In a lot of ways, Exception to the Rule by Cindy Rizzo has everything you would want in a queer love story. Intelligent, socially conscious characters who are exceptionally good at their chosen fields and, after overcoming initial differences, share an exceptional romance.
Robin and Tracy meet during their first semester at Adams, a university outside Boston. Their differences are pretty striking. Robin, from New York, is edgy and urban, only at Adams to develop her writing techniques. On the other hand, Tracy is from the South and maintains a carefully created façade to hide her affairs with older women from her family. They’re just different enough to incredibly compatible. Together with their friend Angie, the three plan to take their college by storm. The friendship of this trio is worth remarking on – it’s incredibly harmonious and a really lovely depiction of female friendships. The writing is interesting. Rizzo has a knack for creating a fully dimensional environment for her characters and it’s easy to fall into the world of the story. All three characters excel at school and bumble along at romance and suddenly it’s too exceptional. Everything is so rosy tinted that it’s hard to take.
Rizzo’s created a queer fantasia of socially conscious characters who are exceptional at everything they do. And while that’s great, we need more of that, it’s gets to the point where it doesn’t feel real. Tracy, the psychology student, quickly finds herself excelling in upper level classes while Robin, the writer, creates flawless and impressive stories. While their love story is somewhat bumpy, nothing stops them for too long and soon there is romantic as well as academic bliss. By the end I just couldn’t stomach the perfection. These characters are so fortunate and their live are so exceptional that I couldn’t believe in them anymore. I wanted more failure because that sounded more revealing than the perpetual good luck of the story.