Rules for Moving

From bestselling author Nancy Star comes a deeply moving novel about the truths we hide from others and the lies we tell ourselves.

To the outside world, beloved advice columnist Lane Meckler has all the answers. What no one knows is that she also has a secret: her life is a disaster, and it’s just gotten worse. Her husband, whom she was planning to leave, has died in a freak accident. Her six-year-old son, Henry, has stopped speaking to everyone but her. Lane’s solution? Move. Growing up, that was what her family did best.

But when she and Henry pack up and leave, Lane realizes that their next home is no better, and she finally begins to ask herself some hard questions. What made her family move so often? Why has she always felt like an outsider? How can she get Henry to speak?

On a journey to help her son find his voice, Lane discovers that somewhere along the way she lost her own. If she wants to help him, she’ll need to find the courage to face the past and to speak the truth she’s been hiding from for years.

Praise & Reviews

“With Rules for Moving, Nancy Star takes us beyond the paywall to ask what happens when our favorite internet advice columnist needs help of her own. A tender exploration of family, friendship, and what it means to be the black sheep.”
—Julia Phillips, National Book Award finalist, author of Disappearing Earth

“An impressively original, deftly crafted, thoughtfully entertaining novel by an author who is able to engage and hold her reader’s rapt attention from beginning to end.”
—Midwest Book Review

“Nancy Star doesn’t scrimp on the juicy stuff. Her sixth novel traces the trauma of advice columnist Lane Meckler, who has a misbegotten tendency to change houses in times of trouble. As she shuttles her troubled 6-year-old son from one domestic scene to the next, she finds she’s got some reckoning to do. Star’s signature blend of suspense, warmth and wisdom travel through every page.
—Tammy La Gorce, NJ Monthly

“A heartwarming tale.”
—N.C. Lepri, New York Journal of Books

Rules for Moving highlights once again Nancy Star’s sense of humor and empathy for tenderhearted people who are struggling to find a place in the world. I rooted for Lane Meckler, the snappy advice columnist who has no quick comeback when her six-year-old son goes silent with everyone but her. The novel is as suspenseful as a mystery and as wise as an Elizabeth Strout book.”
–Alice Elliott Dark, author of In the Gloaming and Think of England

“An advice columnist in desperate need of advice. A son who won’t talk. A rented house unfit for habitation. Nancy Star’s poignant novel Rules for Moving captures the chaos and heartbreak that is life—and also the wonder and joy.”
—Marcy Dermansky, author of Very Nice

“Nancy Star’s delightful and wise Rules for Moving could have been called Rules for Living. Advice columnist Lane offers her readers the help we would be lucky to receive: kind but unwaveringly honest, unexpected but utterly sensible. While Lane makes a boatload of mistakes, she never wavers in her fierce dedication to understanding and protecting her sweet but troubled young son, who Star paints with humor and rare insight. Readers will be transformed by watching Lane surmount her own tragedies with the grace and courage we dearly wish for ourselves.”
—Lisa Gornick, author of The Peacock Feast and Louisa Meets Bear

“Nancy Star has written a beautiful, luminous novel filled with quirky characters so real you want to bring them home with you and give them some tea and a hug. This book has it all: an advice columnist who is struggling to follow her own best advice; an adorable little boy who has decided to stop talking; and an eccentric family that is burdened with secrets and rules. There is love and laughter and sweetness—and Star’s insightful writing and humor sweep us right to the heart of things. I loved every page!”
—Maddie Dawson, Washington Post bestselling author of Matchmaking for Beginners

“Star handles complex family relationships and Lane’s grief well.”
Publisher’s Weekly