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…
Elizabeth Scott is one of my favourite YA authors. She writes teenagers far more realistically than most; the characters act their ages instead of being super-perfect romance novel heroes and heroines… only reduced in age by fifteen years.
I am fairly vocal about my dislike of generic love triangles. I do not see the appeal in a major character being written into the story as a good, kind person, just so they can have their heart broken at the end for the sake of ‘drama’. It’s far and away the most common theme I’ve seen in YA fiction, and I often wonder if readers would be as open to the trope if it was a nice female character left alone at the end.
So the reason this book worked so very well for me is that Sarah and Ryan had a thing for each other long before Sarah’s desperately confident best friend steamrolled her way through them, dragging Ryan into a relationship along the way. This is no ‘will they or won’t they?’ love triangle as much as, ‘how in the world are they going to get themselves out of this mess?’.
Something I loved about the characters here was that they weren’t extremely hot and didn’t suddenly become extremely sexy. They were just two regular teenagers who found they not only liked liked each other, but also shared a lot of interests.
This was such an honest, realistic teen romance, and yet another great book from a great YA writer.