Love Rules

Love Rules

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by Marilyn Reynolds

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This young adult novel accurately portrays the widespread effects of a young lesbian's decision to come out of the closet and live openly and honestly while still in high school. The story line revolves around Kit Dandridge-a young lesbian struggling to be herself in a repressive environment-her best friend Lynn, and their families and friends. Included are plot


This young adult novel accurately portrays the widespread effects of a young lesbian's decision to come out of the closet and live openly and honestly while still in high school. The story line revolves around Kit Dandridge-a young lesbian struggling to be herself in a repressive environment-her best friend Lynn, and their families and friends. Included are plot elements seen in recent headlines that include the often tragic consequences of high school intolerance and bullying as well as the development of support group networks for gay and lesbian students and their heterosexual allies.

Author Biography: Marilyn Reynolds is a retired high school teacher and the author of the True-to-Life from Hamilton High series of young adult books. She lives in Sacramento, California.

Editorial Reviews

Lynn Wright, a senior, is thrown for a loop when her best friend from childhood, seventeen-year-old Kit Dandridge, tells her a long-kept secret: She's a lesbian. Lynn, who had always envisioned double-dating with Kit, struggles to readjust her expectations—and her attitude—as she learns to help Kit come out to her less-than-enthused parents and deal with homophobic torment at school. The girls join a Gay/Straight Alliance at a neighboring school, and they learn to recognize and fight the gay bashing that occurs routinely in the hallways. A poignant examination of the bonds of friendship, Love Rules takes a gritty, realistic look at the trials of being a gay teenager. It's also a fast-paced read that races to a climactic conclusion.
—Kristin Kloberdanz

