Monday, March 10, 2008
Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
Can you imagine what it would be like to live with an abusive mother? Matthew and his sisters don't have to imagine—it's happening to them. Their mom, Nicki, can be lighthearted and kind one minute, then turn on them the next. She cuts Matthew with a knife, drives into oncoming traffic, and dangles the sister over a steep cliff. However, she never does anything quite bad enough to get herself in trouble with the law. This is Matthew's story, told years later, as he recalls the years of physical and emotional abuse and how he and his sister Callie try to protect their younger sister Emmy from the mother who is out of control. Luckily for these kids, they find three adults who eventually realize that these kids need help. It's a gripping book—a little on the mature side because of the abuse and the kind of person their mother is—that will grab middle school readers who like suspense, family problems, and books about abuse.