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The Unwritten Rule

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  12,445 ratings  ·  935 reviews
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 t
Hardcover, 210 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by Simon Pulse
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  12,445 ratings  ·  935 reviews

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“There are a million rules for being a girl. There are a million things you have to do to get through each day. High school has things that can trip you up, ruin you, people say one thing and mean another, and you have to know all the rules, you have to know what you can and can't do.”

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

This was an interesting story. It's one that is pure YA..but in a good way!

As others have said, this concerns a high school girl named Sara who is secretly in love with her bes
Apr 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, 2010, chick-lit
The Unwritten Rule is my third Elizabeth Scott book and my least favorite out of the three (the other two are Living Dead Girl and Love You Hate You Miss You which deal with sexual abuse and death respectively).

The book can be summarized very briefly: Sarah and Brianna are best friends, Brianna is dating Ryan, Sarah likes Ryan, and Ryan wants to be with Sarah too. Will the girls' friendship survive the squabble over the guy?

The main problem with this book is that it is very simplistic, there ar
Apr 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars

Without a doubt, Elizabeth Scott has a beautifully honed voice for young adult literature. She writes both accessibly and perceptively about the teenage experience and its accompanying emotions. It’s an unembellished, authentic style that neither sensationalises nor talks down to young adult issues.

The Unwritten Rule is no exception, clearly capturing the straightforward, yet earnest voice of Sarah, in the midst of an “I like my best friend’s boyfriend” situation.

Not to mince matters
One thing right at the beginning: I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Scott. So this rating might be influenced a tiny bit by that ;).

All in all, I really enjoyed The Unwritten Rule, but when compared to Scott’s other YA romance novels, it is probably the weakest. It was a quick read and definitely kept my attention, but it wasn’t particularly memorable when I look back at it now. I probably won’t go back to re-read it as I’ve done with Bloom, Perfect You or Something Maybe and it doesn’t have the orig
2.5 stars

Elizabeth Scott has a great voice for teenagers. She seems to be able to effortlessly get right under their skin and articulate those swirly/confused/intense emotions that plague teens (in The Unwritten Rule she centres around friendship, loyalty (mostly misplaced) and having a crush.)

Her prose is easy to slip into. The style of The unwritten Rule most reminded me of Something, Maybe ~ it has the same kind of quirky, occasionally self-depreciating tone. There's a gentle humour that lift
Jun 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010
Sarah liked Ryan first. But it's her best friend Brianna that's dating Ryan. Sarah should be the good friend and back off, but she just can't stop liking Ryan. Whatever shall she do?! (Yes, my tone is slightly mocking.)

The story is simple enough. In fact, too simple. It's another one of those books where it's just a love story and that's it. Nothing else happens. There's nothing deep about family or even friendship. In fact, the crazy friendship was what kept me going because it was the only dra
Lindsay Paige
Mar 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WARNINGS: I read this book in just a few short hours. I literally couldn't stop reading. You will definitely want to read this book.

First off, it's very easy to connect with Sarah. We have probably all been in similar situations, whether we were the friend who had the crush on the spoken for boyfriend or the girl who had the boyfriend. It was, for me, also very easy to relate to Brianna. She had problems with her parents that just made her cry and wonder who loved her. But Brianna, I just didn't
May 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
Sarah is 17 and lives in the shadow of her beautiful, shallow best frienemy Brianna. Best friends since they were five, Sarah couldn't imagine life without Brianna, but lately, Sarah has been having some decidedly un-friendly thoughts about Ryan, Brianna's current boyfriend. Sarah has wanted Ryan before Brianna was willing to acknowledge his existence, but now, Brianna's got him, or does she? And did she ever?

