Book Review: “House Rules”

Reviewed by Ellen Suss

The novel “House Rules” by Jodi Picoult is about a teenage boy, Jacob Hunt, with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate effectively with others.

Taking place in a small town, the novel follows the life of Jacob and his family through many hard times, including Jacob’s daily social struggles and the murder of a close family friend.

“House Rules” shows not only the struggles, but also the joys of living with a person with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Jacob has very specific preferences, like the color of his food, and any minor change in his schedule can cause a breakdown that lasts for hours.

When Jacob’s social tutor, Jess, is murdered, the police come to question him.

When the characteristics of Asperger’s, like not making eye contact and stimulatory tics and twitches, begin to look a lot like guilt, Jacob finds himself accused of murder.

The rest of the book follows Jacob and his family through the trial of Jess’s murder and delivers many shocking twists until the final verdict of the murder is decided.

I absolutely loved “House Rules.” It had a very unique plot and characters, and I was hooked after reading the first page.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a great story with an amazing message.

Ellen Suss is a sophomore in the academically gifted program at Hahnville High. She enjoys cheerleading and playing the piano.

Editor’s note: Book reviews are published weekly in agreement with Hahnville High School gifted English teacher Deborah Unger in conjunction with the Brown Foundation Service Learning Program.



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