Saturday 19 November 2016

Book Review - Rules by Jenny Colgan - Back Catalogue Books

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it! 

After reading Class and reviewing it for last week, I spend a day considering if I was going to read Rules so soon, wrecked my enjoyment of a perfectly good book deliberating over it, and of course then succumbed to Rules! 

Amazon UK
Title: Rules: Things are Changing at the Little School by the Sea
Author: Jenny Colgan
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: 11th August 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

For the first time, the girls caught sight of the turreted, castle-like building that would be home for the next nine months, the four towers of the main houses nestled in the hills, with the cliffs behind, leading down to the still turquoise sea. 

Maggie loves teaching English at beautiful Downey House but she is less keen on planning her wedding to dependable Stan. Instead, she's working on ignoring her crush on David McDonald, who teaches English at the local boys' school.

Just as Simone and Fliss have become friends, Zelda arrives to upset everything. Zelda is loudly, glamorously American, and she's full of ways to improve life at boring school. Soon, quiet, mousy Simone is undergoing a makeover. And Fliss is about to jeopardise everything to impress a boy.

In a new year at school, the girls of Downey House will be breaking all the rules - and not all of them will escape unscathed.

Well if I thought Class was brilliant, the Rules is even better, but I may be running out of superlatives for this series by book 6 once it gets written and released! Rules takes the foundation of what we have learnt about the main cast of characters and developed it a lot further, so it was even easier to get into, and offered different things to the first year.

Now into their second year at Downey House, there are all sorts of things going on, boys are starting a feature a bit more, and some boy drama is at the heart of quite a lot of what happens in Fliss, Alice & Simone's friendship along with new girl brash American Zelda. 

Zelda is convinced she will be changing schools yet again sooner or later, so that there is no point settling down here. She isn't a trouble maker per se, more of someone with a lot of confidence, and likes things her way, and she does give Simone a makeover. 

Maggie, the English teacher, we first come across in this book, in a rather embarrassing situation, the first of a few for her, as her head and heart are continued to be pulled by both her now fiancee Stan, and David the English teacher at he boys school.  

Veronica the headmistress, has all sorts of decisions to make, partly about her secret from book one, if it will become common knowledge or not, and also on various disciplinary charges, as the four young girls get up to various things. 

There is even a more serious theme running through this book, an issue that occurs in schools everywhere, unfortunately, which from the girls point of view and the teachers seemed to be handled incredibly well, and the writing was sensitive and sensible, in contrast to the very light hearted tone of most of the book. 

The writing jumps from chapter segment to chapter segment, with different characters being the focus of attention, which is why having the cast list in the front of the book is really handy at first, if you are new to the series. Once you get used to the writing style, it is a very easy to read book, that I almost completely finished just on my daily commute. 

I also love the level of the additional extras in the book, some of Maggie's poems she teaches or references in there entirety, there are also the instructions on some of the dances the girls learn in the book . 

I am loving this series of books so much, and I am gutted that I don't have any more to read on account of them not existing yet. Rules has been another chance for me to relive my childhood love of boarding school stories, but with more contemporary issues and bringing these sorts of stories into the 21st century. 

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