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Part family drama, part contemporary thriller, Rule of Threes is a middle grade story about what happens when "perfect" is out of your control.
An interior design enthusiast, twelve-year-old Maggie Owens is accustomed to living her life according to her own precise plans. But when she learns about Tony, a mysterious half-brother her own age who needs a place to stay, any semblance of a plan is shattered. Tony's mom struggles with an addiction to opioids, and now she's called upon Maggie's dad—who is also Tony's dad—to take him in. On top of everything, Maggie must also come to terms with the Alzheimer's afflicting her beloved grandmother.
While Maggie can strive for—and even succeed in—a picture perfect design, when it comes to family, there is no such thing as perfection. To work through the sudden struggles rocking her world, Maggie must learn the importance of having an open heart.
• A heart-wrenching, authentic, and darkly funny coming-of-age story
• Addresses hard-hitting topics—such as divorce and substance abuse—with care and honesty
• From Marcy Campbell, author of Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse
Merci Suárez Changes Gears meets The Thing About Jellyfish in this compulsively readable novel.
• Perfect for ages 10 and up
• Appeals to those interested in stories about friendship and non-traditional families
• Great for readers who love a bold and self-aware protagonist
About the Author
Marcy Campbell lives in Ohio with her family and menagerie of rescued pets. Her writing for adults has been published widely in journals and magazines, including Salon. She is the author of Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse. This is her first novel.
"Threaded with relevant design precepts, Campbell's engaging tale of redefining family is anchored by occasionally prickly Maggie's voice as she learns to loosen her own rules and find harmony in the imperfect."-Publishers Weekly
"Campbell effectively highlights the small details that make the family feel authentic. . . and allows the title rule (which identifies the elements of good design) to shape the story without being an overwhelming metaphor. Issues of drug abuse are handled in an age-appropriate way, and the balance of high- and low-stakes problems in Maggie's world is effective."-The Horn Book Magazine
"Campbell portrays Maggie's complex troubles sympathetically while still pushing back on her insecure insularity through characterization, and gradually, Maggie grows to become more open to change and empathy. Her problems are a lot for a sixth-grader to handle, which makes her personal victory more meaningful."-Booklist
"I loved this book. It's an honest, empathetic, insightful ode to the resilience of family."-Sara Pennypacker, award-winning author of Pax
"Complex and stirring. This heartfelt novel shows us that some rules are meant to be broken, and that families can be rebuilt to make room for the people you love."-Sheela Chari, author of Edgar Award Finalist Vanished
"A tenderly told story about growing up in a family where everything suddenly seems to be changing. With tons of heart, Campbell tackles the tough issues and shows readers a wider view of what love and family really mean." -Shelley Pearsall, author of Things Seen From Above
"With layered characters and realistic emotions, this book stands out for its honest portrayal of love's challenging terrain. A deeply satisfying read about renewed friendship and reconfigured family."-Rebecca Balcárcel, author of Pura Belpré Honoree The Other Half of Happy
“Rule of Threes’. . . knockout premise is entirely Campbell's. . . . [M]eticulously crafted. . .”—Shelf Awareness