I’m always a little wary of picking up a YA romance that has a cover like Sarah Dessen’s covers. Can it live up to Dessen standards? Doubtful. Dessen’s writing style is so refreshing that when a cover sets up the expectation, I’m usually disappointed. Not so with The Six Rules of Maybe.
Now, Dessen fans: Deb Caletti does not “write like Dessen.” She has her own lyrical, poignant style. What I’m saying here is that her style is just as good in its own right. But I still got that magical (yet mundane in the sense as there are NO werewolves, vampires, witches, or were-amoebas in this book) vibe from The Six Rules of Maybe. A higher power, fate at work in the plot.
The main character, Scarlet, is the kind of nice person who usually makes me feel like a bad person. She hangs out with the school personality disorders because she’s too nice to tell them to get lost. She lets her best friend basically use her. She’s always helpful, always looking to cheer other people up, always watching the backs of friends, neighbors, and family. A giving, nice girl. It is possible for a hero in a book to be “too nice” and turn readers off, but this doesn’t happen with Scarlet. Her character is redeemed by her insightful observation of herself and others, as well as her humor.
This begins to change when her sister comes home, newly married and pregnant, with a smokin’ husband. I mean “smokin'” in the sense that Hayden’s a hottie, but he actually does smoke the occasional cigarette when upset, which conflicts with every other “nice guy” aspect of his character. So Scarlet’s bad girl sister marries a nice guy, and nice Scarlet…wants him. At the same time, Scarlet wants what’s best for the baby, so she actually does try to keep herself to herself and help along sister and Hayden’s faltering relationship.
Add quite a few subplots which all converge at the end (mark of a master storyteller), and you get a satisfying, unpredictable read. I’ll definitely be looking for more by Deb Caletti.
For more information about Deb Caletti and her books, you can visit her website here.