Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Book Review: The Unwritten Rule

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott. (Grades 7+) Simon Pulse, March 2010. Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.

Sarah has been best friends with Brianna since they met in kindergarten and Brianna saved Sarah from the clutches of a five-year-old Mean Girl. Sarah has been Brianna's loyal sidekick ever since. But there's one thing Sarah's never told Brianna - how she feels about Brianna's boyfriend Ryan. Sarah has liked Ryan since the eighth grade, but now Ryan and Brianna are together and Sarah knows that she can never tell Brianna her true feelings. 

Except that... Ryan and Sarah kissed. 

And now Sarah's falling harder than ever. There's an unwritten rule: you don't fall for your best friend's boyfriend. And Sarah's broken it. 

Sometimes you're in the mood for werewolves. 
Sometimes you're in the mood for girl football players. 
And sometimes you're in the mood for a romance story with teen characters so real they're practically jumping off the page - and for that last one, you'll pick up The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott. 

One of Elizabeth's Scott's great strengths are her characters. It was one of the first things I loved about her books. Sometimes I want to shake her characters, sometimes I want to hug them, and that's because they feel so real to me. Sarah, Brianna, Ryan, and the rest of the characters in The Unwritten Rule are no exception. 

Of course, I was rooting for our protagonist here - Sarah's a sweet girl in a tight spot and there's no win-win solution for her. But the character that really fascinated me was Brianna. It'd be easy to write Brianna off as a kind of frenemy, an obstacle to Sarah's destiny. But, like real people, Brianna's complex. And, okay, maybe she does mean things sometimes, but you can absolutely see why she is the way she is, and why Sarah has to keep quiet about her feelings for Ryan. It's a tribute to Ms. Scott's writing that she can make the reader feel empathy for Brianna, even as we're rooting for Sarah to get the guy. 

This is a sweet romance story and I'd definitely recommend picking it up if you enjoy Sarah Dessen or Jenny Han. (Can I also just say that I love the cover? It's so pretty and purple!)

Read more reviews at GreenBean TeenQueen, Not Enough Bookshelves, Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf, and The Book Owl (among others). And check out this videoblog of Elizabeth Scott talking about The Unwritten Rule for Readergirlz (thanks to bildungsroman for the link!):

The Unwritten Rule is on shelves now! Go pick it up for your spring break (or anytime) reading!