SYNOPSIS: Sarah and Brianna have been best friends since Kindergarten. Brianna is loud, dramatic, outgoing and beautiful, while Sarah is stand-offish, plain and ordinary. Sarah has liked Ryan since at least 8th grade, and after a summer of filling out and maturing, Brianna and Ryan met up at a party. As usual, he submits to her openness and beauty. They’ve been dating for almost two months, the longest that Brianna has ever dated anyone, and things don’t seem to be going so well. Especially when Ryan reveals that Sarah was the one he was looking for at that party.
REVIEW: The Unwritten Rule is an excellent book – easy to read, and enjoy – but, really the entire situation was very difficult, and, well…sucky. I know that sentence almost doesn’t make any sense, but it’s true. I loved reading this book. I gave my belly flutters for the boy/girl relationship, but I was so tense and sometimes angry at the circumstances. Let me elaborate. (I think this review is going to end up a bit spoilery…forgive me! I’m usually pretty good about trying to keep the story under-wraps, but I sort of feel the need to talk this out some.)
Brianna is a product of her upbringing. She does not get love or attention at home, so she creates with the people around her, and Sarah is in the starring role. It really is easy, because she is beautiful, and outgoing and, really, just so loud that she demands attention. She finds love in every crack and crevice – and then, because it’s what is done to her, she usually ends up throwing it away. Since Ryan is resistant to her “powers,” she is working overtime on him. I want to like Brianna, I want to love her. I want to hug her and tell her she’s a wonderful person, or at least she could be. But Brianna keeps everyone at arm’s length, even Sarah, because if she lets anyone in too close, it’s possible they will treat her like her parents treat her.
Sarah is a shadow. She has been a shadow since Brianna rescued her in Kindergarten. Actually, according to the story, she may have even been a shadow even before that. I’m pretty sure that no one at her school ever talked about Sarah, she was “Brianna’s friend.” At least, this is the impression I get when reading the book – maybe it wasn’t quite that bad. The thing is, Sarah is a genuinely good person. She loves her family, she loves Brianna. She’s in love with Ryan. In all of those things – she is an absolutely normal, good, teenager. …one who needs a backbone. Watching Brianna degrade her and keep her in her place was difficult, especially since Sarah spent most of the book not even noticing it, or even defending Brianna.
Ryan is stuck in the middle of this entire thing. All he wanted to do is talk to the girl he liked while they were at a party, and in comes this tornado and throws everything around. I think he was probably left standing there scratching his head thinking, “how in the world did this all happen?” Ryan can see how Brianna is treated, he can see how Brianna treats Sarah. He knows how he feels, but is trapped. Not only that, Brianna is making sure to not be alone with him so he has no time to even talk about what’s really going on.
So, (I’m still trying to not give EVERYTHING away) you can see how the book is a mess of..ugh!
WHAT I LOVED: Sarah! Like I said, she was genuinely good. She eventually does figure out that her friend isn’t that great of a friend to her. I think that moving forward beyond this book – she will never be a shadow again.
NOT SO MUCH: That Brianna hasn’t really learned anything. Is there a companion book? I’m going to go check, BRB…..nope, not that I can see anyway. So, Dear, Elizabeth Scott. We need a companion novel with Brianna. Brianna needs some help, and healing. And since she’s your character….I’d say you’re the perfect person to do it. Love, Anita.
SONG DEDICATION: “Figure It Out” by Maroon 5 has some lyrics that could apply – as long as you don’t take them completely literal, since Sarah doesn’t have a boyfriend, etc. But..well, listen to it, I think you’ll see what I mean.