Title: Simone Breaks All the Rules
Author: Debbie Rigaud
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Review Copy: Received an eARC from the publisher
Availability: Available now
Summary: Simone Thibodeaux’s life is sealed in a boy-proof container.
Her strict Haitian immigrant parents enforce no-dating rules and curfews, and send Simone to an all-girls school. As for prom? Simone is allowed to go on one condition: her parents will select her date (a boy from a nice Haitian immigrant family, obviously).
Simone is desperate to avoid the humiliation of the set up — especially since she’s crushing on a boy she knows her parents wouldn’t approve of. With senior year coming to a close, Simone makes a decision. She and her fellow late-bloomer friends will create a Senior Year Bucket List of all the things they haven’t had a chance to do. On the list: kissing a boy, sneaking out of the house, skipping class (gasp!), and, oh yeah — choosing your own prom date.
But as the list takes on a life of its own, things get more complicated than Simone expected. She’ll have to discover which rules are worth breaking, and which will save her from heartbreak.
Review: If you’re looking for an entertaining contemporary romance to add to your summer reading list, you should give SIMONE BREAKS ALL THE RULES a chance. In this book, author Debbie Rigaud has expertly brought together many things I love about young adult novels—particularly when it comes to a protagonist figuring out who she wants to be and how she can start heading in a direction that will get her there.
Central to this, of course, is the list Simone concocts with two other classmates, Amita and Kira. The list of things they want to do before the end of their senior year—some of them explicitly against their families’ rules—is a fun way to track progress through the book. It also makes for some pretty cute scenes as the girls work to get through as much of their list as possible. (They’re much braver than my own high school self!) And from an outside perspective, it’s just nice to know that Simone isn’t alone in wanting to break some rules and feeling like she needs some backup to be daring.
Even though Simone frequently butts heads with members of her family, family and her Haitian heritage are important to her. She’s very close to her younger cousin Gabby, who Simone sometimes compares herself to. Where Gabby is confident and outgoing, Simone struggles to start talking to her crush, Gavin. But some of the best parts about family come toward the end of the book, when Simone and her mother have a particularly memorable (and honest) conversation.
Gavin and Ben (Simone’s arranged prom date) take more of a secondary role in Simone’s senior year, which was perfectly fine with me. While I felt it was pretty obvious where Simone’s feelings were going to end up early on, it was still an enjoyable journey getting there. Sometimes I wish we’d gotten more time to know Gavin and Ben better, but this was ultimately Simone’s story, and who she was going with to prom was only just one part of her overall adventure.
Recommendation: Get it soon if you’re in the mood for contemporary high school adventures. SIMONE BREAKS ALL THE RULES is an entertaining look at one girl’s attempt to live up to her image of who she has always wanted to be. Debbie Rigaud’s book is a great addition to your summer reading list.