Monday, April 5, 2010

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

I needed to clean my palate of science fiction and picked up this teen romance. Clean my palate it did.

Sarah likes Ryan. She has always liked Ryan. And she still likes him even though he is now her best friend’s boyfriend. Sarah is basically a big old steaming pile of want.

At first I really related to Sarah. Man, I know how tough it is to have a best friend who shines brighter than the sun. They’re prettier than you, they’re more confident than you, they can step into a room and not immediately want to blend into the wallpaper. Girl, I totally sympathize. But somewhere along the way Sarah lost me. I still felt bad for her, but I wanted her to do something, anything other than sit around mooning over a dude. Sometimes I felt like she was on the verge, she’d pick up a blank sneaker and start to think about designing it (she designed shoes which is a fun, interesting, quirky, artistic hobby), but then she’d just be overwhelmed with her want of a guy and she’d have to put it down. Nothing could distract her. Honestly? It was a lot to take. Had she occasionally gone for a run, or put on record, or actually worked on a darn sneaker, I think the book would have been stronger for it.

I absolutely get the awesome overpowering nature of teen love having been there myself (you know several decades ago hardy har har), but being subjected to it non-stop was tiring. Made me wish I was reading a little Frankie, if you know what I mean. I think what it boils down to is that I just wanted her to act instead of constantly being acted upon.

Brianna, on the other hand, is Sarah’s polar opposite. She’s brash, she’s confident (at least outwardly), she’s not afraid to go after something she wants. She’s also the master of the back-handed compliment and almost vampiric in her talent for suckage. She just sucks Sarah dry of energy, confidence, and general will to live. What a terrible friend. And Ryan isn’t too much better. He wants to break up with Brianna, but never seems quite able to do it – despite telling Sarah that he wants to. If you’re finding it that hard to find a quiet moment (and all signs point to yes it was impossible to do so) give the girl a phone call. Send her an email. Leave her a voicemail. Ideal? Never! But extreme situations call for extreme measures. I kind of wished that Sarah had told him to stuff it.

Do I think teen girls will like it? Yes indeed! And after all, that is who it is written for. You should definitely stock this one in your library. There is a lot of fun wish fulfillment in this story. So even though I would have liked to have seen more sparks of independence and decisive action, Sarah does come into her own. And you know what? The shy girls are going to really enjoy seeing Sarah get the guy while the mean girl ends up friendless. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good comeuppance?

Book Source: Publisher Review Copy


Anonymous said...

I've been a little ambivalent about Scott ever since reading Living Dead Girl. I picked this one up to see if I could bring myself to like her work, which sounds possible based on this review.

In other matters:

This is an official invitation to join my "Finding the 'good' parents in YA Lit" challenge and post your own list of books with "good" parents.

You can find all the information here:


Patti said...

Oh cool! Thanks!