HOUSE RULES is about Jacob Hunt, a teenage boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special focus on one subject – in his case, forensic analysis. He’s always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do…and he’s usually right. But then one day his tutor is found dead, and the police come to question him. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger’s – not looking someone in the eye, stimulatory tics and twitches, inappropriate affect – can look a heck of a lot like guilt to law enforcement personnel -- and suddenly, Jacob finds himself accused of murder. HOUSE RULES looks at what it means to be different in our society, how autism affects a family, and how our legal system works well for people who communicate a certain way – but lousy for those who don’t.
I'm going to say, up front, this book is intense, and made me feel every emotion a person can feel. The lives of those in the Hunt family have never been easy. Jacob's Asperger's Syndrome makes it impossible for him to connect well to others and, sometimes, his tantrums can become violent. He has special accomodations at home, and at school, but those things don't help him when he is accused of murdering his Social Skills tutor, Jess Ogilvy. From there, everything becomes increasingly harder, and breathtaking for the reader up until the last page. It's sad, and at some times, hard to read, but it also gave me hope for a reason that I cannot write for fear of revealing spoilers, which I dislike doing. Aside from the storyline about the murder, Jacob's mother also has her own side-story, and his brother, Theo's point of view is also shown throughout. the different outlooks are refreshing and the voices are extremely distinctive. One thing I don't like in some books, are how the voices sometimes all sound the same. You won't find that here. Jacob, Theo's, and Emma's voices are all different and unique. I love this book and I would definitely read it again, but if there was one thing I could change, it would be how things ended.
But I won't tell you that. (:
It's for these reasons that I gave this book 4.5 STARS. ****1/2
more book reviews to come in the next few days.