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The Usual Rules by Joyce Maynard
In The Usual Rules, Joyce Maynard places the terrorist attacks of September 11 at the emotional core of her novel. 13-year old Wendy's mother goes off to work at the World Trade Center that day and never comes home. The tragedy is the center of her life and the rest of the city. Then her father appears and takes her away to a new life in California, where September 11 seems a distant event. Life itself, seems a distant event, and Wendy decides "the usual rules" don't apply and begins to skip school just to wander her new community by herself. On the cusp of adolescence, Wendy must come to grips with her past while fashioning a new life for herself. The San Antonio Express-News says of The Usual Rules, "Maynard has created a story of great hope, of an enduring belief in mankind that triumphs even before evidence of horrible cruelty and loss."