The Unwritten Rule makes for a cutesy love story, but more than anything, its a comin
Jan 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gag-worthy-book
I’ve been looking for lighter and fluffier YA books since the doom and gloom YA’s have been giving me a headache. I think it’s this sense of déjà vu with the plots since every single synopsis I’ve read about the YA’s coming out seems all the same. So when I heard pretty good reviews about The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott, I thought why not give it a chance? I’ve read the Living Dead Girl by her, and although I wasn’t too impressed with that book, The Unwritten Rule is a very different from ...more
Feb 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Unwritten Rule is a classic story of girl likes best friends boyfriend and he likes her.
To be honest I wasn't sure what I was expecting before I got into this one, thinking that the girl just betrayed her best friend and hooked up with her boyfriend. But as the story went on I realized that Brianna is NOT a best friend.
Okay, I know that what Sarah did wasn't right and I don't think cheating is okay, at all, but I think this was the first time I actually applauded it. I can't find myself cari
Erin K
Mar 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing

The Unwritten Rule should be a requirement for girls all throughout high school to read. This storyline is very raw and realistic. Through the main character, Sarah, Elizabeth Scott narates the consequences of when a girl falls for the boy she's never supposed to like. The one that "belongs" to her best friend.

The toxic friendship between Sarah and Brianna is made obvious several times, especially at the times when Brianna acts as though she's really helping Sarah while putting down her physic

Rating Clarification: 3.5 Stars

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott is a fun and refreshing read. I was amazed at how this author could seamlessly pen a novel that is on such a different spectrum than her daunting book Living Dead Girl. The Unwritten Rule carries a pleasant tone and refreshing theme that YA romance readers can enjoy with ease.

In this book, Sarah is head over heels for Ryan and has been since the eight grade. Unfortunately, they get eaten by dinosaurs he is dating her best frien
Morgan F
When I first saw this book, it looked charming. Nothing earth-shattering, of course, but charming.

This book is about Sarah, the shy best friend of the beautiful Brianna. Sarah has always done her best to be the perfect friend for Brianna, whether its being there when Brianna's parents screw up again or just making Brianna feel needed. But one thing is threatening their friendship: Sarah seriously likes Brianna's boyfriend, Ryan, and that feeling is only magnified when Ryan and her kiss. Now Sara
Sarah Ahmed
Feb 24, 2019 rated it liked it
i mean it was interesting i guess, and an easy read. you can finish this book in a couple of hours

i thought the protagonist was a bit wimpy and pathetic and even though her best friend was mean at times, i would have rather liked them to stay friends because i felt like her best friend had a lot of room to grow as a character. actually, i kinda felt like they deliberately made her best friend have times when she acted bitchy just so they can justify her infidelity with Ryan (her best friends boy
Liza Gilbert
Jul 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bfya2011, young-adult
This is an example of a book that should be thrown across the room with great force.

It started out fairly well. Scott's writing flows easily enough and the voice is true to the teen years. I was able to put up with Sarah's angst throughout the book, because many teens are in that (or similar) situation(s) in high school. I could put up with Brianna because of her crappy home life. She was bound to be damaged beyond all measure. Ryan, however, was despicable because he knew what needed to be don
Zemira (Kylo Ren fangirl) Warner
I remember wanting to read this book so bad and finally when I got it I wasn't disappointed. It was great! ...more
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
totally unexpected turn of events 4.5 stars this book was good ...i mean not the other cliche stuff .. people who like love traingles should definately try this ..!!
Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books)
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is just the book I needed to remind me why I read YA. THE FEELINGS. I give this book a giant YES!! Unputdownable.

It's a common trope, girl is in love with boy, but boy is dating girl's best friend. The difference here is this one had FEELING. I felt every single thing that Sarah felt. I cried. My robot heart short circuited a little because Sarah was in so much pain-- and I felt that.

It helped that Brianna wasn't all that likable. She overlooks Sarah and Ryan's feelings time and time again
The BookWhisperer
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
First reading the book description I was anticipating a love story of sorts with the best friend falling in love with the her friends boyfriend. What I found in reading this novel was so much more. The main character of Briana is a holy terror; who would even want a friend like this. She is a character that coins the phrase looks better at twenty yards than at five yards. She may appear to be beautiful and wonderful, but upon closer inspection she is rude and conceited beyond your wildest dreams ...more
Jun 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Quickie: Not a bad story, wasn't pleased with the babbly-writing though.

Full: Sarah likes Ryan. Brianna is Sarah's best friend. Ryan and Brianna are dating. Ryan likes Sarah back. Ouch.

