The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review



This National Book Award Finalist is a thought-provoking exploration of emotional abuse, self-reliance and the nature of evil. A heart-wrenching portrait of family crisis, this is perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why.
For Matt and his sisters, life with their cruel, physically abusive mother is a day-to-day struggle for survival. But then Matt witnesses a man named Murdoch coming to a child’s rescue in a convenience store; and for the first time, he feels a glimmer of hope. Then, amazingly, Murdoch begins dating Matt’s mother. Life is suddenly almost good. But the relief lasts only a short time. When Murdoch inevitable breaks up with their mother, Matt knows that he’ll need to take some action. Can he call upon Murdoch to be his hero? Or will Matt have to take measures into his own hands?
A gripping, powerful novel that will stay with you long after you’ve read it. Nancy Werlin, the New York Times Bestselling author of Impossible, shows why she is a master of her genre.
“[A] dark but hopeful tale, with pacing and suspense guaranteed to leave readers breathlessly turning the pages.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Beautifully framed as a letter from Matthew to his younger sister, the suspense is paced to keep Matthew’s survival and personal revelations chock-full of dramatic tension. Bring tissues.”—Kirkus (starred review)
“Grace and insight.”—School Library Journal (starred review)
National Book Award Finalist
LA Times Book Prize Finalist
ALA Best Books of the Year
ALA Quick Pick



About Nancy Werlin

See more books from this Author
NANCY WERLIN was born in Massachusetts, where she still lives. In writing for teenagers, she always strives to combine the emotional intensity of a coming-of-age story with the page-turning tension of a suspense thriller. Nancya (TM)s books have won numerous awards and accolades, including the Edgar award for The Killera (TM)s Cousin, which was also named one of the a oe100 Best of the Best for the 21st Centurya by the American Library Association. Her most recent book, The Rules of Survival, was a National Book Award Finalist. Visit her web site at
Published March 13, 2008 by Speak. 284 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Rules of Survival

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

In this heartbreaking tale of abuse and love, 14-year-old Matthew rescues himself and his younger sisters from a dangerously unstable mother.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Rules of Survival

Reader Rating for The Rules of Survival

An aggregated and normalized score based on 59 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review