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David is the center of Catherine’s universe. She loves her little brother, but she also hates him: his autism makes everything more difficult. Her parents’ relationship, their schedule, their home life… it seems like it all revolves around David, and nothing can ever be normal. When Catherine meets Jason, a boy confined to a wheelchair, she wants to keep her distance – how could a boy like Jason make anything more normal? Much better to focus on Kristi, the beautiful new girl next door who could finally be her ticket to having a normal life. But things are never that simple, are they? I love Cynthia Lord’s books because she does a great job of taking tough issues and stripping them down into easy-to-read and -digest language, and Rules does just that. Catherine’s struggle is cleanly laid out and easy to follow, and Jason’s character is approachable in a way that many handicapped characters are not. Rules isn’t exactly a page-turner, but it fills a void for those looking for realistic fiction centered on empathy but not quite ready to take on heavy hitters like Counting by Sevens or Mockingbird. #bookreview
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