Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grades 3 - 5R3.931368
A heartfelt and witty debut about feeling different and finding acceptance--beyond the rules.

Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying to teach David the rules-from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public"-in order to stop his embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a paraplegic boy, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?
Paperback, 224 pages
Published on September 1, 2008 by Scholastic Paperbacks
ISBN-10: 0439443830
ISBN-13: 9780439443838
112 Book Reviews
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  • zykelilahufuxe
    zykelilahufuxeTuesday, November 20, 2018 at 11:19 am55 stars
    Really good book
    • BigWinniePoohMonday, November 19, 2018 at 4:37 pm
      In this book, Catherine is really wanting a normal life. It shows how you should be kind to those who have mental diseases
      • 6graderead
        6gradereadSaturday, November 4, 2017 at 8:26 am
        should i read it
        • evaizabooknerd
          evaizabooknerdWednesday, June 7, 2017 at 6:54 pm44 starsFeatured
          What if you had an annoying 7-year-old brother, and he had autism? What if their was a girl just your age moving next door? And what if your worst enemy was the girl's new best friend? Believe it or not, all of this happened to 12 year old Catherine. She always escapes in her drawings, trying to get away from the screaming and tantrums from her brother. Then at her brother's clinic she makes a new friend, Jason. The only catch is: He's a paraplegic and he can't talk. He has to point at the words in a book. Catherine starts making new cards to put in Jason's book, such as: WHATEVER, and STINKS A BIG ONE. Has Catherine finally made a forever friend, or will her longing to be with the girl next door get in the way? This uplifting, encouraging, sad, inspirational and informational book by Cynthia Lord, is definitely a book that will make you cry if you have to set it down. I give this book 4 stars and hope you will take the time to read and enjoy it.
          • evaizabooknerd
            evaizabooknerdWednesday, June 7, 2017 at 7:33 pm44 stars
            I can't believe I got editor's pick!
          • turtlecake2610
            turtlecake2610Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 6:04 pm
            I love this book! I read it for book clubs in my class, and it Rules! See what I did there?
            • parikhgr8
              parikhgr8Monday, February 13, 2017 at 6:40 pm55 stars
              Rules was a magnificent book. It showed that even if you have to deal with someone that really annoys, which in this case would be David, you can come out of that and be happy.
              • parikhgr8
                parikhgr8Monday, February 13, 2017 at 6:41 pm55 stars
                Awesome job, dude!
              • leylush
                leylushTuesday, January 3, 2017 at 10:47 am55 stars
                I decided to read this book because the back of he book interested me ,but if you look at the front it does really look interesting .And then I started reading, it was about a girl ,whose name was Catherine.Catherine had a brother with autism ,which a sickness when a person doesn't communicate with other people .So she decides to make rules for her brother.As you can see I recommend this book to you .So read rules and enjoy!
                • sunshine246
                  sunshine246Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 7:42 am
                  This was a really good book. It mixed sad, happy, and funny really well. The style kept you interested the whole time!
                  • ganfer1617
                    ganfer1617Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 6:54 amFeatured
                    Do you know what it is like to have a brother with autism? Well in the book rules you will know.In The book Rules by Cynthia Lord there is a girl named Catherine and she has a younger brother with autism his name is David. The book takes place at their house and OT which is speech therapy for David. In this book the protagonist is Catherine because she is loving and caring for her brother. The antagonist is David autism because its makes it so Catherine has to watch over him all the time. She can’t have friends over because she is sacred that he is going to do something embarrassing. The first conflict in the book is when Catherine gets a new neighbor and she wants to come over to her house all the time but Catherine is scared that David is going to do something bad. The second conflict in the book is when her friend Jason that she meet at David's therapy class invites her to his birthday part but the girl next door wants her to got to a dance that she is going on the same day so she doesn't know what to do. But at the end of the book she starts realizing that it is not David's fault. Catherine writes speech cards for Jason and also wrote rules for Divided. I would recommend this book to someone that is 6th or 7th grade that want a quick and easy book to read.
                    • memoiloveit
                      memoiloveitMonday, May 30, 2016 at 5:44 pm
                      I rate this book as fair since I appreciate how the author made each chapter named after a rule that the protagonist, Catherine, wants her autistic younger brother, David, to follow. Three examples are no toys in the fish tank, chew with your mouth closed, and say “thank you” when someone gives you a present even if you don’t like it. I also appreciate that even though Catherine helps David frequently and cares for him by babysitting him, she also takes care of herself. One of Catherine’s rules for herself are: pantless brothers are not my problem. When Catherine’s not babysitting, she’s allowed to live a normal life and hang out with her friends more, since her family always revolves around his disability. I don’t appreciate that Catherine addresses Kristi, her new next-door neighbor, as a friend, since Kristi doesn’t treat her as a friend. When Catherine goes to a dance with her new friend, Jason, who she met at David’s occupational therapy clinic center, she sees Kristi and her friend Ryan. Kristi didn’t know that Jason can’t talk since Catherine didn’t tell her, so Kristi just leaves Catherine. On page 196, Catherine apologizes, “I’m sorry...I should’ve told you the truth.” Without looking at her, Kristi flatly replies, “Yeah...You should’ve. I’ll see you around.” I also don’t appreciate that Catherine wishes that David could just be normal, since he can’t help it. I think that she should be kinder about it. When Catherine was in third grade, her class did a project called the “My Family” picture. Catherine drew her family, but with a normal brother, instead of David. The teacher made her draw the picture over and visit the guidance counselor. Page 140 says, “I tried to tell her it was still David...but wanted him to be able to play with me, and since I was fixing things, I made him older so he could stick up for me.”

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