Friday, June 10, 2011

The Daughters Break the Rules

The Daughters Break the Rules is the second book in the YA contemporary series The Daughters written by Joanna Philbin.

In this second outing, Carina Jurgensen takes center stage and the story takes off at the exact moment it ended - which is awesome to me. I've never been a fan of "two months later" or "five weeks later." Now, I believe that it is possible to read The Daughters Break the Rules without reading The Daughters, but then you would spoil Lizzie's story and why would you want to do that? So, if you haven't yet read The Daughters, I strongly encourage you to do so before reading The Daughters Break the Rules!

Carina has never been close with her billionaire businessman dad. When her parent's got divorced when she was ten, she knew it was his fault - and she never totally forgave him for not letting her live with her Mom. But she's learned to artfully avoid him. Yet usually avoiding him isn't much of an issue since he seems to avoid her as well.

But when Carina leaks a damning story about the family business to the press she suddenly gets more attention from her dad than she wanted. He cuts her off, replaces her cell phone with an ancient model, provides her with a Metro card, and gives her a twenty dollar a week allowance.

Never one to back down from a challenge, Carina convinces herself that she was never a lover of money like her dad anyway and it won't be an issue. But being without her limitless credit card does take its toll, and Carina tries to find a way to make some extra cash. Especially since sophomore hottie Carter seems to be finally noticing her and invites her to a vacation home with his other friends - requiring a $200 lift ticket for the skiing.

When Carina does get a job, its not one that her best friends Lizzie and Hudson approve of. Nor are they fans of the way she's doing her job. Carina begins to feel more alienated from her friends than ever before. They don't understand that people expect her to be Karl Jurgensen's daughter, not cut off and broke. But would it be better to come clean before she gets in a deeper mess?

I am being deliberately evasive with the plot details. I don't want you to know too much and have the story spoiled! Thing is, if you read my review of The Daughters on Wednesday you know that I became a fan of the series - and if you've read The Daughters as well - well, I don't think you need much persuading to check out The Daughters Break the Rules.

Joanna Philbin has deigned that this is impulsive, bright, colorful Carina's chance to shine. She's very different from Lizzie and I wasn't sure what I'd think of her as a main character. But it didn't take long for me to be blown away!

The crazy beginning really sets the tone for the novel. It has a fun, adventure like feel but also an undercurrent of hurt and leftover resentments in her relationship with her dad that Carina herself doesn't want to fully recognize. The friendship between "the daughters" is as strong as ever, but this time Joanna Philbin lets it strain just a little as Carina continues to make impetuous, immature decisions that hurt more than just herself.

Thing is, even though we are being showcased girls who have money and fame (through their parents), the author still presents normal teenage feelings and thoughts - along with all the drama and romance that goes with it. And this time around Carina is walloped with the need to grow up and I was just shocked by how beautifully empowering, inspiring, and uplifting The Daughters Break the Rules ended up being!!!

The themes of family and friendship were still there, but from a different perspective. Without giving away anything, I can only say that even more depth and layers of Joanna Philbin's characters are revealed. This is a series with heart and an undeniable entertainment quality that made me gobble up this awesome book in a single day (which is a big deal for me because I am working full-time!). And it also features the single most hilarious cell phone in the history of literature. ;)

I was equally touched and gripped by the plot of The Daughters Break the Rules, and I think you will be too. In fact, I think I love this series!!! I am more than ready to dive into the newly released third novel The Daughters Take the Stage!!!!!

*I received a review copy of The Daughters Break the Rules from Hachette Book Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

And TOMORROW, stop by for a special Tuesday CONTEST post!!! Come back for a chance to win TWO books!!!

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