The Rules (Project Paper Doll #1)
by Stacey Kade
Ariane Tucker is used to keeping her head down because it has meant safety since the age of six. That’s the same age when she was taken from a maximum-security laboratory and hidden from the scientists who want to experiment with her. This is because Ariane isn’t an average teenager—she has alien DNA and powers. She knows that safety from the bad guys means keeping her head down, especially in school. Ariane’s father has set up the five rules that she must follow so she can stay safe, like on the back of the book:
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.
Following these rules is easy enough for Ariane until her school’s mean girl starts to prank her. Ariane’s powers go crazy when she gets angry, so the bullying causes some stuff that may give her away to the scientists. But she thinks that if she can control them, then she’ll be able to keep herself safe from the people who want her back. Keeping those powers under control and secret become harder and harder though, when Zane Bradshaw comes into the picture. Moment by moment, she finds herself breaking each one of the rules and finding out what it means to get out of a shell that was constructed out of ideas that were meant to keep her caged.
This book has a really interesting premise because the main character’s problems are really different from any other teenager’s. There are a lot of things Ariane has to do before going to school, like covering her tattooed barcode that she got from the lab. Every moment the author has Ariane realize something about herself and her life and what truths and rules she’s willing to stick to—and what lies. Because when she’s hanging out with Zane, Ariane realizes that she doesn’t want to keep lying, especially to him.
This book has a lot of cute and wacky moments between the two main leads, especially because they understand each other’s problems. Since they’re not exactly the same species, there are a lot of misunderstandings too. They try to make each other forget about the issues they’re having and keep each other distracted. Kudos to the author for making Zane adorable and considerate, even from the first couple of scenes. This book is pretty hilarious too, especially the moments Zane and Ariane are together.
Downers: The ending was a cliffhanger, which is why this book sets off into a series. The cliffhanger was bearable in the sense that it doesn’t make you pull your hair in frustration. All in all, a pretty good sci-fi book to read, with enough humor and romance to keep you preoccupied.