TB reviews Exception to the Rule by Cindy Rizzo


Robin, a New Yorker, has a rule: don’t fall for a princess. If you do, she’ll break your heart. Tracy, a southern, has her own rules involving having a fake boyfriend and several short affairs with older women. Both Robin and Tracy are terrified of getting hurt, but they’ve convinced themselves that they don’t need love.

Both of them move into the same dorm outside of Boston. In fact, they live on the same floor and when Robin sees the sexy southerner Tracy her head turns. Tracy notices Robin but doesn’t sense that the New Yorker is interested. Against all odds the two of them become best friends. But can they break down their own barriers and learn that loving someone can actually be wonderful.

This romance novel builds slowly. Rizzo takes the time to explore the three main characters, including the best friend Angie. It brought me back to my college days and all the excitement and confusion about living on your own for the first time and living with strangers in a dorm. Also she discusses the subjects the students are studying. Some readers may not like this aspect, but I did. I love learning new things.

What impressed me the most with this novel was the author’s ability to stay true to the characters. Both Robin and Tracy are stubborn young adults who think they know everything. So when they realize they are falling in love, both of them fight it. It would have been much easier for the author to have them collapse in each other’s arms and make this story overly sappy, but it would have destroyed the character development that she patiently built up. I have to admire an author who doesn’t cave to please some impatient readers and stays true to her story and characters.

Lena reviews Exception to the Rule by Cindy Rizzo


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.