Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE RULES FOR HEARTS by Sara Ryan

THE RULES FOR HEARTS

A Family Drama

By Sara Ryan

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-670-05906-4
Publisher: Viking

It’s hard to believe that Battle Davies is a fictional character. Ironically enough, that’s not exactly a good thing. The first-person narrative of the summer before she begins college reads more like a memoir than a novel. The plot is episodic, relationships are realistically random and confusing and many characters’ motivations are murky. Battle’s brother Nick ran away from home at 17. Now she’s staying in the communal house where he lives. The story meanders along as Battle develops a crush on a housemate, joins a theater troupe and tries to rebuild her relationship with her adored older brother. Unfortunately, Nick turns out to be decidedly unworthy of her devotion. Battle’s clear-eyed assessment of him as he finally heads home, bailed out by their parents, bodes well for her growing maturity but may leave readers feeling disappointed and disillusioned. Still, fans of Empress of the World (2001) will welcome the chance to follow up with a familiar character, while those who first meet Battle here may be sufficiently intrigued to turn to Ryan’s earlier work to learn more about her. (Fiction. YA)