The Rules for Disappearing

The Rules for Disappearing

3.91 (8,599 ratings by Goodreads)
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She's been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she's been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last. Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they've given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do-or see-that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all of the Suits' rules-and her dad's silence. If he won't help, it's time she got some answers for herself. But Meg isn't counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who's too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there's only one rule that really matters-survival.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 312 pages
  • 147 x 211 x 30mm | 476g
  • United States
  • English
  • 1423168976
  • 9781423168973
  • 682,751

Review quote

After eight months and six different identities, Meg and her family are fractured to pieces by the time they wearily settle in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Meg has no idea why her family is in the Witness Protection Program. She does know, however, that in Natchitoches, she will not make any emotional attachments. It's just too hard, being ripped away from friends without a good-bye. Right away, though, Meg's resolve is tested. Ethan brings everything Meg needs in her life-companionship, loyalty, fun, and romance-if she would let him. But as Meg gradually learns the reasons for their confinement, she realizes that she needs to push Ethan away for his own safety. The sweet, sexy attraction between Meg and Ethan will captivate romance readers, while the suspense that runs tautly through the story will widen the novel's readership. If this were a movie, viewers would be screaming at Meg, "Don't go in there!" A contemporary suggestion for Lois Duncan fans. - Diane Colson Booklist Online"
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About Ashley Elston

Ashley Elston is the daughter of an attorney and grew up surrounded by talk of court cases, crazy clients, and the law in general all of which triggered the ideas in THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING. She has a Liberal Arts degree from Louisiana State University and lives in Shreveport, Louisiana with her husband and three young sons.
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Rating details

8,599 ratings
3.91 out of 5 stars
5 34% (2,887)
4 33% (2,877)
3 25% (2,145)
2 6% (539)
1 2% (151)

