Cover Image: The Rules of Us

The Rules of Us

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Member Reviews

It took me a while to get into this one, and ultimately, I didn't really click with the story or the writing style as much as I hoped I would.
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2.75 stars. A lighthearted high school romcom between two best friends and former romantic partners who both come out as queer and explore other relationships. Sadly, I found their relationship to be decently unhealthy and super co-dependent. This story just didn’t do it for me. 

Sincere thanks to NetGalley & Labyrinth Road for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest w review.
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This is one that I didn't immediately love and it took me a while to really get invested in the story but once I was in there was no putting it down. I loved that they were both struggling to find out who they were without the other person. I also liked how they were trying to figure out who they were to each other when the romantic element was taken out of the relationship.
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First off Thank you to #NetGalley for this free eARC in exchange for an honest review of the book. "The Rules of Us" follows two teenagers on a quest to find themselves before their senior year. This story follows Jillian as all of her best laid plans and rules seem to have a different plan for her. The raw truth of and unfiltered lens of teenagers discovering their sexuality, what labels work and "feel right" and finding support in those around you even if you are not the "same". This coming of age novel is refreshing in the blunt language used for a more mature YA audience.
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The Rules of Us is an extremely unique lgbt coming of age story by Jennifer Nissley.

Henry and Jillian are best friends and are dating. Then everything changes as they both come out to the other.

Honestly, I wanted to love this story, as it had so much promise.


the main characters repeatedly annoyed me. they were in an unhealthy relationship, making all of their decisions around the other. It was highly toxic and I just couldn't get past then in the end.
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I love that this book includes friendship love, and getting to know yourself, but that doesn't work when both characters are hard to root for. 

I was never able to get emotionally invested because they were pretty insufferable. 

Great premise, bad execution.
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I liked this book a lot.  The author does a good job of capturing Jillian and Henry's thrill and worry as they leave the security of their relationship to discover and explore who they truly are.  

You can see as a reader how important their relationship was to both Jillian and Henry and how much of their lives were built on that foundation. You can also see how unstable it is to gradually come to terms with how that will change as they forge their own, independent identities and the pain that comes with it.  

It is a thorough investigation into how identity is formed, both personally and in relation to those who are closest to you.
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I just really don’t like this book unfortunately. The characters are in an unhealthy relationship and toxic. And they make all their decisions around each other and they felt super immature for older teens. 

It was just a miss for me.
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While I enjoyed this story overall - I did find Jillian quite unlikeable and at times that overshadowed the story for me. I'd say give reading it a try, to see for yourself. Overall I enjoyed the book, just not one of the main characters at some points.
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An interesting idea that was unfortunately poorly executed. Henry and Gillian are incredibly annoying, such that I struggled to care at all about them.
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I was really excited about this book's premise but unfortunately the execution left a lot to be desired. I found Jillian very annoying, and I almost DNFed it.
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Maybe I wasn't someone that worked my ass off to be the best in HS. (I worked but didn't care so much about being the top student but rather just getting out of HS) so I thought the main character's whole plan to be the best was tiring at times. Yall, are not getting the scholarship because you aren't well-rounded individuals that have various interests. Gillian and Henry's co-dependency was also very frustrating to read about and kinda wish they would have moved on from one another by the end of the book because they both expected something different out of their relationship.
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2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.
I didn't love this book. Jillian and Henry's relationship was just weird, and it seemed like they were too dependent on each other to date other people. Jillian is controlling and self-centered, and I just wasn't rooting for her as a character. The writing is cringy and drags on, and the story as a whole was just super messy and seemed like it was going backwards.
Also, it was incredibly unrealistic. These two have clearly never spoken to a college guidance counselor.
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THE RULES OF US is a perfect high school book, with a unique perspective on queerness, coming out, and the different types of love one experiences + the value they hold in our lives. Henry and Jillian are complex, emotional, and sometimes rash or wreckless or immature or hypocritical - but that's how they SHOULD be. They are teenagers and everything they feel seems bigger/amplified. They make mistakes, but it is such an important journey to witness, and a realistic outlook on navigating first loves and friendships in high school today. 
This is an important book that should be in high school libraries everywhere.
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The Rules of Us by Jennifer Nissley is a young adult, coming of age story.  It's all about finding your person. It was a miss for me.  I couldn't connect to the characters and the ending just ended.  I feel like there could have been more depth to the story. Very predictable.
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This was a miss for me. I liked the premise a lot, a couple both figuring out that they're queer and coming to terms with breaking up and moving forward, but it just didn't play out how I wanted.

