Alison has a lot of rules: When stealing a rowboat, always check that the oars are the same length, so you don’t go in circles. In reference to your best friend’s crush, keep your feelings to yourself. And never use your locker if that’s where you were standing when told the very worst news of all in The Alison Rules (2006) by Catherine Clark.
Some of her rules aren’t the most rational. But when your mother is dead, rationality isn’t really important. In fact, it isn’t even really a concern. Between the rules and her best friend, Laurie, Alison manages to get by. Maybe she isn’t having the greatest time, but at least she’s surviving.
Everything changes when a new boy moves to Alison’s small town. Patrick is fun, different, and he might be exactly what Alison needs. Unfortunately both Alison and Laurie fall for Patrick setting off a series of arguments and events that will ultimately tear the two friends apart.
The Alison Rules was not the book I expected it to be. After looking at the cover and reading the blurb it seemed like a fun book that would have an ultimately okay ending.
I was wrong.
Don’t get me wrong. Being surprised by a book is fine. It is usually a good thing. But I found the ending of The Alison Rules to be completely unforgivable. It was unnecessary, excessive, and made no sense in the general arc of the story. I would love to pick it apart for you here, but I don’t post spoilers. Suffice it to say this is a story about growing up, grieving, and friendship. Then Catherine Clark threw in a surprise twist that, for me, completely invalidated everything else I had read in the book. I hate to say it so strongly but: Not recommended.