Maggie’s dad has a new family game: One Big Thing. Every night around the dinner table, they take turns talking about something important that happened to them that day. But the most important things happening to Maggie are things she’d rather forget. Her friendship with her two closest buddies—and business partners—is falling apart. Her beloved Grandma is getting so forgetful that she called Maggie by the wrong name. And the biggest Big Thing of them all? There’s a stranger sitting across the table from her and, Maggie wonders, is he really staying with them temporarily or are her parents lying about that, too?
When a contest at school provides Maggie with the chance to get her life back on its perfectly planned track, it soon becomes clear that even with her A+ organizational skills, Maggie can’t hold everything together. As her family and friendships change in dramatic ways, she has to decide whether to keep her tried and true list of rules, especially the Rule of Threes, or create an entirely new list, for both her decorating business, and her life in general.
Praise for Rule of Threes
“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
“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
“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
“I loved this book. It’s an honest, empathetic, insightful ode to the resilience of family.”
—Sara Pennypacker, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of Pax
“Campbell comes up with a real humdinger of a challenge for the endlessly sympathetic Maggie Owens…the book’s knockout premise is entirely Campbell’s…meticulously crafted….”
“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.”
“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.”
“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 becoming 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