08 March 2013

Title: None of the Regular Rules
Author: Erin Downing
Publisher: 260 Pages (November 20th, 2012)
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis: Sometimes, a few dares can change lives…

The weekend before the start of senior year, Sophie Erickson and her best friends, Ella and Grace, discover a handwritten list of dares tucked away in the glove compartment of Sophie’s beat-up old Toyota. But this isn't just any list; it’s a dead girl's bucket list.

Sophie's beloved aunt Suzy died as a teenager in a fatal fall, leaving Sophie with an overly cautious family, a few fading photographs, and a bucket of bolts that barely passes for a car. But now, Sophie has Suzy’s list of the things she wanted to do in her last year of high school. Sophie can't help but wonder: What would happen if she tried to fulfill Suzy’s last wishes, to live out the longed-for life of her aunt, her hero?

As Sophie and her friends attempt to knock off the things on Suzy's list of dares, love blossoms in unexpected places and Sophie begins to feel that her life is finally coming together...when in fact, everything is slowly unraveling around her. When the truth about a long-held family secret threatens to shatter everything she believed to be true, Sophie is forced to question everything she knew about the life and people she believed in, and ultimately herself.


          “We can just pretend this fake sky is all ours—it’s like our own private universe, for tonight.” Johnny looked at me and I felt something pass between us, something unspoken and powerful. “None of the regular rules are true here.”
          I swallowed, wishing for a moment that we were the only two people in the world, and willing myself to forget that my friends were outside, waiting for us. They hadn’t been waiting long…surely they wouldn’t mind that they had to wait just a couple extra minutes. They would understand. “How did you know how to turn the projector thingy on?”
          He shrugged. “Sophie, sometimes you don’t need to ask so many questions or think through everything so much. Just go with it.” Johnny gave me a crooked half smile, and I looked away. It almost hurt how much I wanted him to want me.
          “That’s what I’m trying to do,” I said quietly. His eyes were focused on mine, and I willed myself to look straight back at him. Finally, he was the one who broke our gaze. He shoved his hands in his pockets and sat down on the floor to look up at our make-believe sky.
          I settled in next to him, silently promising Grace and Ella that I’d get up in two minutes. “So…my aunt’s list.” I told Johnny about how we’d found Suzy’s list, and gave him a quick rundown of a few of the things on it.
          He turned his head so he was looking at me, instead of the sky, again. “So you’re fulfilling her fantasies,” he said. “Living out her last wishes. Being the rebel she always wanted to be.”
          “I guess so, yeah,” I said. “If I could be even half the woman she was when she died, I’d feel like I’d achieved something. I guess I also just feel like…I don’t know, following in her footsteps is going to help me find my own way, you know?”
          Johnny put his hands behind his head. “Yeah, I can see why you might think about it like that.”
          “How would you think about it?” I asked.
          “I don’t know,” he said. “I’m not in your shoes.”
          “Well, if you were…”
          “I don’t think that’s for me to say,” he said. “You can never put yourself in someone else’s situation without having all the facts. It’s impossible to understand exactly how other people react to things. Stuff that seems so simple or straightforward or scary or stressful to one person can be monumentally different for someone else with a different chemical makeup.” He rolled onto his side and stretched out so his head was resting on his bicep. His knees were curled into an L shape and I thought about how wonderful it would feel for me to roll over and tuck into the curve of his body.
          Instead of doing that, I thought about what he’d just said. It made sense in a lot of ways. Johnny’s comments also reminded me, not for the first time, how little I really knew about Suzy and how little I knew about what had been going on in her life when she’d written the list. I knew I’d never know exactly, so the best thing I could do was treat the list as my own and try to rekindle her spirit within me.
          “We should go—” I said, just as Johnny said, “Sophie?”
          He repeated, “Yeah,” and started to get up. We both laughed.
          “Thanks.” I reached out to touch his shoulder. He stepped forward and pulled me into a hug. My whole body relaxed, and I let myself close my eyes and sink into the moment.

I can't wait to read None of the Regular Rules! Erin, thanks for having me sharing the excerpt with everyone here on my blog!

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