On the surface, this book reminded me of the many, many books I read as a pre-teenager that dealt with finding a friend and fitting in. Certainly, I figured, there would be a healthy portion of teen angst and wishing for that first kiss. I was sure the main character, Catherine, would be so totally embarrassed by her entire family and only want to hang out with her friends.
But that's not how Rules reads. You see, Catherine does want to make friends with the new girl next door. And she is a bit jealous of the fact that her whole family life revolves around the needs of her autistic brother, but she is no shallow teeny-bopper. She is a realistic character with depth and compassion. I liked her a lot. I would have liked to have her as a next-door neighbor.
This novel also gives some insight into what life with an autistic loved-one is like. Only one character seems a bit one-dimensional, and he is an antagonist who makes fun of Catherine and her brother.
Overall, I thought this was a good read. The main character was a good role model for girls, not too concerned with fitting in and very concerned about doing the right thing. I would recommend this book for a girl in the 11 and up age range.