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The Unwritten Rule Paperback – May 24, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—The unwritten rule is plain: "You don't like your best friend's boyfriend." But Sarah does. She likes Ryan a lot, and she has for a very long time. They share a moment at a party, but the next thing she knows, he belongs to Brianna. Then one night, something happens that Sarah can't take back and doesn't want to. She feels guilty, she doesn't want to hurt her friend, but she can't stop thinking about Ryan, either. Character development drives this novel. There isn't much plot, and the opening chapters are a little hard to follow, but the characters are fully realized and their motivation is clear. However, the tone of the writing is more suited to an adult novella than to YA fiction. A slow read that is all too easy to put down and forget about.—Julianna M. Helt, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Scott’s fresh and thoughtful treatment of a familiar theme belies the somewhat sappy cover (two barefoot, blue-jeaned teens playing footsie). Gorgeous Brianna and less-stunning Sarah have been best friends since kindergarten, but now Sarah’s got a wicked crush on Brianna’s new boyfriend, Ryan—and it’s reciprocal. As in Love You Hate You Miss You (2009), what drives this quick read is the complex interaction of the two girls. Sarah and Ryan’s relationship, with the visceral thrill of physical attraction, is beautifully captured, but it’s the delicate balance between insecure Brianna’s need to put Sarah down and Sarah’s loyalty to her needy and lonely friend that will stay with the reader. The painfully abrupt ending fits the characters and story, and will leave readers wanting more. Scott’s realistic dialogue and empathetic view of symbiotic relationships will have teens thinking she has been eavesdropping on their conversations. Romance readers will pick up this novel and discover fine, accessible writing many notches above the standard love story. Grades 9-12. --Debbie Carton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse; Reprint edition (May 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416978925
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416978923
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #592,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hey there, I'm Elizabeth. I write young adult novels. I've had a bunch of jobs over the years--I've sold pantyhose, hardware, and once spent three days burning cds during the boom (worst. job. ever.)--but hands down, writing is the best! You can read lots more about my books at my website,

Customer Reviews

It's very easy to connect to Sarah, the main character in the story.
Lizzy W.
It makes it harder because Brianna doesn't understand why she doesn't want to hang out as much or talk to Ryan for her when things are strained between them.
Sandra Trolinger
Sarah is not the type of girl to break the unspoken rule of not liking your best friend's boyfriend.
Rachael Stein

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Denise Crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Before you read further, go buy Scott's novel Living Dead Girl -- now there's a novel that will appeal to YA readers everywhere.

I'm not sure why most of the reviewers think this book was so great. To me, it seemed such a cliche of bad friendship, high school, and the mean person getting her comeuppance. Frankly, I can only imagine that the positive reviews from the book are either from women who have "stolen" their best friend's boyfriend or from those who wish they could. The justification for Sarah and Ryan getting together seems to be that Brianna was the "bad friend" who put Sarah down. I am not buying into that whole cliche that Brianna got what she deserved. Sarah was not a good, honest friend to her. Sure Brianna had lots of issues -- and her parents were also portrayed as very one-dimensional as were all the characters in this novel -- but was she deserving of her boyfriend and her so called best friend going behind her back? What prevented them from being upfront and honest from the beginning? Immaturity. I had no respect for either.

There's a reason for this "unwritten rule" among girlfriends, and a code that exists because of the potential for ruining friendships and destroying long held trust between girls who've been together long before any boy came on the scene. I'm staunchly on the side of "if your best friend dated him, he's off limits forever" position.

In this novel, Scott makes Brianna so bad that it sort of ends up justifying Sarah's cheating on her friend and taking her boyfriend. And why, if Ryan did like Sarah so much, did he go out with Brianna in the first place AND why didn't he break up with her long before the 2 month anniversary.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on March 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sarah knows she shouldn't like Ryan. Ryan is Brianna's boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah's best friend. There's an unwritten rule in friendship - no crushes on your best friend's boy. But the attraction is there - and besides, Sarah liked him first. When Ryan and Sarah are thrown together one night, something happens. Sarah is torn apart by guilt and wanting to act on her feelings.

Elizabeth Scott is an amazing author - she can write anything and I'm always amazed at her talent. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this one, as I hate love triangles and stealing someone's boyfriend - no way! But Ms. Scott pulls it off in a wonderful way that made me feel for the characters.

As much as I liked Sarah and Ryan, Brianna was the stand-out character for me. I would like her and hate her at the same time. I would feel sorry for her but I'd also want to yell at her for being so mean. Ms. Scott walks a very fine line with Brianna and it works; she kept me guessing about her the entire time. Was she good or bad? Someone to like or not? And could we make excuses for her? I could have an entire book discussion on just Brianna alone!

But I can't leave Sarah out (and not just because she shares my name)! Your heart aches with her as she is wracked with guilt over wanting her best friend's boyfriend and wanting to remain loyal to Brianna. The story is slowly unraveled, and bits and pieces about the past are unveiled and the reader, like Sarah, wants so badly for Sarah and Ryan to be together.

I also love the families that Ms. Scott writes - she has the best supporting characters. I loved that Sarah was close to her parents and she's okay staying at home with them. I've always had a close relationship with my family, even as a teen, and that is a rare thing to find in YA books.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mint910 VINE VOICE on March 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I think it's impossible for someone not relate to something in The Unwritten Rule. Be it having a crush on your friend's (or best friend's) boyfriend or maybe being friends with someone that uses you as a stepping stool, they can't give you a compliment without sort of insulting you at the same time. There is a lot here and I know it sure gave me a lot to think about and all the while Scott is writing in her relatable and humorous voice.

I love how the book is super romantic but also very serious when it comes to friendship and family issues. It's really a very well rounded book. At first Sarah's best friend Brianna seems like the sweetest friend ever but little by little you realize she's doing things for herself that are uncomfortable and wrong for her friend and boyfriend but she's not doing it without reason. She has some serious family issues but the book makes you think about the fact that you can only help a person so much without getting wrapped up in their issues and messing up your own life.

And normally you'd think of a potential boyfriend stealer as someone horribly awful but Scott writes Sarah and her past with Ryan in such a way that you (at least I did) think they should be together and it's always meant to be that way. And same with Ryan, he didn't come off as the sleazy boyfriend, he was almost angelic and wanted to do what was right for his girlfriend but also himself.

I tore through The Unwritten Rule wanting to find out how this how love triangle was going to work itself out and let me tell you I loved the entire ride and outcome. Of the 3 Elizabeth Scott books I've read this is definitely my favorite!
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