Saturday, April 13, 2013

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

Blurb from Goodreads:
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…

Title: The Rules (Project Paper Doll, #1)
Author: Stacey Kade
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Expected Publication Date: April 23, 2013




The Cover Contessa's Review:

I want to thank the publisher, Disney Hyperion, for supplying me with an ARC of this book to read and review. Receiving this book for free has in no way influenced my opinion or review.

Blurb from Goodreads:
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…

I'll be honest and say, like most books, the first thing that interested me about this one was the cover. How interesting that the girl on the cover had two different eye colors. I just had to find out what that was all about. And the title itself is quite intriguing: Project Paper Doll. What could it mean? Well, I have to say that I understand "The Rules" part, but I'm still confused as to the "Project Paper Doll" as it wasn't mentioned at all during the book. But I was ok with that because the story itself was good and kept me wanting to read on.

Ariane is a great character. Because of her circumstances, being not fully human, she has always kept to herself. She remains aloof and secretive because her "father", a man who adopted her, has told her these are necessary for her survival. So she only has one friend, Jenna, who she allows to have any kind of glimpse into her life. And even then she keeps mostly to herself. I enjoyed this character very much. It was easy to connect with her fear of being "found out" and to understand why she was so distant to others. But I also felt badly for her because she wasn't getting to experience any of the things real teenagers experience: boyfriends, best friends, parties, going out, etc. From her description, it seems like she's different looking, but not enough that she can't blend in with the other full blooded humans and make it work. And I like the fact that she's not the typical beauty that is "hiding in the wings" as you see in so many other YA books. She attractive, but she's not beautiful. But her personality and forced shyness set her apart from others and certainly make her an easy target for jokes and bullying.
Of course this all changes when she connects with Zane. First of all, I love this name. You don't see it often, so it's different and I immediately got an image of a home town boy. But Zane has his issues as well: a not so perfect home life with his police chief father who only wants Zane to be more like his older brother. Big shoes to fill and a hard act to follow from what we find out of the brother's past. I was also able to connect well with Zane. And of course he's somewhat swoon worthy: tall, handsome, athletic. And it's easy to watch him change and grow during this book, into his own person able to stand up for himself and the things he believes in (as hard as it might be).
The secondary characters are well placed. Rachel, the stuck up and bullying rich girl who has a trail of croonies following her wherever she goes. She is mean and unrelenting, and always gets what she wants. People would rather be on her side than her bad side, because you certainly don't want to get that side of the coin. Jenna, the best friend who turns out to be something other than what we thought she would be. And, while Ariane continues to harbor a soft spot for her, Jenna is much too quick to turn her back on Ariane when she needs her the most. And the doctor, well, he's a great villain. He very much believes that what he is doing is the right thing, and no one can change his mind, or wants to try because of the power he holds over them.

I like that the author chose to tell this story from both points of view, Zane and Ariane, because I really felt like you got so much more of the big picture through both of their eyes. It was also nice to see how each of the characters viewed the other, watching them slowly get to know each other and become more comfortable in each other's presence. And, for me, I enjoyed that it was not really insta-love. While Zane had always found Ariane interesting and intriguing, and Ariane had always found Zane to be attractive, they slowly connected through their mutual prank. They had an easy banter between them. And there wasn't tons of mushy scenes where the characters were all over each other. It was a subtle "liking" and growth into the relationship. The most interesting part was how they each wanted to protect the other, without either of them realizing this is what was going on.

There were many instances when this book had  me biting my nails wondering what was going to happen. Kade was certainly able to incorporate a good amount of action and tension. And, while it was too easy at times for the characters to escape situations which really seemed like they should have been beyond their control, I still felt myself turning the pages and wanted to know the end. Kade has a nice way with her world building, giving the right amount of information at just the right time so that you slowly start to understand the reasoning beyond the "project." And she artfully incorporates the science fiction aspect of the story, although I did find it a little hard to believe that this big company like Gen Tex, that dominated the town, was able to keep their secrets so well.  I also wished that there was a little more of the science fiction part, maybe more about the experiments Ariane endured (although we do see some of this through her flashbacks). And I also found it odd that she could be living right there, under their noses and no one ever questioned it. Why would her father have stayed around with her? It wasn't until the end that I understood the answer to this question. But it still made for a bit of an unbelievable part of the plot.

All in all this a fast paced and easy read. Definitely likeable for those who enjoy science fiction with some romance thrown in. And the ending leaves you with the understanding that there will definitely be more, but you're not left hanging and chomping at the bit for it. I recommend this book for people who have read other books such as MILA 2.0, Jennifer Armentrout's Lux Series and even Skinned by Robin Wasserman.

3.5/5 stars.


As an award-winning corporate copywriter, Stacey Kade has written about everything from backhoe loaders to breast pumps. But she prefers to make things up instead.
She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Greg, and three retired racing greyhounds, Joezooka (Joe), Tall Walker (Walker) and SheWearsThePants (Pansy). When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll likely find her parked in front of the television with her Roswell DVDs, staring rapturously at Jason Behr.
The Ghost and the Goth is her first YA novel. You can find her (far too often) on Facebook and Twitter as well ashttp://www.staceykade.com.


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