Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Unwritten Rule (YA)

Scott, Elizabeth. 2010. The Unwritten Rule. Simon & Schuster. 210 pages. (April 2010, tentatively)

I liked him first, but it doesn't matter.
I still like him.
That doesn't matter either.
Or at least, it's not supposed to.

Sarah has liked Ryan for years. (Since he asked her to a dance back in eighth grade.) But when her friend, Brianna, makes a (successful) move on the new-and-improved Ryan at an end-of-summer party, Sarah feels guilty for wishing things were oh-so-different. Everything is complicated because Brianna is always insisting that Sarah come along when the she and Ryan hang out and when they "study" together. The three do get along together surprisingly well. But. Sarah can't help wishing that she was with Ryan.

Does she have reason to hope? How does Ryan see her? Does he see her like that? Would it matter if he did? Would she still choose to play by the rules if she knew that he cared for her too?

There are a million rules for being a girl. There are a million things you have to do to get through each day. High school has things that can trip you up, ruin you, people smile and say one thing and mean another, and you have to know all the rules, you have to know what you can and can't do. And one of them is this: You don't kiss your best friend's boyfriend. You don't do it once. You certainly don't do it twice. (116)
I enjoyed this one. The friendship between Sarah and Brianna is complicated. Good, bad, ugly, it's all there. And it's nice to see a book explore how some friendships can turn toxic somewhere along the way. But that's not to say Brianna can be summed up in a simple little word like toxic. She plays both victim and bully. Both Brianna and Sarah are human, flawed. And I love that. I love it when a book takes the time to develop characters and relationships. Scott's characters are always unique and quirky and have interesting (or sometimes not so interesting) lives. (Sarah's thing is for designing sneakers.)

I really love Elizabeth Scott. I really have loved all of her books: Love You Hate You Miss You, Something Maybe, Living Dead Girl, Stealing Heaven, Perfect You, and Bloom. Each has its place. And I'd definitely recommend all of them.

The quotes are from the ARC, so they are subject to change before the book is published in the spring of 2010. (The ARC was provided by the publisher.)

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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