Book Review: The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Released: March 16, 2010

Publisher: Simon Pulse

224 pages

From the book jacket: Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He’s easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he’s paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect except for two tiny details: Ryan is Brianna’s boyfriend. And Brianna is Sarah’s best friend.

Sarah forces herself to avoid Ryan and tries to convince herself not to like him. She feel so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants to do is hurt her best friend. But when she is thrown together with Ryan one night, something happens between them. It’s wonderful…and awful. Sarah is torn apart by guilt but what she feels is nothing short of addiction, and she can’t stop herself from wanting more…


Sarah, the protagonist of The Unwritten Rule,  is breaking the Unwritten Rule:  she’s in love with her best friend’s boyfriend. In her friendship with Brianna, Sarah has always known her role. She’s the plain, quirky best friend to the gorgeous, outgoing girl. The one who always gives in, does what Brianna wants to do.  In some ways, I think she surprises herself when she ends up in a tricky situation with Ryan, but I also think that she’s completely justified in her feelings and actions.

Something I wasn’t entirely fond of was how Sarah was seemed like a bit of a doormat. Maybe it struck something in me because I’ve had friends like Brianna before and felt like a doormat myself, and now, being grown-up enough to see that, it bothers me to see other people, even fictional people, experiencing the same thing. I want to shake them & say “This is who she is! She will not change!” Sarah is a generous but not very confident friend, always making excuses for Brianna’s behavior, unwilling to see that maybe her best friend isn’t the best friend for her.

The boys that Elizabeth Scott writes, oh the boys. Ryan’s an artistic, funny boy with whom Sarah shares genuine chemistry. The dialogue/writing never feels forced when these two are on the page. Ryan is a nice guy who really likes Sarah. The problem with these two is that neither one of them communicate their feelings very well, to be frank. There were a few “will they just get on with it!” moments for me – but primarily because I liked their chemistry together.

I liked the dynamic between Sarah and her parents. After having read a few books in a row now with dysfunctional families, Sarah’s parents were a nice change. Sure, her mom is focused on an unusual hobby(she enters cook-offs) & her dad is a bit older than her mother & suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, so Sarah & her mother worry about his health. But overall, Sarah’s parents provide something that not all the parents in Elizabeth Scott books do: stability, understanding and patience. They are a marked contrast from Brianna’s parents and that’s entirely the point of their existence and part of the reason Sarah has so much sympathy for Brianna.

One quote that really stayed with me:
“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.”
Scott really gets it right here. There are so many ways that high school is hard for girls. Socially, it wasn’t the worst time of my life(that was middle school) but still, I remember feeling as though there were emotional landmines everywhere, daily.

Lastly, in case it wasn’t obvious: I love Elizabeth Scott’s books. She’s adept at all sorts of characters: the girl who’s just trying to figure things out, the BFF who tells it like it is, the geek-cute boy who cracks wise, the gorgeous boy who has a deeper side…they’re all present and accounted for in just about all of her novels, much to my delight. However,  the author is never afraid to tackle difficult topics and has also written books like Living Dead Girl and Love You, Hate You, Miss You. The characters in those books have with issues-with-a-capital-I, and are sensitively handled. Scott’s diversity of subject matter is just one reason to love her books. Definitely find out for yourself, if you haven’t already!

Source: Review copy from publisher


One Comment to “Book Review: The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott”

  1. i enjoyed this book too 🙂 to see my review of The Unwritten Rule, visit Elfgirl Books!

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