Summary: Simone Breaks All the Rules
Simone Breaks All the Rules is Debbie Rigaud’s sophomore YA novel. Simone Thibodeau is in her senior year of high school and is ready for some freedom from her strict Haitian parents (especially her mother). She’s been dreaming of her perfect prom experience with long-time crush, Gavin as her prom date, but the dream is threatened when her mom arranges a prom date (just as they did for Simone’s older sister) for her. But Simone isn’t backing down easily this time. She joins forces with two other daughters of protective immigrant parents: Amita and Kira. Together, they make a bucket list of sorts, including items like “spend a day in NYC” and “go to the club.” The girls are determined to take charge of their lives.
However, as Simone and the “Homegirls” (what the girls call their group) start breaking some rules and ticking things off their list, a few things don’t quite go according to plan. First, Simone is starting to feel a type of way about Ben, her arranged prom date — even though she’s agreed that he will be Kira’s date, while she goes with Gavin. And does Gavin even really want to go to prom with her?
This was a fun story. It did start a bit slowly for me, but once I was in, I started to enjoy Simone, her family, and her friends. I liked Simone’s relationship with her cousin, Gabby. It felt realistic and heartwarming, and I loved the way issues were resolved between them. I also thought the Homegirls were fun and they added more flesh to the story.
Simone’s family dynamics are central to the story, as are Haitian culture and being an immigrant. I loved all the Creole interspersed throughout the story. I also liked that the author did not make caricatures of the parents. Simone’s mother, especially, is strict, but also funny and can tell a good story. We also see a really loving side to her and eventually come to understand her motivations.
Finally, Debbie Rigaud writes some sweet young YA, and despite this story being about a soon-to-graduate high schooler, it feels young, in a good way. I liked seeing Ben and Simone (mostly Simone) warm up to each other and pull back the curtain on both their motivations. There are so many small surprises throughout this story too. It made for an enjoyable reading experience.
Overall: Simone Breaks All the Rules
Simone Breaks the Rules is a sweet, entertaining, and sometimes hilarious coming-of-age YA novel. The book follows an awkward teen on the path to reclaiming her life from her controlling, overprotective immigrant parents. Featuring strong connections to Haitian culture, a love of New York City, and positive female friendships, this one is perfect for fans of sweet YA with a dash of humor.
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I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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