Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Rule of Threes” as Want to Read:
Rule of Threes
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Rule of Threes

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  70 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Mercy Suarez meets The Thing About Jellyfish in this novel about what happens when "perfect" is out of your control. A classic middle grade story told with honesty, nuance, and depth, in the tradition of Rebecca Stead, Holly Goldberg Sloan, and Jerry Spinelli.

How do you share a parent with a stranger?

Maggie's accustomed to leading her life perfectly according to her own we
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 11th 2021 by Chronicle Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Rule of Threes, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Rule of Threes

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  70 ratings  ·  38 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Rule of Threes
Diana | Book of Secrets
✱ 4.5 Stars ✱ RULE OF THREES is an absorbing middle grade family drama that tackles some serious issues, including drug addiction, Alzheimer’s, and infidelity. While these heavy subjects are presented realistically, the ending will leave readers hopeful.

Maggie is a sixth grader, just starting middle school, and she's already feeling stress from an uneasy shift in her friend group from elementary. It's a time when relationships change, and new people come into your life, but Maggie never dreamed
Feb 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: may-2021, ebook, arc
This is such a cute book. And I mean that in the best possible way. It's everything I love about MG fiction. When I say it's cute, I don't mean it's full of fluffy themes, because it isn't. It's actually really complex, and I love it all the more for that.

Maggie has just started middle school. One of her best friends is slowly pulling away from her, and sometimes she calls her grandma and finds that her grandma doesn't remember her. But it's ok, because she has the perfect family. It's just her,
Afoma (Reading Middle Grade)
May 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Rule of Threes is a realistic, absorbing middle grade book about the complexities of family life and how they impact children’s lives. This book highlights that kids can handle more than parents give them credit for. With a design-loving protagonist, a likable step-sibling, and a grandparent with health challenges, this one is perfect for fans of arts and crafts books, sibling stories, and grandparent books.

Read my full review on my blog.

Many thanks to the publisher for an eARC in exchange for a
Feb 20, 2021 added it


I enjoyed reading “Rule of Threes” as it covered many topics for a middle-grade novel.

Although targeted for middle grade, the plot is heavy with some topics like substance abuse, separation, Alzheimer’s, and divorce. Moreover, the characters are realistic and dynamic. The author nicely portrays how emotional and dysfunctional a family can get when uncertainty enters their lives.

Maggie is excellent in the lead as she tries to
Ms. Yingling
Mar 16, 2021 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Maggie enjoys her calm, steady family life with just her parents. She also has two good friends, Olive and Rachel, who join her in her love of design. Maggie particularly enjoys staging rooms, and has quite a box of thrift and dollar store props, so when the school announces a decorating contest, she is super excited. The girls get to work on the office, and Maggie studies the space, talks to the secretaries, and puts in a lot of work to make improve the space. At
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Good solid middle-school book, with all the problems of parents and friendships, and throw in a half-brother that Maggie didn't even know about until she showed up on the front door, and you have a story that can both pull at the heart strings and make your frustrated as well.

Very quick read, mostly because I wanted to see how it all turned out in the end.

We cover aging grandmother, awkward friendships, and of course, the half brother that appeared seemingly out of the blue.

Thanks to Edelweiss
Laurie Hnatiuk
May 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher Chronicle Books for a digital ARC of this title to read.

There are plenty of ways that one could speculate the rationale for the title of the book. Maggie, the main character, is passionate about interior design and follows the rule of threes faithfully when redoing various projects for friends and family. Or perhaps it is the fact that Maggie has two best friends Olive and Rachel, who also share an interest in interior decorating but perhaps not to the s
Mar 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was such a unique Middle-Grade book. It covers topics that are so hard to talk about, especially towards a young audience, like drug addiction or Alzheimer's, and it does so in a way that allows the reader to understand such challenging situations without it being a traumatic experience.

At first, I was scared of the point of view, but the main character grows throughout the novel and learns to see her own privileges, she evolves and starts empathizing with the struggles of others.

All the ch
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
How I read this: Free ebook copy received through Edelweiss

This was a warm, touching, and ambitious middle grade story. I say ambitious, because how do you write about such heavy and complicated things such as parents' cheating on each other, a brother you never knew about along with the problems his mother is having with drugs, and a beloved grandmother who suddenly doesn't remember who you are because of rapidly developing Alzheimer's - and still retain the feel of innocence that comes with a
Apr 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley

This is such a good middle-grade story! I really love when middle-grade authors choose to tackle hard hitting topics in their books, and Marcy Campbell was able to include not just one of these topics, but three! Now, taking on three different topics in one story could have been a downfall for this book, since it can get tricky to give each topic the attention that it deserves, but I honestly think all three topics were handled well here.