The main character is Jillian, she's controlling and self-centered, trying to make rules for every situation in her life. I found it difficult to like her, she held Henry to things that she herself wasn't following and it frustrated me through the book. I didn't like her with Carla and was rooting against them because they really didn't fit together.

The ending is sort of vague so we don't get to know for sure how things will play out. I didn't love that, but was just ready for it all to be over.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All opinions are my own. Thank you to Labyrinth Road and NetGalley for the copy
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

I have to start this review off by saying that I did think this book was quite beautifully written. There were some really pretty turns of phrase that made me smile, and the plot was solid. 

What got me, however, was how much I did not like the main characters. As many other reviewers have noted, their relationship was so co-dependent and toxic, and while a lot of that was resolved in the end, reading it was a little difficult at times, especially when they were both being so self-absorbed and not taking their alleged best friends’ feelings into account.

But, overall, this book was pretty decent, and I liked the characters exploring their queerness and discovering who they were outside of each other’s orbits.
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Jillian and Henry's story is complicated.. and not just because their relationship is being pulled in opposite directions by their recent revelations. They're also smart, messy, complicated individuals who are prone to allowing their feelings to dictate their behaviors.

Both Jillian and Henry are extremely driven, college-bound students. It seems as if they've shared everything since they met, been absolutely in-step with one another all the way. Here those steps are starting to falter.

From a character standpoint, they each are alternately flawed and frequently relatable, if somewhat hypocritical. Unfortunately, this aspect of Jillian's personality is heavily frontloaded in the story, which made me dislike her for awhile.. but as things evened out, I began to root for both of them.

Generally speaking, the characters are diverse and adorable. I liked the supporting cast as much as the leads, sometimes more. I cared about them as people and their struggle resonated with me. It's not always easy to do what's right for oneself without causing collateral damage to those in our immediate circle, try as we might.

Initially this author had a small habit of interjecting really cringe internal monologue in what appeared to be an effort to use niche modern vernacular. While that would be fine for me if the rest of the book's tone matched it, the lines would come out of nowhere after a flowery description or more standard stylings. It just felt, out of sync with the writing as a whole.

I promise you though, it gets better. If it throws you off at the beginning, push on. Nissley does ease up on those kinds of phrases. Once they become fewer and farther between, softer even.. they stop jarring the reader out of the moment. 

The story itself is inherently cute, filled with themes of self-discovery, hope, and perseverence. I was pleased to see important topics discussed as well, like the flaw in idealized allyship over the importance of an individual's needs and wishes. I read it through in one shot and enjoyed it immensely.
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I really enjoyed reading this YA, coming of age book. The main characters were highly relatable, realistic, and complex. It was a great story of self-discovery, growing up (and sometimes apart) and navigating one's identity through personal choices amidst a breakup and shifting of friendship. Finding yourself as a teenager is hard, especially when you start questioning your preferences in a potential romantic partner. This book was easy to read and a well thought exploration of identity/self and how our paths can change even when we think we have it all mapped out.
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Jillian and Henry are rarely apart -- in class, in after school activities, and in most of their spare time, they are always together.  They are planning to go to college together, and they have applied for a prestigious scholarship program to help them do so.  After junior prom, Henry comes out to Jillian, and Jillian does as well.  They breakup, but remain committed to staying best friends and their path for the future.  But as each explore new romantic relationships and new interests independent of the other, they find their once unbreakable connection fraying -- making them wonder what it all means for comes next.

This is a perceptive story about learning about yourself and the impacts of that in your life.  

Highly recommended!
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