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
113 Book Reviews
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  • 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.”
      • charlesh20
        charlesh20Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 6:33 am44 stars
        The book Rules by Cynthia Lord is a fantastic book, the main character Catherine is born with a autism brother, she have to take some part of responsibility on his brother. Catherine's parts of daily life is to teach her brother David some daily rules such as keep your pants on in public"-in order to stop his embarrassing behavior. Or being behave in the public, no scramming. While in summer Catherine have to do her best to keep David out of trouble. In the summer also a guy named Jason moved in to the next door. With Catherine, she makes Jason a friend very fast and found out that Jason is doing occupational therapy. Another named Kristi. Catherine continues friendships with both Jason and Kristi. Kristi is interested in the local boy. Catherine is getting closer to Jason and Jason even invite Catherine to his B-day party. Well, Happy ending, Catherine learned how to be balance for caring David and establishing her own identity. This book at somehow makes me cry a little bit because of the sense is too emotional. I would grade this book for 4 start because I think this book really tells me a emotional story with lessons. I would suggest this book for the people who is aged around 9-15 years old to read this book because this book is very suitable for the ones who is teens and get annoyed by siblings.
        • pankake334Friday, January 8, 2016 at 2:43 pm
          this book is very touching
          • siri
            siriFriday, January 8, 2016 at 2:32 pm44 stars
            It's a really good book that can be realistic. such a nice story
            • sanj75
              sanj75Friday, January 8, 2016 at 2:21 pmFeatured
              It's a book that's impossible not to like. It's about a girl, Catherine, who has a brother, David, who has autism and how she just doesn't understand how his mind works. Since he tends to have a mind of his own, she writes down rules for him to follow. David loves rules. It's a fun book and great for readers who love a good novel.
              • bry04
                bry04Monday, January 4, 2016 at 5:42 am
                Just now got started and can't wait to finish the book is actually really good so far it is about an autistic kid and his sister's life!!! :)
                • dufros
                  dufrosTuesday, December 15, 2015 at 7:30 amFeatured
                  A lot of the time people don't think about how it would feel to have someone in your family with autism. In the book Rules by Cynthia Lord the main character is Catherine, a twelve year old girl who desperately wants a normal life, but it seems impossible when you have a brother with autism. Catherine tries many things to help her brother David, like making rules for him to follow. Another conflict in this book along with have an autistic brother is Catherine tries her best to make friends like Kristi, her new next door neighbor but to Catherine's surprise she makes a friend named Jason, a boy that she never expected to be friends with. Catherine is the protagonist in this book and David and Catherine's parents are the antagonists. David can't help that he has autism but Catherine wants a normal life so bad it makes it hard on her. Her parents don't seem to understand how hard it is for her and seem to give all of their attention to David. The turning point in this book is when Catherine tries to learn how to accept her brother for who he is… But will she ever fully learn how to accept him? The setting in Rules is in Maine during the summer around Catherine's house, her friends house and her neighborhood. I really recommend you read this book! It gives you great perspective on Catherine's life and can be very relatable for someone in middle school.
                  • al3720
                    al3720Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 1:37 pm33 stars
                    Really good to read
                    • 21wifi2
                      21wifi2Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 4:39 am
                      if you say its good than I am with you.
                    • demosthenes
                      demosthenesSaturday, October 24, 2015 at 1:56 pm
                      this book was filled with great emotions...but it was short and wished it lasted a little longer.