I really wanted to love The Rules because the premise is awesome: Popular, privileged kids go on a scavenger hunt where it turns out there's more on the line than just winning a fabulous prize. The main character, Robin, is not a member of the clique, so obviously she's the one you want to root for. But then people start turning up dead or injured, and it becomes very apparent that someone has much bigger issues to resolve...and those include death and pain. Pretty good set up, right?
Honesty compels me to say that this book is so poorly executed that I wanted to give up almost immediately. But having stuck with books I disliked initially in the past, I felt honor-bound to continue. Unfortunately, it never got better, and what should have worked to be scary and fiendish turned out to be just a bunch of too stupid to live moments. People who obviously have no clue (pun not intended) do ridiculous things like splitting up and making out rather than worry that their very lives are at stake. There's no one to feel any sympathy for, and many I just wanted to go ahead and die already because they were just so unappealing. Even Robin, our heroine, falls far short of using her brains. I truly didn't care if she lived or died.
A huge turn off for me in the beginning was the jumping into points of view of random characters; it would have worked far better if there had been a core group whose heads we could get inside, rather than glimpses of the phobias and manias most of the characters seemed to have. I was also less than impressed with the style of writing itself; the phrases and the wording reeked of amateurism when it should set us up for the drama to follow. Do I really need to be told that Jinny is Robin's mom as the woman walks into the room? Nope.
Still, there were a couple of moments that keeps this one from getting the dreaded one star, including the groundwork of August's sister's death and the atmosphere of horror that sort of permeates the plot. However, I hate to be harsh, but this is one book I say you can avoid and not feel badly about skipping.