This novel covers 1. parental affairs, divorce, and se
Brandi Thompson
Mar 20, 2021 rated it liked it
CW: Drug addiction, overdose

Rule of Threes is a middle grade book about major family changes, with considerable focus on drug addiction.

Rule of Threes focuses on the life of Maggie, a girl who has just started 6th grade with her two 'BFFs'. One day, she gets a big surprise when her half brother shows up in their lives, when his mother is dealing with addiction recovery. A lot of secrets begin to get unraveled, both regarding her brother and the declining well being of her grandmother. Meanwhile
Steph L
Mar 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing

This book had wonderful and complex characters, which is why I gave it the first star. If you know me, you know that I prefer to read character-driven novels as opposed to plot-based ones. I loved the characters in this book because like the world they were living in, they were raw and real. I would call this book middle grade because the characters had personalities that kids of that age group tend to have. The principal character Maggie was sweet, and she had a passion for design, w
Eule Luftschloss
trigger warning
(view spoiler)

Maggie loves her life and want everything to stay as it is. That's the thought she clings to as she discovers she has a half-brother she never knew about before.

I liked the realistic feel of the plot, especially that things tend to come in groups. If you've got one problem, you can be sure more will plop up over night like mushrooms. Also, I liked that the characters treat each other with respect.
Jessica Harrison
May 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Rule of Threes refers to the phenomenon where “bad things always happen in threes.” In Maggie’s situation, that’s her half-brother, school troubles, and her grandmother’s failing memory. As is so often the case, these three elements are tightly intertwined.

Author Marcy Campbell has done an excellent job blending hard topics — divorce, substance abuse, neglect, etc. — with authentic interactions that run the gambit from humorous to heart-wrenching and everything in between.

That authentic
May 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
We follow Maggie , our main character who has a "perfect" life , she has an amazing family and two best friends . Maggie is living her perfect life when ojt of the blue everything changes and her life turns upside down . Her best friend Rachel , no longer acts like herself and prefers to be called "Rakell" which Maggie finds very annoying . Her step brother , who she had no idea existed moves into her house and she is terribly angry at her father for never disclosing this to her before . Maggie' ...more
Feb 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
There are a lot of heavy topics covered in this novel, but it is done in a simple and well explained way. These are, unfortunately, real topics that some kids are having to deal with in their personal lives.

The relationships between siblings and friends were written very realistically. They talked back to each other, argued, etc, but they always worked it out. The kids acted like real kids do. The siblings acted the way real siblings act with each other. I found Maggie to be a self-centered bra
Katie Reilley
May 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author and publisher for sharing a copy with #bookexpedition.

Maggie has a lot going on. She’s starting middle school, and her friendships with her design group, the BFF’s (Best Foot Forward) are changing. Things at home are tricky, too, as her beloved grandmother is becoming more forgetful, and an infidelity from her father’s past is revealed.

But Maggie’s a big believer in the Rule of Threes, and hopes that a design contest at school will bring organization back to her life an
Feb 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of the book from Netgalley to review. Thank you for the opportunity.
I really enjoyed the MG book as it wove together more complex themes with the youthfulneds of being a MG. The MC was a little dorky but true to herself which I felt gives a good message for young readers. It had very good writing in that it had a good flow and was aceessible also. The book brings up multiple complex themes such as half siblings, familial relationships, alzehimers and drug addiction. I liked tha
Mar 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
{Digital copy provided by NetGalley}

Maggie has just started middle school and things are already a little weird when she not only finds out she has a half brother but that he’ll live with her family for a while. This kicks off a period of great change in her life, but over time she leans to embrace the changes as well as truly forming a bond with her new brother.

This was a really accessible read and I loved the characters relationships, especially Maggie and her new brother Tony. The issues and
Mar 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Rule of Threes is about a young girl that is just starting middle school and suddenly things are changing. At first, it's just normal things like friends drifting apart in a new school, but soon enough drastic changes start happening. I felt so bad for the kids in the story. It was so realistic and a lot of it was stuff that, even as an adult, I could relate to. The characters were well written and really came a live to me and the storyline was great. At some points, I had to ...more
Mar 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
DISCLAIMER: I received a digital review copy of RULE OF THREES via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Something I love about middle grade literature is that it’s not afraid to tackle the tough topics, but it still keeps that ray of hope that YA and adult books don’t seem to achieve.

