Book Reviews

Review: The No-Girlfriend Rule by Christen Randall

If you love the idea of queer questioning and finding our sense of self, The No-Girlfriend Rule is for you. This one is for all the ones who know the power of a story, of community, and friendships that support you. It’s also for everyone who loves a story about identity, love, and family. Keep reading this book review of The No-Girlfriend Rule for my full thoughts.


Hollis Beckwith isn’t trying to get a girl—she’s just trying to get by. For a fat, broke girl with anxiety, the start of senior year brings enough to worry about. And besides, she already has a Chris. Their relationship isn’t particularly exciting, but it’s comfortable and familiar, and Hollis wants it to survive beyond senior year. To prove she’s a girlfriend worth keeping, Hollis decides to learn Chris’s favorite tabletop roleplaying game, Secrets & Sorcery—but his unfortunate “No Girlfriends at the Table” rule means she’ll need to find her own group if she wants in.

Gloria Castañeda and her all-girls game of S&S! Crowded at the table in Gloria’s cozy Ohio apartment, the six girls battle twisted magic in-game and become fast friends outside it. With her character as armor, Hollis starts to believe that maybe she can be more than just fat, anxious, and a little lost.

But then an in-game crush develops between Hollis’s character and the bard played by charismatic Aini Amin-Shaw, whose wide, cocky grin makes Hollis’s stomach flutter. As their gentle flirting sparks into something deeper, Hollis is no longer sure what she wants…or if she’s content to just play pretend.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Reading The No-Girlfriend Rule was an emotional roller coaster. It is full of heartwarming hugs as Hollis finds her own feet. She begins to see the people, their comments, around her for what they are. It’s not only a story about Hollis falling in love, but also about her falling in love with herself. Discovering who she is, what she likes, and the kind of friendships who support her. At the same time, what Hollis goes through and the sexism, the exclusion in her friendships, hurt. It made me go through flashbacks to my own entry into the ‘nerdom’ and the comments that have been swirling around.

The No-Girlfriend Rule is a love letter to community. To the people who will understand us, make space for us, listen to us. We may have trouble finding them and it may take a lot of wrong turns, but once we do they become our family. The people who see us no matter what. In so many ways, this book becomes an homage to our passions. All the things the world tries to tell us are ‘silly’ or that we shouldn’t get ‘upset’ about. It feels like a reclamation and an awakening.

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At the same time, it’s a story which examines when someone asks us to stay the same. When the changes in our lives, in ourselves becomes threatening to the status quo. And what happens when we decide we might want to try to change anyway. I cried a few times at the end and that’s saying something! Find The No-Girlfriend Rule on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.


Do you like to play board games or role playing games?

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