Saturday, January 8, 2011

Review: The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Everyone knows the unwritten rule: You don't like your best friend's boyfriend.

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 things: 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 feels so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants is to hurt her best friend. But when she's thrown together with Ryan one night, something happens. 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... (Summary from author's website)

I have mixed feelings about this book. While I enjoyed the romance aspect, and found the relationship and family dynamics of the story interesting, I feel like it didn't reach it's full potential...as if it wasn't exactly complete. I actually left it feeling frustrated.

To be honest, I was frustrated most with the pacing of this novel, and I think that's why it felt incomplete. Sarah is in love with her best friend's boyfriend, and she feels extremely guilty about that so a lot of the narrative is Sarah's 'will she, won't she'...she loves him and can't help herself; she refuses to betray Brianna - yet after three quarters of the novel it stopped feeling like the messed up indecision of a teenager caught in such a situation, but simply repetition. I spent the entire reading waiting for more...and yes, something finally happens, but for me there was no further development, it just ends. I feel like I'm still waiting for more.

Despite this, there are aspects of the narrative I truly enjoyed. Scott's writing still has a way of drawing you in and making you feel for the characters. Sarah is likeable, and her awkward situation really resonates. She truly grows by the book's end, and I'm glad for it. As readers, we can see what Sarah's Mum's sees - that her friendship with Brianna is toxic. Yet Scott's revealing of Brianna's home life also allows readers to sympathise for her...an aspect of the narrative I also felt to be left somewhat incomplete. I did appreciate how Scott leaves Brianna and Sarah's relationship, but I guess I also would've appreciated further insight into Brianna in the aftermath.

I enjoyed the romantic plotline of The Unwritten Rule. Ryan and Sarah felt real, and their scenes together made me sigh - despite my severe frustration at Ryan. I admit it, I have a little irritation at his accidently falling into a relationship with Brianna! He's a nice guy who didn't want anyone to be hurt, but jeez. Of course, had he pushed for Sarah right from the beginning I don't doubt it would've ended up much differently!!

Overall, this book is a light and quick read, but I still feel like there could have been more, or it could've been executed better.


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