The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Matt is one of the Walsh kids. This means he's also Nikki O'Grady Walsh's favorite target when she's angry, manic, high, low, or just bored. The Rules of Survival is presented as Matt's letter to his baby half-sister, Emmy, explaining how they survived their years living with their crazy mother, Nikki.
Nancy Werlin creates a terrifying villain in Nikki. Matt wants to kill her, and by page 50, I think just about any reader would want to kill her too. She's a real piece of work.
Werlin's style is taught and clean, and kept me turning the pages into the middle of the night because I wanted to know what happened next.
So, why the three star rating? I almost gave this book a higher rating, but I couldn't bring myself to do it because the knight in shining armor, Murdoch, never seemed believable to me. Pieces of him seemed real, but not the whole package, and that undermined the story for me.
Still, as YA books about crazy parents and dysfunctional families go, this is a pip.
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