Verdict: THE EDGE RULES is perfect for readers looking for a book that is both socially relevant and charming, and the clean narrative, winter setting and short chapter structure make it an especially appealing read.
Boulder high school student and skiing enthusiast Brianna’s life is turned upside down after she is arrested for shoplifting. In order to clear her police record, Brianna is forced to participate in weekly community service tasks. While Brianna struggles to forgive herself for a tragic accident in her past, she also learns to deal with the fallout of loosing all of her friends due to her previous malicious behavior. To make matters worse, she discovers that her parents are divorcing because her father has a secret family across town. In order to attend a ski trip abroad, Brianna has to finish her community service by Valentine’s Day.
Despite her trepidation about joining ‘The Chain Gang’, a group of diverse, troubled teens that clean up the highway each week, Brianna quickly finds her confidence and makes new friends. After witnessing Brianna stand up for herself, a mysterious and edgy looking group member named Xavier offers to teach her how to snowboard. When Brianna realizes that Xavier knows a lot of the classmates she socially burned the year before, she hesitates to become his friend. The persistent Xavier persuades her to give their new romantic relationship a chance, but Brianna fears that her past will ruin her new friendships.
Author Melanie Hooyenga does a good job exploring the complex personalities and diverse personal history of Brianna, Xavier and Drea. Both the main and supporting characters are universally relatable and realistic, making the bond of friendship that develops between the trio is heartwarming and engaging. The author also addresses important psychological issues that plague each character. Brianna uses shoplifting as a device to cope with a tragic loss and her judgmental parents. Over time, she learns to set aside her own troubles and former catty nature in order to help her new friends overcome their dangerous circumstances. Drea utilizes humor as a way to escape and divert other people’s attention from her own unfortunate circumstances. The character arc development for Brianna, Xavier and Drea over the course of the novel was also well done.
THE EDGE RULES is perfect for readers looking for a book that is both socially relevant and charming, and the clean narrative, winter setting and short chapter structure make it an especially appealing read.
~Erin Coughlin for Indie Reader