Unspoken Rules by Lora Inak
ARC provided by Netgalley for a fair review.
Publish date: September 17, 2017
“She wasn’t like the other kids at school. She didn’t have the same freedoms. She had to live the life decided for her. Tread the same terrain trodden on by her mother, her grandmother, no doubt her sister and countless other girls and women from her community. Her road was set – long straight, even, the scenery black and white.”
Unspoken Rules is about a Syrian girl, Natalie, living in Australia desperately trying to balance life at home within the Syrian Christian Orthodox community and her secular life at school.
What I liked about this story was that it instilled quite a bit of culture around Natalie’s choices. It’s a lot more than just strict parents with lots of rules – it has to do with the background of why there are rules. So when she went around trying to hide her choices from her family it was understandable. Here she was trying to live a life as a modern teenager in Australia, when her life was shrouded by religion, tradition, and expectation. Her life at home at school was so drastically different that it was just so much easier to separate the two rather than merge them as one life – her life.
Natalie could be the biggest hypocrite. Like here she was complaining about how traditional her family was, and then flip out and unfriend her best friend because of a modern choice she made, that frankly didn’t actually affect Natalie in any shape or form.
I did however adore how unsuperficial she was when it came to her judging people, especially when it came to including one of the unpopular girls at her church.
I was raised in a fairly strict household, so I definitely get how she would feel when it comes to not being allowed to do a lot of things. I honestly got a little annoyed at how much she was complaining about her different lives. Like, dang girl, you’re the one who made it that way. At least she admitted she needed to grow up. I also found it a little weird how open she was to changes in her life once a boy was involved. It was a big relief to see that at some point in their relationship she realized the choices she was making was drastically different than how she was raised. Now while I do not agree with some of the way the orthodox religion is, I do not agree with someone just flip flopping without a thought – and I was incredibly happy that she didn’t just get carried away with the moment.
All in all, I thought the book was okay, but nothing to really grab my friend and rave about to.