The Rules of Regret by Megan Squires

The Rules of Regret - Megan Squires

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Do not trust this rating!

It's the first time I've used that phrase (I believe), and I mean it with all my heart. The Rules of Regret is probably way better than my rating says, but I, personally, can't rate it higher than 2.5 stars. Why then, why can't I give this more than 2.5 stars? I'll get to that in a minute.

The Rules of Regret is the story of Darby and Torin. The former has been a little lost ever since her older sister died a couple of years back. Ever since, she' been leaning on her boyfriend, Lance. Now when he is going away for the summer, Darby is struggling. She's not quite sure who she is without Lance. When she gets a job at a summer camp for troubled kids, she meets Torin, the son of the owner's. Torin himself isn't without a past. A brother who committed suicide isn't any easy thing to tackle, even years after. As Lance is away, Darby and Torin grow closer as they find they have a few things in common.

First off, The Rules of Regret is classified as YA/NA, but I personally say this is closer to YA than NA. The characters are older than 18, but as I have to point out, YA/NA isn't all about age. It's more about the general themes. NA is more about being on your own, finding out who you are without a safety net. And while The Rules of Regret is somewhere between YA/NA, it reads more like YA than NA. (And it's not because of the lack of sex-scenes, which, if you ask me, was a nice change.) Because here's the thing, while I enjoyed the characters, they fit better into YA. Why? Because, as Torin says, Darby is caught somewhere between twelve (when her sister died) and nineteen, her age today. This gives Darby the characteristics of a YA protagonist. She's very much about finding herself, but not necessarily in the way I'd say a "New Adult" would.

Then again, this is still New Adult to some extent. I'd easily give this three stars for what it offered throughout the novel if it hadn't been for the lack of character development. You see, Darby and her boyfriend are having a rough patch, and it's not getting better. He's been cheating on her on and off prior the beginning of the book, and Darby is okay with it. She's so insecure in herself that she's unable to let him go. I expected her to grow as the novel went on, but in the end, we're left with this.

And since I didn’t do a very good job knowing what I needed—having up and left Quarry Summit, having repainted a wall in a house that I no longer even inhabited—I thought Torin was a good person to make those decisions for me. I needed someone to guide me.

We're back to where we started. That's why I can't quite give this the three stars it might deserve. In the end, I had no doubts that if Torin cheated on Darby – which, in point to his character, I don't believe he would – she'd go along with that too, being as insecure as she is. And this is also another point for the YA part, not the NA. A new adult would learn to grow through her/his mistakes. And even if this is somewhere in the grey area between YA and NA, it doesn't quite manage to reach that point where the character development was enough to make this stand out.