and sometimes even glorified. This is a big problem. The teenage brain is still developing and alcohol has a proven negative effect on that development. The adults who write these books should keep that in mind. I never see illegal drug use by teens glorified, so why alcohol? It IS illegal for teens. Also, someone reading the YA genre would get the impression that it is normal for ALL teenagers to be regularly drinking alcohol. Actually, close to half of teenagers never touch alcohol, so that should also be portrayed more accurately. Maybe if teen drinking wasn't romanticized, even less would be doing so.
Rant over.
Profile Image for Emeline.
247 reviews1 follower
May 17, 2022
Petit livre bien sympa pour commencer l’été en douceur!!
C’est super rapide et j’ai bien lu en faisant bronzette sur ma bouée (en veillant à ne pas faire tomber le livre dans la piscine n’est-ce pas!). Si il y avait les demi étoiles j’aurais mis 3,5⭐️ mais bon on fait avec
Très enfantin certes, j’ai été divertie et c’est le plus important voilà quoi hâte la prochaine lecture de l’été!!
Profile Image for Alessia.
97 reviews2 followers
July 31, 2017
This book was okay.. I really liked the second half but the first half was just so boring which made it difficult to get through so 3 stars it is.
Profile Image for emily wang.
18 reviews
August 12, 2021
this book was exactly as i expected. romance, friendships and summer/beach vibes. obx without all the treasure hunts and murdering if you will. not too much to say about this book. maybe not a must-read but def a light, feel-good read.
Profile Image for athishaya.
21 reviews7 followers
May 25, 2022
The storyline was all over the place but I actually really enjoyed the old-money, summer vibes from this book.

Profile Image for elena.
50 reviews4 followers
July 8, 2022
i think this was more 4.5 stars because it was just a really good summer book and i love connor
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