Our customer reviews

The Rules for Disappearing is probably one of my favorite contemporaries that I've read. While I am not usually drawn to the genre, I chose to read and review this novel because the author, Ashley Elston, is from my area. I read the book well before it's time on my reading schedule because I was a bit curious about the writing style, and I like glancing at the first page when I'm scheduling myself a certain amount of reading time. The next day, I had finished the book. I guess I should tell you a little about the book itself. I want to call The Rules for Disappearing a light read because I breezed through it, though it's not necessarily light subject matter. Bad guys being out to get you and ending up in the Witness Protection Program isn't exactly a walk in the park. Poor Meg has to deal with constant upheaval, a loss of her former life, being deterred from making any new connections, a closed off day, a breaking down sister, and an alcoholic mom. However, it was easy for me to connect with her because she still goes through many things that teenagers deal with, Witness Protection or not. Meg feels like she's an outcast with ugly clothes, betrayed by her friends, and responsible for sticking her nose precisely where it doesn't belong. I think we've all been there. I felt like a lot of what Meg went through was metaphors for those (and other) teen struggles. I really liked most of the characters, which helped move the story along. Meg was tired of her situation, and I love that she decided to do something about it. The mom in me was screaming at her because it was a terrible idea, but still. You have to love a YA heroine that doesn't just lie down and accept what's happened to her or wait on Prince Charming to rescue her. She also loves her family despite their flaws, real or imagined, and is very protective of her little sister, Teeny. Ethan, the love interest, stole my heart. He didn't give up on Meg no matter how many times she pushed him away, and he was always there for her, no questions asked. I even liked Meg's parents - Dad really did have their best interests at heart and Mom was trying, dammit. I don't want to give too much of the story away because it really is a fun read. I was never exactly surprised by the events in the book, but I didn't grow bored with them. There was just enough suspense to keep me interested, but not so much tension that it made me skip ahead in the book. (Yes, I am guilty of that.) There is some romance involved in the book, but if that isn't your thing, rest assured that it does not overwhelm the story's plot. All in all, I think The Rules for Disappearing will be enjoyed by most YA readers, especially teens. It's a great mystery with realistic characters and is a fun and easy read. 4.5/5 Stars *To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for reviewing purposes as a part of Itching for Books Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review. The advance digital copy was provided to the tour by the publisher, which has in no way affected the outcome. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my more
by Kayla Beck
The Characters- Meg- Meg is the older sister. She's hurting from all this running, being in witness protection. She's angry at her father. He won't tell her what he did to get them in this situation and it makes her more angry and withdrawn every time they have to move. Six moves in eight months. She has rules now about not getting attached to anyone. Not making friends. Closing herself off to people and keeping her story to herself. Her mother gets worse every day. And her little sister Mary is losing herself. Meg feels desperate to find out why they are in witness protection and to do something about it. I felt desperate right along with her, but I hated every time she pushed Ethan away or wouldn't go somewhere with someone that was trying to be friends with her. I understood her predicament. I could empathize with her, but I didn't want it for her or the people she pushed away. I did like how her character developed though I thought she could have trusted Ethan a little more a little sooner. Ethan- Ethan is a cute boy. He isn't a hero or a bad boy, he's got a bit of country in him, but when you live in a small town in Louisiana you do what you can to have fun. He is immediately drawn to Meg, maybe because she is new, but there doesn't seem to be any other girl that is vying for his attention. He's sweet, he teaches Mary how to make pizzas in the back of Pearl's where Meg worked. He takes the time to try to figure Meg out. He searches her out at school. He goes out of his way to take Meg and Mary to school and starts to bring Mary out of her shell so that she's more like herself, the person she was before all this happened. There were so many secondary characters, nicely layered Mary probably had the most back story as the little sister, sharing this terrible journey with Meg. But where Meg was the protector, Mary reminded Meg of having fun, of what it was like to be a kid again. Mary reminded Meg to enjoy whatever there was to live for while they could. Mom was a fall out on the floor alcoholic and Dad was an angry, stoic bury his head in the sand figure. I think he was trying to make a deal with someone but I could never really figure that part of the story out. The world- Natchitoches, Louisiana. It is described as a small town with a quaint downtown, historic homes, cobblestone streets. Farms further out. A lot of the story takes place at the high school, the pizza shop, Ethan's father's farm or the little bungalows that Meg's family is living in. It's in a rather run down part of town. Her father works in a factory, her mother is too drunk to do anything. And Meg works every day with Mary coming to work with her. It's winter close to Mardi Gras. The Story- Of course it's the story about a family in Witness Protection. But it's really about the effects of it on one girl and how she is determined to get out of it. I honestly was expecting a lighter story. But this is not a light story. Ethan catches Meg in a lie the second day of school and she finds herself trying to keep ahead of him most of the time. Meg constantly feels like she's being followed. She has several close calls when the lights go out or her belongings seem to have been gone through but nothing taken. One agent always seems to be right on her tail every time she turns around. And then she finds out the reason they are in Witness Protection. And it's nothing like she thought. And she is even more determined to fix things and get her family out of it. But her planning skills leave a lot to be desired and she has no money to get where she needs to go. And then, her mother gets worse. And it's all down hill from there. I honestly saw no way out of this for her. I figured this would be a series the way this was going. Meg is definitely a determined girl. She doesn't want to keep anyone close to her because anyone that knows anything is in danger. And yet, she can't help her family without a little help on her own. She really tries her best not to get involved with anyone, but she's a senior in high school, halfway through the year. I felt her aching for friends. Her need to fit in. But yet she's not even thinking about that, she's got this huge thing hanging over her head. I thought the story was really well written, the creepy parts with Meg feeling like she was being followed had me creeped out, too. I was scared right along with her. The twists and turns in the novel will definitely keep you guessing right to the very last page. I wasn't expecting that ending, not the last page. But then again, it wasn't unexpected. The story is fast paced and will have you flipping pages almost faster than you can read them. I loved this novel for the suspense, the romance, the sisterly bond, and the mystery. I received an e-ARC of this novel from Disney-Hyperion through Net-Galley for review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and were not influenced in any more
by Heather Rosdol
Loved this premise, and The Rules for Disappearing definitely delivered. It packed a lot of emotion that I wouldn't have necessarily expected. I connected with Meg, she was smart, and loyal to her family in a big way. I also loved her snark. She is by no means perfect because she has low self esteem at times (another reason I connected for her and cheered for her.) The moving around from being in the witness protection program has taken a huge stress on her family, and Meg had to step up in ways that no teenager ever should. Taking responsibility for her little sister like she did told me so much about her character. I loved them both and hurt for everything they saw with their mom, the fear that they lived in, and I melted a bit at how deep their love for each other is. The way that the first couple pages set it up is that there would be a love triangle, and honestly, I hope that it wouldn't turn out that way. And luckily it ended up being a one man show, and I was so thankful for that. I really liked Ethan, but was frustrated for Meg's benefit at how perceptive and intuitive he was. He is quirky, witty, and has such a kind heart. I loved the romance, that they bantered, flirted, and that although they were attracted to one another, things built more slowly. The mystery was great. It kept me on my toes, and the things that I thought would happen had a twist to it and then went in a new direction. Oh, and the chapter headings are cute and funny. The story itself wraps up pretty well, but the epilogue definitely leaves room for many more questions and has me eager for the next book. Bottom Line: Beautifully executed premise with an emotional more
by Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)
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