Book Review: Breaking the Rules
By: Katie McGarry
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: December 8, 2014
Page Count: 304
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary
This is a hard review to write, and I've put it off for a while. I really want to say that I loved Breaking The Rules as much as Pushing The Limits. Noah and Echo are one of my favourite couples in YA literature. So it pains me to say that Breaking The Rules fell short. The story is based around a life-changing road trip for the couple; they drive across America, visiting galleries to sell Echo’s art work, and gain enough distance from what happened to them to change into new people.
It was a naive dream, and this dawns on them as they hit obstacles which push them both backwards. Echo finds it hard to stand on her own two feet in a world dominated by her mother’s name, and Noah is haunted by the spectre of the family his mother said was dead tracking him down. These were interesting story lines and both generated some angst, but not to the same level as Noah’s struggle to keep his family together, or Echo’s fight to remember how she got her scars, in the first book.
One element of Breaking The Rules that I did find really engaging was how both of them tried to come to terms with just how much damage the loss of their loved ones (Aries & Noah’s mother) did to them. Echo works through her pain with her art, and Noah gets angry. Both bottle up their emotions and it drives a pretty predictable wedge between them, which I found very frustrating to be honest. It’s something that teenagers do all the time, and it would be very refreshing to see some characters moving through their inner dialogues to share and progress – as role models perhaps!
For every moment I enjoyed, I found another moment to shake my head... of course Echo accidentally ingratiates herself with the best guy to study art with in the USA... of course Noah gets himself within an inch of losing his college dreams... At least Beth and Isaiah turn up to keep things interesting. It was a little confusing to go back in time, as Breaking The Rules seemed to be set before Beth’s story, Dare You To. I think it served to confirm that although I fell for Noah first, it’s Isaiah that keeps my attention.
So, all in all, perhaps although I really wanted more from Echo and Noah, I didn't want this. I wanted to see them happy, and not imploding. I think that’s because I was such a fan of their love story the first time around – you don’t want to hold characters in such high esteem and have it be a happy ending, only to find out that life isn't like that, even in books! I hope that others found the magic in this which I missed.
A summer road trip changes everything in this unforgettable new tale from acclaimed author Katie McGarry
For new high school graduate Echo Emerson, a summer road trip out west with her boyfriend means getting away and forgetting what makes her so... different. It means seeing cool sights while selling her art at galleries along the way. And most of all, it means almost three months alone with Noah Hutchins, the hot, smart, soul-battered guy who’s never judged her. Echo and Noah share everything — except the one thing Echo’s just not ready for.
But when the source of Echo’s constant nightmares comes back into her life, she has to make some tough decisions about what she really wants — even as foster kid Noah’s search for his last remaining relatives forces them both to confront some serious truths about life, love, and themselves.
Now, with one week left before college orientation, jobs and real life, Echo must decide if Noah's more than the bad-boy fling everyone warned her he'd be. And the last leg of an amazing road trip will turn... seriously epic.