“Because of bad experiences, bad teaching, or just bad expectations, most of us expect the worst from life, so that’s what most of us get. The universe only gives you what you ask for, so if you think about getting sick long enough, you’ll get sick. If you imagine someone beating you up long enough, someone will beat you up. But…imagine getting a new car long enough and that’ll happen, too. Imagine losing weight or gaining muscle, and you will.” – From The Rule of Won
What happens when a group of students at Screech Neck High School gets their hands on a Secret-esque teaching promising that if you can imagine it, you can manifest it? What of those who are dubious, who dare to question the concept of “imanifesting”?
At first, when Duppie (downwardly mobile) Ethan Skinson begins evangelizing the teachings of Jasper Trelawney, author of the mega book The Rule of Won, students slowly, cautiously attend meetings called “Craves”. Using “mesmories” to “imanifest” their “craves”, students begin to focus on individual wants to bring into being.
When someone suggests “imanifesting” more school funding for Screech Neck High—and it happens—group enthusiasm skyrockets. School-wide fervor ensues, with students (and even the principal) wearing “1” pins and yelling crave chants in the halls.
Slacker and loner extraordinaire Caleb Dunne wants nothing to do with the group—until his girlfriend Vicky practically gives him an ultimatum: get with the craving, the “imanifesting”—or get shut out of her life.
When Caleb begins to see things happening—including wishing for his bus to stop as it was driving away without him (the driver does, indeed, brake and pick him up)—he, too, becomes a believer.
But what of the magical drawings that Ethan’s sister produces? Are they linked—or even the source—of the amazing manifestations? And what happens when members have conflicting “craves”—or want the group to “imanifest” differing scenarios?
With bold, compelling strokes, author Stefan Petrucha paints an unsettling portrait of what happens when groupthink rules—and immature teens turn on each other in the quest for the best…and in order vanquish the enemies of supposed negativity.
Cleverly melding “actual” discussion board posts from Cravers—from an Xbox and an iPod to more serious requests like safety for relatives overseas in the military—with student interaction, private thoughts and euphoric Crave meetings, Petrucha offers an unflinching look at fanaticism and its bloody (and almost deadly) aftermath.
For those who have reservations about The Secret and similar teachings, The Rule of Won (geared towards those ages 12 and up) will only confirm your misgivings. However, Petrucha doesn’t throw the New Age baby out with the bathwater: while he does depict the dangers of wanton materialism combined with zealotry, the possibility—and actuality—of some tenants of manifestation are left intact.
Rather than write with a judgmental tone, the author presents an all-too-plausible scenario that could occur in isolated settings, yet refuses to offer easy answers or pat condemnation of the Law of Attraction (and similar teachings).
A gripping read,The Rule of Won would appeal to teens that enjoy Young Adult novels centering on relationship conflicts and cliques. Teachers will appreciate the sensitive treatment of themes like bullying, herd mentality and acceptance. Lastly, those who welcome novels exploring the juncture between metaphysical concepts and the “ground level” vagaries of life will consider reading The Rule of Won time well spent (as I did).
Content copyright © by Janet Boyer. All rights reserved. This review was written by Janet Boyer. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission.