The Usual Rules

The Usual Rules

Book - 2003
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It's a Tuesday morning in Brooklyn---a perfect September day. Wendy is heading to school, eager to make plans with her best friend, worried about how she looks, mad at her mother for not letting her visit her father in California, impatient with her little brother and with the almost too-loving concern of her jazz musician stepfather. She's out the door to catch the bus. An hour later comes the news: A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center---her mother's office building.

Through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Wendy, we gain entrance to the world rarely shown by those who documented the events of that one terrible day: a family's slow and terrible realization that Wendy's mother has died, and their struggle to go on with their lives in the face of such a crushing loss.

Absent for years, Wendy's real father shows up without warning. He takes her back with him to California, where she re-invents her life: Wendy now lives more or less on her own in a one-room apartment with a TV set and not much else. Wendy's new circle now includes her father's cactus-grower girlfriend, newly reconnected with the son she gave up for adoption twenty years before; a sad and tender bookstore owner who introduces her to the voice of Anne Frank and to his autistic son; and a homeless skateboarder, on a mission to find his long-lost brother.

Over the winter and spring that follow, Wendy moves between the alternately painful and reassuring memories of her mother and the revelations that come with growing to know her real father for the first time. Pulled between her old life in Brooklyn and a new one 3,000 miles away, our heroine is faced with a world where the usual rules no longer apply but eventually discovers a strength and capacity for compassion and survival that she never knew she possessed.

At the core of the story is Wendy's deep connection with her little brother, back in New York, who is grieving the loss of their mother without her. This is a story about the ties of siblings, about children who lose their parents, parents who lose their children, and the unexpected ways they sometimes find one another again. Set against the backdrop of global and personal tragedy, and written in a style alternately wry and heartbreaking, Joyce Maynard's The Usual Rules is an unexpectedly hopeful story of healing and forgiveness that will offer readers, young and old alike, a picture of how, out of the rubble, a family rebuilds its life.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2003.
ISBN: 9780312283698
0312283695
9780312242619
0312242611
Characteristics: 390 p. ;,24 cm.

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mztory
Aug 20, 2015

I think it was Joyce Maynard's best book. It is the story of a girl who's life was turned upside down on 9/11 and how she managed to find peace again and the father she hardly knew.

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pktab
Mar 25, 2014

I LOVED this book! It was alternately heartbreaking and joyful. It's the story of a girl whose mother died in Tower 1 on September 11.

Joyce Maynard (Labor Day, The Good Daughters) has become one of my favorite authors.

b
bobandladyjane1
Mar 15, 2014

Truly a great book...very slow starting but I promise if you'll just keep reading you'll agree it's a great book.

penpencil22 Jun 24, 2011

A great book for teens to read about 9/11. I loved it. not too heavy, or depressing, but still meaningful.

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