Actual rating: 3.5(This review was originally posted at My Library in the Making.)Ariane Tucker had long ago mastered the art of blending in and being nondescript. Normal teenagers longed for attention, but not her—not when her and her father's safety depended on it, and that had always been her top priority. But mean girls had a way of getting under anyone's skin, and that certainly included a human/alien hybrid's.From page one of The Rules, Ariane's practical but badass and no-nonsense attitude was apparent, and I sure love practical but badass and no-nonsense characters. Even her sarcasm was definitely something. But even with her tough exterior, I really pitied her because it was obvious that all she wanted was a normal life, one lived without the constant fear of getting caught by her creators.Zane's perspective was a surprise, and it worked well with the story. His relationship with Ariane was cute and awkward and hesitant, but, oh god, do I ship them. Still, I'm glad that Zane didn't end up merely being Ariane's love interest; we got his full life's story, too.The Rules was a little hard to get into, particularly at first, and I guess that's mostly because of the author's sporadic use of parenthesized thoughts in her prose. It was disrupting and distracting. God, why did yesterday have to be the one day free of the small-town idiocy that normally dominated the paper, the day that someone hadn't stolen an entire neighborhood's worth of garden gnomes and arranged them in various sexual positions on the front lawn of the Methodist church?(Actually, I'd found that pretty funny at the time. You can't get better examples of hypocrisy than people confronted with blatant—albeit gnomish—displays of sexuality. They get red-faced and blustery all the while intensely wishing they could get their significant other to try what the red gnome was doing to the blue garden fairy. You can't hide thoughts like that from me, people, not without a lot of training and practice. Genius advancement or design flaw, take your pick.See what I mean?Surprisingly, this book was every bit a contemporary as much as it was sci-fi—and you know what? I enjoyed it. The contemp feel lessened the book's overall action-packed-ness, admittedly, but it hiked up the emotional factor because I really sympathized with Ariane.One thing I hadn't known was that the Rules were applicable not only to Ariane, but also to the reader, especially the first rule. Shocking twists came one after another towards the end, which promised more action, more thrill—just more in the sequel that can't come fast enough.MY FAVORITE PART was Ariane and Zane's first "date".