RULE OF THREES, for example, deals with things like parental marital issues, affairs, drug addiction, Alzheimer’s, etc. and handles these issues carefully and effectively, but doesn’t feel weighed down by them.
May 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
[I received a free electronic review copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.]

4 stars = Great! Might re-read.

This was great. I loved Maggie's relationship with her half brother as it evolved over the course of the book. It's unusual to see a middle grade novel deal with an extramarital affair, but it's handled well here. Maggie gets what happened and is angry and grossed out over it, but there's not a lot of space devoted to that piece of the st
Rose Douglas
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
This is a really sweet realistic middle grade novel! The main character, Maggie, is very happy with the life she's always had as an only child with two best friends and a loving grandmother, but as she is transitioning to sixth grade, one by one each of these things begins changing.

I would especially recommend this for girls in fifth and sixth grade, as they will most be able to relate to Maggie's struggles and triumphs in this stage of life.

Note warning for content - drug addition, if this is
Mar 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Sixth grade Maggie is a girl that likes balance, structure, and rules. Her family is well balanced, her friendships are well balanced, she enjoys interior design because of the balance it gives spaces. Soon her life is thrown off balance when family secrets are revealed and friendships begin to change. Maggie's story will be very relatable for readers who are struggling with a life that is suddenly not what they expected. Rule of Threes does a great job of exploring issues that many young reader ...more
May 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Maggie is an aspiring interior designer so she knows all about the rule of threes. Three is the perfect number for a family, a group of best friends, and accent pieces on a table. So what happens when Maggie's friendships start falling apart with everyone keeping secrets? What happens when a mysterious boy shows up, becoming a part of their family? What's going to happen to grandma now that she's losing her memory? Maggie has a lot to deal with in her life right now but she is determined to make ...more
Mar 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, mar-21
I received an ereader arc of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is my first read by this author. I thought it was a great middle grade story about a family that thought it was all together. Maggie was all about ‘threes’-in her BFF decorating club, her family of just her and her parents. Then comes a half brother she’s known nothing about. She leans quickly that life can be good outside of threes. Lots of lessons for family issues, drug abuse and simply unfair things ...more
Psalm Domingo
Apr 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This is a heartwarming story not only for kids but adults too. The way that the book also touched upon marital problems, substance abuse, and the struggles of Alzheimer's disease is admirable.

I loved the way Maggie's relationship with her brother, Tony, developed. It was not smooth, it sure had lots of ups and downs, but it helped them seem more realistic and lovable. The characters are not perfect which makes them all the more relatable and interesting.

This is an enjoyable read. I'd love to rea
Jas Asbill
Feb 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
So many books shy away from representing real lives. As if talking about broken homes, divorce, anger, and addiction are too much for this age group. In my classroom, there are more kids that can identify with some of the family situations in this book than not.

This book took those topics on boldly. The lives of the BFF’s are messy and real and I enjoyed being a part of their journey.

CAWPILE Rating: 8.64
As much as I'd like to say I liked the main characters I just didn't. Maggie Flip Flopped through her emotions and so did the other characters so if you got on board with how they were feeling on page 50 by page 75 they'd be completely different. Also the synopsis reveals way too much. I couldn't believe the brother was revealed around page 40 and by page 80 the grandmother's illness was still not discussed yet. ...more
Mar 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: review-books
A truly cute middle grade story. Our main character, Maggie, has 2 close friends, Olive and Rachel. All is well until Maggie's half brother enters the picture. Triggers include drug addiction, Alzheimer's, trauma. Plot is realistic, easy to follow. Issues surrounding family life and problems, and friendships are prevalent. I liked this one. Thanks to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for this ARC. 3.5 Stars ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Starfish
  • Stowaway
  • The Gatekeeper of Pericael
  • The Last Fallen Star (Gifted Clans #1)
  • The Chance to Fly
  • Winterborne Home for Mayhem and Mystery (Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor, #2)
  • Golden Gate (City Spies, #2)
  • Black Buck
  • Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor (Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor, #1)
  • The Middle Kid
  • A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1)
  • Jo & Rus
  • Yusuf Azeem Is Not a Hero
  • The Wonder
  • Why We Fight (At First Sight, #4)
  • A Place to Hang the Moon
  • The Silver Mask (Magisterium #4)
  • Shipped
See similar books…

News & Interviews

Secrets between siblings, grandparents with grievances, parents with problems. If you're looking for serious drama, check out these new...
25 likes · 3 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »