Hi. My name is Tami. I am the author of this blog. You can contact me by posting a comment or emailing me at readaton@gmail.com. I am also happy to add you as a friend at www.goodreads.com where I keep track of everything I am reading.

I LOVE to read. I am pursuing my master's degree in library and information science at San Jose State University. Right now I mostly use this blog for class assignments.

No matter your reading tastes you will find books for you here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Rules of Survival

The Rules of Survival

by Nancy Werlin
Dial Books, 2006
ISBN 0803730012
259 pages

4 (out of 5) STARS

Plot Summary

For Matt and his sisters, life with their cruel, vicious mother is a day-to-day struggle for survival. But then Matt witnesses Murdoch coming to a child's rescue in a convenience store, and for the first time, he feels a glimmer of hope. When, amazingly, Murdoch begins dating Matt's mother, life is suddenly almost good. But the relief lasts only a short time. When Murdoch inevitably breaks up with their mother, Matt knows he needs to take action. But can he call upon his hero? Or will he have to take measures into his own hands?


Critical Evaluation

This is a great book. I enjoy gritty, problem novels like this one. But it is disturbing because the Matt's mother is mentally ill and violent. Her children live in constant pain and unpredictableness. There is not a wonderful resolution at the end but I believe that is a good thing because life is often difficult and not pleasantly resolved.

Reader’s Annotation

Matt and his sisters live in a constant state of panic with their cruel, vicious mother.

Information about the author

Werlin grew up in Peabody, Massachusetts, the youngest of three daughters. She began reading when she was three, and by the time Werlin reached third grade, she was reading as many as ten books a week. Her favorite reading matter included the "Nancy Drew" and "Cherry Ames" series, Ray Bradbury's science fiction, historical novels of all sorts (especially those set in Tudor England and the French Revolution), and classics such as Little Women, Jane Eyre, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. "I also read encyclopedias," Werlin admitted. "I was particularly fond of a set that contained an appendix of plot synopses for famous novels. By the time I was ten, I knew I wanted to be a writer to create what I loved so much." As Werlin told Alderdice, "I just read all the time and it occurred to me that somebody had to write these things—and why shouldn't it be me?"

After graduating from high school, Werlin attended Yale University, where she majored in English, then took a full-time job working in the software industry as a technical writer. Traveling to Europe, she spent eigh-teen months in Germany working for a computer company, then returned to the U.S. determined to carve out part of the week for her fiction. Living in Boston and working part time, it took her a year to develop a writing schedule and to tackle the plot of what ultimately became her first novel, Are You Alone on Purpose?



realistic fiction.

Curriculum Ties

family relations. personal safety.

Booktalking Ideas

*How do you survive living in a difficult home life?

Reading Level

ages 12 and up

Challenge Issues

This book is a very emotional read because the mother is very violent and unpredictable. However, this book definitely has a place in any library.

It is best to be prepared for a book challenge before it is challenged. It is important to read the book all the way through and to have read both positive and negative reviews of the book from professionals and teens as well. Be aware of the library’s collection policy. Also check for any awards the book may have won. It would be beneficial to see how other library’s may have handled challenges for this particular book in the past.

This book has also won some awards: South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2009), ALA's Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2007)

Why Included?

This book would be helpful to any teen struggling with abusive parents or a difficult home life.

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