Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Unwritten Rule Review

The Unwritten Rule - Elizabeth Scott
*March 16th, 2010 Simon Pulse

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...

Elizabeth Scott's The Unwritten Rule uses written words fluidly and gracefully to weave an achingly beautiful contemporary coming-of-age story.

It's like Scott has an extra sense when it comes to chronicling the tale. The little tidbits of back-story are incorporated into the present-day occurrences perfectly to maximize the effect of them. One of the great things about YA is that oftentimes, they deal with situations that affect today's youth directly, situations that they may experience. Liking your best friend's boyfriend is a tricky situation, regardless of context, but it is something that does happen. Scott tackled this issue head-on and masterfully in The Unwritten Rule, in a way that everyone can understand and relate to.

Which brings me to my next point: credibility. Sarah was brilliantly developed, and it was amazing to see her transition from someone who felt almost inferior, to someone who was willing to stand up for herself and live her life the way she deserved to. Very inspiring journey. The thing is, usually real-life doesn't have one clear protagonist. There are always reasons, and motivations, behind everything, everyone. Scott portrays that in a very real way here. Brianna really comes alive as a real person, because of the context surrounding her character.

Length-wise, The Unwritten Rule is pretty perfectly proportioned; it's a prime example of "start at the beginning, and finish when you get to the end [of the story]." I suppose that technically it could have been a little longer in order to incorporate a little more of [the characters'] lives outside of the primary plot line. At this age, things like college apps, SAT preparations, etc. could have factored in a little too, but that's fairly minor, and it didn't really detract from the story much.

One measure of a novel's success is its ability to make its audience feel, to evoke emotion, to thrust those words off the page and fling them at the readers so that they react. With The Unwritten Rule, this has been done. The emotions come alive, you can empathize with the characters, feel indignance on their behalf, have pride in their decisions. And that's a pretty cool thing, because it draws you into the story.

With realistic characters, fluid writing and a dash of panache, Elizabeth Scott's The Unwritten Rule is a touching exploration of one major unwritten rule.


Diana Dang said...

Great review! I look forward to reading this one

Nomes said...

I am impatiently waiting to read this. Elizabeth Scott is one of my fave YA authors. Awesome review :)

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