Lynn's senior year begins dramatically with her friend Kit's revelation that she is a lesbian. In an attempt to provide emotional support for Kit, Lynn attends several meetings of a Gay Straight Alliance group and learns about homosexuality. Meanwhile Lynn starts dating Conan, a black football player. Her loyalties are divided because she wants to be with Conan, but she needs to be available for Kit. Lynn sees the police harass Conan and is hurt when Conan hides their biracial relationship from his family. At school things become tense when some students begin harassing homosexual classmates. A plastic penis and filthy notes are taped to Kit's locker, and she is publicly humiliated. Then the harassment escalates when Kit and others are attacked physically. It appears that the school's administrators will ignore the incidents because the attackers are members of the football team that is headed for the playoffs. Lynn, an outraged witness to the savage attack, is caught in the middle. If the boys are expelled, the team will probably lose the playoffs, and Conan might lose his chance at a scholarship. The incident becomes divisive among students and faculty. Conan and Lynn become proactive in defending and supporting the victims. Parents become involved and the gay-bashers are finally expelled. After graduation, the friends go their separate ways, having learned that love is stronger than hate. Like Nancy Garden's The Year They Burned the Books (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999/VOYA December 1999), this book depicts the hostile environment that homosexual students frequently endure. Thoughtful teens will like this issue-packed realistic novel about accepting differences. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S(Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Morning Glory, 272p, $18.95, $9.95 Trade pb. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Sherry York
Reynolds has won acclaim for Detour for Emmy, Too Soon for Jeff and other novels in this series. She has taught at-risk teenagers for more than 25 years in California—and she creates characters that are absolutely true to life, capturing dialogue, high school culture, classroom dynamics, and bureaucratic blunders as she tells her riveting stories. Love Rules is about two seniors, young women who have been best friends for years. These two friends, Lynn and Kit, are discovering a lot about themselves as they are almost ready to leave high school. Lynn is falling in love with a football hero, which unexpectedly gets her some attention from the in-crowd. Her mother likes Conan just fine, but he is embarrassed to tell his parents about Lynn: Conan is an African American and Lynn is a white girl. As Conan and Lynn find each other and explore their sexuality in a way that won't make babies (it's pretty explicit just how this is done), Kit is coming out as a lesbian, with a love affair of her own. Lynn and Conan have to examine their own feelings about Kit's sexuality, and the homophobic members of the football team, Conan's teammates, are the worst harassers of Hamilton High School's new Gay Straight Alliance. In a tense drama, Reynolds portrays many sides of prejudice and homophobia, with teenagers actually in danger of serious harm because of who they are. She is careful to present the viewpoint of those who believe that homosexuality is a sin, but clearly she is against violence and bigotry. She creates realistic scenes involving Lynn, Kit and their parents, with Kit's parents having a lot of trouble accepting Kit's sexuality at first, but slowly gaining understanding. Alsorealistic are the feelings of Lynn and Conan, both complicated by their family histories, and the real fears they each have about being close to Kit. Frankly, this is the best YA novel I have read with a central character who is gay—it is honest, explicit, complicated—all the characters are interesting and the issues are compelling. (True-to-Life Series from Hamilton High) KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2001, Morning Glory Press, 269p., $18.95. (paperback, $9.95.) Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; KLIATT , July 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 4)
Children's Literature
In this eighth novel in Reynold's "True-to-Life series from Hamilton High," the author explores the dramatic senior year of best friends Lynn and Kit. Both girls struggle with relationship issues—Kit struggles to keep her friends and family intact when she reveals her true sexual identity, while Lynn begins an inter-racial relationship. This gripping novel realistically captures many of the challenges involved in coming out, especially the intolerance of peers and family members. Reynold's portrayal of Lynn's inter-racial romance also reveals some of the unique, troubling experiences minority teens encounter with the law. Teenagers and adults alike will root for both girls to survive their senior year. This book includes mature language, discussions and subject matter. 2001, Morning Glory Press, $18.95 and $9.95. Ages 13 up. Reviewer: Rebecca Joseph
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-When her best friend returns to Hamilton High after a summer in San Francisco, Lynn can't wait to catch up on all the news. When Kit reveals that she is coming out as a lesbian, Lynn struggles to be supportive, despite her surprise. Kit's desire to be honest with herself and her friends while also finding a new community leads her to explore a local school's Gay-Straight Alliance and motivates her to start a similar group at Hamilton High where jocks rule and anti-gay sentiment is apparent. Kit announces her sexual identity through shaving her head, piercing her ears multiple times, wearing multiple rainbow accessories, and getting her first girlfriend. At the same time, Lynn is experiencing her first intense romantic relationship; she is dating an African-American star football player who is struggling between doing the right thing and not making waves with his teammates. Harassment of gay students escalates from small pranks, which are virtually ignored by the administration, to a vicious assault in which Kit and another student are attacked, forcing the school to take action on threat of a lawsuit. Reynolds has created a sensitive exploration of these teens' sexual identity and their desire to find a place in the world. Her story of friendship and romance is realistic, tender, and engrossing. Some popular-culture references will date this book and the bullies' characters are not fully developed, but, for the most part, this is a worthy addition to YA literature in which straight, gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals are represented.-Katie O'Dell, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Morning Glory Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Hamilton High series
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.59(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Marilyn Reynolds is the author of ten books of realistic teen fiction: Shut Up, No More Sad Goodbyes, If You Loved Me, Love Rules, Baby Help, But What About Me?, Beyond Dreams, Too Soon for Jeff and Detour for Emmy, all part of the popular and award-winning True-to-Life Series from Hamilton High. Marilyn is also the author of a book for educators, I Won't Read and You Can't Make Me: Reaching Reluctant Teen Readers, and a collection of essays, Over 70 and I Don't Mean MPH. She has a variety of published personal essays to her credit, and was nominated for an Emmy for the ABC Afterschool Special teleplay of Too Soon for Jeff.
Ms. Reynolds worked with reluctant learners and teens in crises at a southern California alternative high school for thirty years. She remains actively involved in education through author presentations to middle and high school students ranging from struggling readers to highly motivated writers who are interested in developing work for possible publication.
In the introduction to her book on techniques to help reluctant readers (I Won't Read and You Can't Make Me), Marilyn writes: "Over time I came to realize that the greatest gift I could give to my students, many of whom would have no formal schooling after they left [high school], was the gift of a reading habit. Silent reading time became the backbone of my program." She quotes a study in the the Los Angeles Times reporting that the single most significant factor in determining a person's success in life is whether they read for pleasure.

She published her first novel, Telling, with the encouragement of Gloria Miklowitz, a well-known writer of young adult fiction. Telling dealt with molestation, and students at her school became avid readers (and critics) of the manuscript. In the process, "students were developing a critical sense, using literary terms, analyzing character and motivation. And they were paying attention to the specifics of language use."

Encouraged by the experience, she went on to write a realistic novel about teen pregnancy, Detour for Emmy. She believes that "the essence of sustained silent reading has to do with the increased understanding of one's self and the world, of enabling the wounded to heal, the isolated to know they are not alone, the bigoted to see the humanity of others."

Marilyn Reynolds is a passionate advocate of the benefits of writing in addition to reading. She promotes writing through participation in the 916 Ink program, and works with incarcerated youth in the Sacramento area. She engages with teens in a local continuation high school, and through visiting schools as an author. She also presents staff development workshops for educators and is often a guest speaker for programs and organizations that serve teens, parents, teachers, and writers.

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Love Rules 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book a while ago, and i have just now come back to it. This book is soo good. i advise basically everyone to read it reguardless of there sexuality. When i read the book, i was filled with emotion and anticipation to see what was/would happen next. Seriously really good
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think every teenager who likes to read would definatly love this book. Before I read it, I didn't have anything wrong with lesbians although it wasn't right in my mind. It took me a day finish reading it and after I did, my life changed. I see nothing wrong with anyone being gay, lesbian, or by if thats what they choose to do. People who beat on them or tease them should be tortured the same way. Its not right. I would recommend this to everyone out there.