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The Six Rules of Maybe



Tender tale of good girl learning to live her own life.

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Readers will find lots of messages here, most importantly that it's OK to hope, pursue what you want -- and to "know when you've reached an end."

Positive role models

Scarlett's deep caring for the people in her world is something to be admired. Her ability to ultimately stand up for herself and let other people work out their own problems is also admirable.


One troubled character makes a bomb to get back at his girlfriend's parents. It explodes, breaking a window and starting a fire. 


Juliet gets pregnant before she's married -- and had an active sex life in high school. Scarlett knows her teen neighbor and her boyfriend are home alone together after school. Scarlett kisses her sister's husband, but is quickly told to stop. She later kisses a boy from school. 


There's a sprinkling of the f-word among other biggies, but its not overwhelming.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Hayden smokes cigarettes at night. Scarlett tries one, but he takes it away from her.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Scarlett's sister, who had an active sex life in high school, gets pregnant before getting married. Scarlett kisses a couple boys, including her surprised new brother-in-law. There is some swearing, and one character smokes at night.  Readers will admire Scarlett's deep caring for the people in her world, as well as her growing ability to stand up for herself. They will find lots of good messages here, most importantly to that it's OK to hope, pursue what you want -- and to "know when you've reached an end."

Parents say

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What's the story?

Scarlett is upset when her selfish sister Juliet returns home pregnant and married to a kind man she doesn't seem to love. Romantic Hayden, whoconstantly writes love notes that her sister doesn't appreciate,seems like a better match for Scarlett; she is the selfless sister who always gets involved in everyone's lives, trying to help them out. But Scarlett has a lot to learn about how complicated love can be -- and about how to start pursuing her own path.

Is it any good?


Like Caletti's other work, this is a rich, emotional novel filled with life lessons that will touch readers' hearts. They will certainly identify with sweet Scarlett and understand why she is angry at her sister's inability to appreciate all that she has, including a wonderful husband and baby on the way.

They may, however, find that some of Scarlett's kind acts strain credibility; towards the end of the book she goes so far as to stuff a lonely neighbor's mailbox full of letters and postcards she has written, and even hangs paper cranes from his  tree.  Even so, it's the smaller, more realistic moments that will really stick with readers, such as when Scarlett's mom realizes how much her younger daughter needs her, or when Juliet finally admits that she is afraid of how much she loves the new family she's creating.  

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the actual "Six Rules of Maybe." These rules say that your should  "Begin with belief" and "Know what you desire"... but also that you should quit when you've figured out you can't get what you want. How do you know when you've reached that point? Do you think quitting is ever the right decision?

  • This book features two very different sisters: One who is very selfless, and one who is used to getting what she wants. Which one do you identify more with? Which sister do you think has more to learn?

  • Scarlett is always doing nice things for other people, including sending mail to a lonely neighbor. Do people like this really exist in the world? Can you think of real life people who've gone out of their way to help others? What are some things you can do to help people in your school or community?

Book details

Author:Deb Caletti
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon Pulse
Publication date:March 16, 2010
Number of pages:336
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17

This review of The Six Rules of Maybe was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written bybrookenoelle188 June 17, 2011

Book is awesomee, & eye watering at the end.

This book was sooo good:) I couldn't put it down, i finished it in 2 days! I think this book is great because Scarlet (Main Character) is a regular teenager, & has a lot of obstacles. I gotta read more of Deb Caletti's books! They're sooo good. I recommend this book for ages 12 & up. Just because young kids wont understand. This book is inspiring.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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