The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther

Welcome, my fellow bookworms! 

In this post, I discuss a YA contemporary romance, The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther. If you’d prefer to listen to this review, you can check out the full episode on The Bookmarks ‘n Blankets Podcast on your favorite podcast platform or listen below. (This is a spoiler-free post.)

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The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther

Published: May 2021
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance – However, the two main characters are 18 and 19, so I would consider this more New Adult than YA because they both have already graduated from high school.
Language: Very little
Spice: Very PG
Format: Paperback
My Rating: Read It
My GR Rating: 4/5 ⭐

Book Synopsis:

Amazon Description: When Meredith Fox lost her sister, Claire, eighteen months ago, she shut everyone out. But this summer, she’s determined to join the world again.

The annual family vacation to Martha’s Vineyard seems like the perfect place to reconnect. Her entire extended family is gathering for a big summer wedding, and although Meredith is dateless after being unexpectedly dumped, she’s excited to participate in the traditional Fox family game of assassin that will take place during the week of wedding festivities. Claire always loved the game, and Meredith is determined to honor her legacy.

But when Meredith forms an assassin alliance with a cute groomsman, she finds herself getting distracted. Meredith tries to focus on the game and win it for her sister, but she can’t help falling for him. And as the week progresses, she realizes she’s not only at risk of losing the game but also her heart.

Overall Opinion:

This book made my inner teenager swoon. This was my first YA Modern Romance, and I just adored it. The romance was cute, the family dynamics were heartwarming, and overall, it was such a sweet story.

Book Details:

  • Length – I read the paperback version, and it was 354 pages. The length of the chapters were sufficient. The pacing was great as well. I never got bored because there was a lot going on. I couldn’t put this down once I started it. I think I finished it in two, maybe three, days. It was just so cute and a nice palette cleanser from a previous heavy month of mystery and thrillers. It was exactly what I needed at the time.
  • Writing Style – It’s an easy read that is very immersive. We are reading Meredith’s POV in first person. 
  • Cover Art – The cover is absolutely gorgeous.

What I Didn’t Like About It:

  • The two main characters, Meredith and Wit, are 18 and 19, and they seemed a bit immature at times and a bit cheesy. I felt like Meredith acted like a 15 year old at times instead of an 18 year old becoming an adult. 
  • As for the romance, I was expecting enemies to lovers but instead got insta-love, which was not quite believable or realistic to me. They start to fall for each other in a matter of a few days. We needed more buildup and seeing the characters connect with each other. Plus, some of the dialogue was really cringy.  
  • I could’ve used a bit more drama or entertaining scenes, especially during the gameplay of Assassin. I would’ve liked to have seen more of those scenes play out, more strategy around the game. 
  • If you’re looking for a lot of character depth, you won’t find much in this story. It’s definitely more of a fluff read with flat, shallow characters. There are also a lot of characters to remember and keep track of, which got a little overwhelming at times. There is a family tree at the beginning of the book but it disrupted my reading flow by having to constantly go back to see who was related to who. I also could’ve used a map of the area where they stayed. There were a lot of buildings/cabins/tents and it got a little confusing on where people were. 
  • I didn’t like how Meredith’s friends treated her while she was grieving for her sister. They were acting very selfish and not allowing their friend to grief in her own way. Meredith kept apologizing for not being there for her friends, but where were they? Why weren’t they showing compassion for her?
  • However, on the flip side, Meredith was not a good friend to her friends during the week because she kept making excuses not to be around them so she could hang out with Wit. I understand wanting a summer fling, but Meredith states at the beginning that she’s not interested in a summer fling, but then goes back on her word. She also betrayed their alliance pact, again, for a guy that she doesn’t even know. It just felt really crappy to me that she would do her friends dirty like that. Again, her immaturity was showing.  
  • The title of the book is misleading because I didn’t see where any rules were broken.

What I Liked About It:

  • I absolutely loved the setting in the New England area. I’ve never been there, but after reading this book, it felt like I had been. I loved the imagery and  descriptions of the area where they stayed with the little cabins, and then it described the town and its surroundings. It definitely gave me summer vibes and summer vacation. 
  • I really, really enjoyed reading about this family coming together for a wedding. At first, there were a lot of people introduced and it was a little difficult to keep everyone straight, but then, I remembered who was who and who was related to who. It was fun to see the interactions and get that close-knit family feeling. I loved it. There were even really good friends of the main character there. It just felt very cozy and family-oriented. I loved how they all supported each other, but they were also very serious about the Assassin game, which was so much fun. 
  • I really enjoyed the Assassin game that they played. I’d never heard of that game but it was a fun part of the story. I loved when they talked about strategies and how to take out their targets, and then seeing them try to execute their ideas because it didn’t always work in their favor. Some scenes were pretty funny. It made me wish I had a family that had a fun game tradition like that at family reunions.
  • I like the reason behind why they played the Assassin game, which was touching – in memory of Meredith’s sister who unexpectedly died, which was sweet. You definitely felt the family keeping her memory alive during the whole wedding week. She was there in spirit with them. She was almost like a character who wasn’t there. I liked how it touched on loss and grief. They definitely keep the sister’s memory alive. You also see Meredith struggle coping with her sister’s death and grieving in her own way. It gave her character more depth and made her very relatable. 
  • The romance connection between Meredith and Wit was really cute and sweet. I liked them together. I enjoyed their banter. Wit was charming, sarcastic, witty, and pretty funny. They had good chemistry together, and it was fun seeing them get to know each other. He brings her back to life in a sense because she was having a hard time dealing with her sister’s death. So we get to watch her bloom and come out of this depressed, grieving state. There is also a bit of a plot twist you discover toward the end, and it was really sweet. Even though we saw it coming, it was satisfying. 
  • I also liked how the book was laid out by days of the week, so we knew what was going on the entire wedding week and had a clear picture of the story’s timeframe.

Why You Should or Shouldn’t Read It:

Read if you:

  • Enjoy cute, sweet, heartwarming YA/New Adult love stories
  • Love family dynamics and playfulness
  • Want a quick, lighthearted, fluffy summertime read
  • Enjoy feeling the warm, fuzzy feelings from a book
  • Want to get out of reading slump

You probably won’t like this if you’re not into juvenile teen romance stories. It’s definitely written for a younger audience, and they could probably appreciate it more than I could. But if you want a light, fluffy read that’s entertaining and not taken seriously at all, then you may be able to get around the immaturity and cringy, cheesy scenes, as I did.

Final Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book from the very beginning. It was so adorable. I was grinning from ear to ear the entire time. It made me feel giddy and young again. It gave me the warm, cozy feelings that I didn’t know I needed. It was also a lot of fun getting to know this family and watching the Assassin gameplay. The romance part was swoon-worthy. Wit and Meredith were a very likable, cute couple. I was definitely rooting for them the entire time. The ending was a bit predictable but it was still really enjoyable and satisfying. It left me in such a good mood.  

Many reviewers said there are a lot of Taylor Swift references that they really enjoyed, but I’m not a Taylor Swift fan, so I didn’t pick up on those. But if you are a fan, then you’ll really appreciate those nods to the singer. 

If you’re interested in this book, you can purchase it here.

*Please note that I am a participant in the Amazon Associates Program and a member of other affiliate programs. I may receive commissions from qualifying purchases made through links in this article.

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