Review: The Rules (Project Paper Doll #1) by Stacey Kade

April 26, 2013 Review 1 ★★★

Review: The Rules (Project Paper Doll #1) by Stacey KadeThe Rules by Stacey Kade
Series: Project Paper Doll #1
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 22, 2013
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: NetGalley
Cover Artist: Ali Smith, Whitney Manger
Reviewed by: Abigail
3 Stars

Sexual content

Kissing. Mild sensuality

1. Never trust anyone.

2. Remember they are always searching.

3. Don’t get involved.

4. Keep your head down.

5. Don’t fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…

Romantic sci-fi YA has been gaining popularity recently thanks to series like Jennifer L. Armentrout's Lux series (super awesome btw) and even Pittacus Lore's I AM NUMBER FOUR.  THE RULES isn't as action packed as the later nor as romantic as the former, and there are some issues with it, but Stacey Kade does know how to hook readers and in her new Project Paper Doll series, she does exactly that.

The beginning of THE RULES had some problems with pacing and a few unfortunate info dumps.  Because of the dual POVs, a lot of early info got rehashed twice as both Ariane and Zane experienced/processed the same event.  The actual plot was intriguing and after those first few chapters, the pacing improved.  I don't know how effective Zane's backstory was, though.  His mother's abandonment and subsequent life the the shadow of his perfect brother felt a little tacked on at times since it didn't really shape his personality in any significant way.  Ditto for Ariane and her issues with her 'father' and her years as a lab rat.  I wanted to feel more depth from both of them.

On the plus side, the story is good.  Both the larger aliens among us storyline and the smaller let's team up to punish the bully storyline were fun.  I especially liked the way the romance unfolded and I'm always a sucker for pretend romance blossoming into the real thing.  There were also a few interesting character twists that kept a few of the seemingly cliche characters from being, well, cliche.

On the whole, I thought THE RULES was a step back from the Ghost and the Goth series, but still a solidly fun story.  The ending especially ramped up the intrigue and dropped a few rather shocking surprises that have me more than a little anxious to read the next book in the Project Paper Doll series due out in 2014.

Series Titles

  1. The Rules

Similar Titles

  • I AM NUMBER FOUR by Pittacus Lore
  • The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza

One Response to “Review: The Rules (Project Paper Doll #1) by Stacey Kade”

  1. Ruby

    I had multiple problems with this book, but Zane was probably my biggest. I don’t care how messed up his childhood was, he participated in Rachel’s cruel stunts (and was friends with her in spite of them). To win me over, he’d have to do some major self-reflecting and repentance and I didn’t see even a smidgen of that.