The Rules of Us

The Rules of Us
Age Range
Release Date
May 09, 2023
Buy This Book
Come out. Break up. Stay friends? In this heartwarming queer love story about love of all kinds, exes navigate new crushes, new feelings, and a newly uncertain future after unexpectedly coming out to each other on prom night turns their lives—and their friendship—upside down. Can they figure out how to move on without losing each other?

Jillian and Henry are the kind of couple who do everything together. They take the same classes, have the same hobbies, and applied for the same super-competitive scholarship so they can go to the same dream college. They even come out as gay to each other on the same night, after junior prom, prompting a sudden breakup that threatens their intertwined identities and carefully designed future. Jillian knows the only way to keep everything on track is to approach their breakup with the same precision and planning as their scholarship application. They will still be “Jillian and Henry”—even if they’re broken up.

Except they hadn’t planned on Henry meeting the boy of his dreams or Jillian obsessing over a cool girl at school. Jillian is desperate to hold on to her best friend when so much else is changing. But as she and Henry explore what—and who—they really want, it becomes harder to hold on to the careful definitions she has always lived her life by. Stuck somewhere between who she was with Henry and who she might be on her own, Jillian has to face what she can’t control and let go of the rules holding her back.

Editor review

1 review
YA contemporary about finding yourself
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
THE RULES OF US is a YA contemporary about finding yourself and coming-of-age. Jillian and Henry have been dating for years, and they are absolutely best friends - they do everything together. On the night of junior prom, just as they are planning something big, Henry confesses that he thinks he is gay, and Jillian decides that she might be too. They decide to break up but stay best friends with some new ground rules, especially since they have been working together to get a prestigious scholarship to fulfill their college dreams.

As Jillian begins to allow herself to fully crush on Carla, Henry begins to move on with his own crush. However, remaining just friends may be harder than they thought, especially when their lives have been so enmeshed for so long. Their journey is one of defining themselves anew and beginning to realize the limits of their codependency.

This was a tougher read emotionally than I expected, as their journey is quite a difficult one. The story is told from Jillian's perspective. Her life has revolved around Henry for so long. They don't have any interests or activities or even classes that are not shared, so beginning to think of them as separate beings seems impossible. In the wake of their break up, she has been somewhat set adrift, though things are slow to change. Relationships are never easy, particularly for high schoolers who are still figuring out what they want. As she begins to get into things with Carla, this other relationship has some challenges as well, but the experience allows Jillian to begin to define what it is that she does want and who she might want that with.

In many ways, Henry and Jillian's relationship was unhealthy and codependent. This can make it really tough to see into and understand fully, but it does also lead to a lot of epiphanies as they begin to see the world outside of it and understand themselves better beyond their coupledom. Their break up was a bit messy in that it was hard for them to fully separate when they were still so much a part of each other's lives. I found a few scenes along the way to be particularly challenging to read, but it seemed in line with messy high school immaturity and blurred lines.

While the book revolved around relationships, the relationships were not really the point. It was more about figuring yourself out and determining where you wanted to go in life, themes that will resonate with teens. That being said, I would not pick this up if you are looking for romance - it's really more of an emotional coming-of-age story.

Overall, THE RULES OF US is a YA contemporary about finding yourself and choosing your own paths. Please note that I received a review copy. All opinions are my own.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account