The plot is a simple one, but it's very real and fraught with emotion and pain. Sarah has liked Ryan since the 8th grade, but somehow her best friend Brianna ended up dating him. If I had to classify Sarah and Brianna's friendship, I'd call it "The Garden" kind of friendship. Sarah is the gardner, never seen, but
I liked him first, but it doesn't matter. I still like him. That doesn't matter either. Or at least, it's not supposed to.

What to say about The Unwritten Rule? It's a story both sour and sweet. About weighing the options and consequences when there shouldn't be an option. Because the thing is, you do not like your best friend's boyfriend. You don't have a thing for him. You don't look at him and wish he'd been with you instead. That's just the way it is, isn't it? It's in this posit
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
It doesn’t matter that Sarah liked Ryan first. It doesn’t matter that she still does, because Ryan is Brianna’s girlfriend and Brianna is Sarah’s best friend. Sarah is not the type of girl to break the unspoken rule of not liking your best friend’s boyfriend. Instead, she pushes her feeling down deep and concentrates on avoiding Ryan and being a supportive friend to Brianna. But Sarah can’t suppress her emotions forever, especially when she finds herself together with Ryan—alone. What happens be ...more
Jun 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
I like The Unwritten Rule.

I know who I want to be with, and it isn’t her.

I liked how the story started out, but halfway through I was getting riled up over Sarah and her constant inner turmoil. It has a good premise, considering the cliche of the plot, but the abrupt ending irked the little patience left in me.

Sarah and Ryan had a (kind of) history. And i really liked this part because it goes to show that Sarah didn’t just like Ryan on-the-spot, when he started going out with Brianna. It f
Mar 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
I really am disappointed. When I read "The Unwritten Rule," I feel like I'm watching "Something Borrowed" all over again. Still it has one humongous difference in it; that's fun. There is no fun in this book at all ... as boring as hell.

The story is like something I don't expect at all. I think I it must be fresh and fun; however, it doesn't. FYI, I really dig this type of story but not in this book. "The Unwritten Rule" is focused on love triangle between Ryan, Sarah and Brianna and in my opin
Abby Johnson
Dec 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blogged
Sarah has been best friends with Brianna since they met in kindergarten and Brianna saved Sarah from the clutches of a five-year-old Mean Girl. Ever since, Sarah has been Brianna's sidekick. But there's one thing Sarah's never told Brianna - how she feels about Brianna's boyfriend Ryan. Sarah has liked Ryan since the eighth grade, but now Ryan and Brianna are together and Sarah knows that she can never tell Brianna her true feelings. Except that... Ryan and Sarah kissed. And now Sarah's falling ...more
Kody Keplinger
Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
So, as usual, I loved this book. I'll probably do a blog review of it soon. Seriously, how can one woman (Elizabeth Scott) write so many amazing books back to back to back???

I loved the voice here. Sarah was so real, and Ryan, the boy in the middle of this awkward friendship love triangle, is so desireable that you totally understand where Sarah is coming from. All the character felt real and I loved every word of this book - even when it wasn't happy.

I think I can safely say I will love everyth
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very light and fast read. I think the best word to describe this book is "cute". I was very excited to know what would happen. How Sara and Ryan will be a couple and I wanted Sara so bad to smack Brianna in the face in sometimes and I wanted Ryan to be much harder on Brianna. However, I felt bad for Brianna life and I wanted to know more about her life and I wanted to see a progression in her family life or at least show some respect and guilt for Sarah.
At the end, I liked this book.
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, own
I guess I've grown up A LOT in the last year because when I read this book, I thought it was kinda cute and a good book. The more I think about it, the more I see how annoying it is and how wrong it is to have a YA book glorifying something like this. I may just read it again to write a more in depth review of why this book is horrible. ...more
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Hey there, I'm Elizabeth. I write young adult novels. I live just outside Washington DC with my husband and dog, and am unable to pass a bookstore without stopping and going inside.

All right, and I can't leave without buying at least one book.

Usually two. (Or more!)

My website and blog are at, and I'm also on twitter, tumblr, and facebook

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