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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)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  5,331 ratings  ·  514 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 ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 7th 2005 by Corgi Childrens (first published 1998)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  5,331 ratings  ·  514 reviews

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Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second Joan Bauer. I haven’t read a lot of her books, but I got an impression she is an author who can write feel-good, impressive coming-of-age stories.

The protagonist, Jenna Boller is the best employee at Gladstone’s Shoe Store. Merely a teenager, but she has an excellent insight into shoes and a flair for finding out what her customers need and can make them happy by finding a ‘perfect match’ for them.
But just as other teenagers probably do, she has a lot of issues and is insecure.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Jenna Boller, a 16 year old high school student, has a part-time job at Gladstone's Shoes. When her father comes to the store drunk to make one of his sporadic visits to her, she is afraid that she will be fired. On the contrary, it is the beginning of a journey of self-discovery that she will make with her boss.

This YA novel is told with compassion and good humor and is a great primer for teens struggling with issues of co-dependency and low self-esteem. Even as an adult, I found the book
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 ...more
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jenna learns that she's more than her height, and learns how to cope with her alcoholic father, and Mrs. Gladstone learns some things too. Unfortunately, the details of the shoe business and the road trip read as if the author researched them at a distance; they don't feel authentic. And they're as key to the story as the characters, so that's a problem. Still, Bauer's always worth reading if you're into realistic MG and young YA.

At least here there's no romance, much less triangle or choice!
Oct 24, 2010 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
Rebecca W
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
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
Nikki Putnam
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Not nearly as good as I hoped it would be. Can't figure out how this book won any awards. I have some students who chose this as the book they wanted to read next and so they are, but I doubt I will ever include it on a book list again. Characters are too weak and shallow and there were few if any notable passages that were uniquely written.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm still on my nostalgia tour through my middle school reads. I think one of the reasons that I became a librarian is all the books I read in the summers when I was still too young for a summer job, aside from baby sitting. I loved the library, it was my haven and escape.

Anyway, Rules of the Road was a great summer read when I first read it. Sixteen year old Jenna Boller works part-time in the Gladstone shoe store, and is a natural shoe salesperson, with great interpersonal instincts. She
Graclyn Andrepont
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! I found that parts of it were relatable in so many ways to things I have been through in my life, and even some of the things I’m still going through now.
“So much sadness. So much pain. But remembering the good things — that’s what keeps anyone going.” - Rules of the Road
Maria Copeland
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended by a friend. A quick, fun read with some cute quirks and the occasional surprising twist. I loved Jenna's shoe-sense. Caution: her father is an alcoholic, and the impact of that is pretty clear, which is probably why this book is classed YA.
Pamela Myers
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of of the trade books that we can read for our new curriculum. I LOVED THIS BOOK!
One of my favorite quotes from it, “Now I see that it isn’t the problems along the way that make us or break us. It’s how we learn to stand and face them that makes the difference. “ I’m all for classical literature, but we need literature to address what our sweet, resilient students are going through - I love stories that encourage students to push past their fears and be bold.
Amy Magram
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very engaging YA book which i just finished narrating as a recorded book
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.25 stars—Once again, Joan Bauer does not disappoint. Alternately humorous and touching in all the right places, with beautifully stated and illustrated wisdom.
Oct 10, 2017 added it
Kendyle Suksi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think Joan Bauer is one of the best YA authors out there. This book was tight. Great 80's vibe, cool characters, fun adventures, a heroine growing into herself while dealing with some dad issues. The only cringe moment I had was when she did a eulogy for a man she knew for a month. But there was something nice about this competent young woman working an interesting job in a well described cityscape. Also, the dialogue.

"I held up my license and chirped out, "My passport to new worlds, Murray.
Madelyn Novosad
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melanie Dulaney
Librarians and believers in bibliotherapy listen up--this is a book for that young lady who doubts that she has anything to offer to anyone, a teen who has a substance abusing parent, a young person that thinks money is the answer to everything and for anyone that could use a fabulous book that will grab their heart and give them a chance for a good cry! Jenna's story is all that and more as she struggles to deal with an almost always absent or drunk father, a single parent home, and now a ...more
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
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
Oct 10, 2012 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 ...more
Dec 08, 2011 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 ...more
Margaret H. Willison
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 ...more
Anneliese F.
Oct 05, 2013 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.
Dec 12, 2011 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.
Chasity Grayson
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rules of The Road
Chasity Grayson

The book Rules of the Road created by Joan Bauer is a realist fiction book. Joan Bauer is the Newbery Honor author for her book Hope was here. Rules of the road was the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book prize.This amazing woman has also won the Golden Kite award for Fiction.Rules of the Road,a story about 16 year old, 5’11 Jenna Boller who worked at Gladstone’s Shoe Store.To be a 16 year old, she took her job VERY seriously. She was the
Amy Fagan
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rules of the road by Joan Bauer is about a girl named Jenna Boller, an awkward, 5’11, kind 16 year old girl that has an unusual knack for selling shoes at Gladstone Shoe Store in Chicago. When it’s just any other day at Gladstone’s Madeline Gladstone, the president of Gladstone Shoe Stores across the U.S., suddenly brings up the plan that Jenna will drive her to Texas in her last effort to stop Eden Gladstone, her son, from taking over her company. Funny thing is Jenna has only been driving for ...more
Molly Bearce
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I have read a few of Joan Bauer's books, and I love them, that's why I'm not surprised that I love this one to. Why you ask? Because this book isn't a frivolous summer romance or about some glamour girl.
In fact the main character Jenna is anything but that,"Faith lifted a stack of fashion magazines from the table like they weighed six tons. She is probably going to become a model some day even though I warned her that smiling and twirling under hot lights has been medically
Melissa Carroll
Jenna Boller loves working at Gladstone's Shoes. She can't wait to spend her summer selling shoes and spending time with her best friend Opal, until her alcoholic father comes back to town. Coincidently, Jenna is offered to drive Mrs. Gladstone, owner of all the Gladstone's Shoes stores in the U.S., to Texas. Jenna wants to take up Mrs. Gladstone's offer, but can she escape her problems by leaving town?

Things I liked: This was therapeutic in the sense that you can run away with Jenna from her
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climax and resolution 2 4 Dec 15, 2015 08:50AM  
internal and external conflict 4 13 Dec 10, 2015 08:54AM  
dialogue in Rules of The Road 8 4 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

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“My grandma always said that God made libraries so that people didn't have any excuse to be stupid.” 776 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.”
More quotes…