Recommended Read, Review

Review: Against the Rules by Laura Heffernan (2019)

The Gamer Girls, Book #2

Review of The Gamer Girls, Book #1

Heat Factor: Some slow burning, all closed door action

Character Chemistry: Jealous and yearning glances are very convincing

Plot: Just as angsty as you’d expect

Overall: Heffernan writes heroes I want to marry and heroines I want to slap

I read the first book in this new “Gamer Girls” series, adored Cody and wanted to slap Gwen so much that she took the book from amazing to not amazing for me. But in She’s Got Game we got a little hint of Holly, Gwen’s gamer girl BFF, and Nathan, Gwen’s dad. And then Heffernan included an excerpt of this book at the end of She’s Got Game. A May-December romance? Sign. Me. Up. 

This book was everything I wanted it to be. It went a few places I wasn’t really expecting, but that was a good thing. Primarily it didn’t include an absurd quantity of stupid immaturity on Holly’s part, which was my greatest fear. 

What’s going on here? Holly went through a bunch of terrible life stuff in She’s Got Game. She was engaged to a legitimately awful human being who not only cheated on her but also involved her (unknowingly) in a pyramid scheme in their Venture Capital startup. She was the programmer and he was the accountant, and boy did she get burned. As a result, she’s struck a plea deal, is on probation, and can’t do any programming for 18 months. She was living with her shady fiance, but after the fallout from the cheating she moved in with BFF #3 in the friend triad and then with Nathan after his leg was broken in a fall. It was a whole thing. But she’s basically living low rent off the charity of her best friend’s dad. So when this book opens, she’s working in everyone’s favorite game store feeling like her life is kind of terrible. (It could totally be worse, but yeah, she’s not entirely wrong.) 

All she needs to do is get back on her feet. Maybe one way to do that is to get back into dating, but it’s hard to be interested in dating when men are just so terrible. It’s also hard to do when you have a totally inappropriate crush on a man who’s 15 years older than you and is also your best friend’s dad…and with whom you reside. 

Given the Nathan-Gwen-Holly relationship triangle going on, there is going to be some angst. The question is, does Heffernan treat this with a degree of maturity or not? Gwen was so fantastically immature, I wasn’t optimistic. To be honest, if Holly is totally mature about this whole thing, there’s not much of a story. And feelings are messy, so it’s unreasonable on my part to expect some sort of inhuman levels of adult emotional behavior. Holly did often start from a fantastically immature point (e.g. crawling through the bathroom window to escape a date with the hots for mermaids), but she also talked herself around to the mature point (e.g. the guy with the fantasy deserves to hear a rejection face to face). Most of the angst surrounding the relationship also moved in this way, so just as I was getting incredibly frustrated, the wind was taken out of my sails. 

For his part, Nathan is not only “Daddy McHotcakes,” he’s, like, a perfect man. He might make jealous faces before he admits his feelings for Holly (the slow burn kind that are flutter inducing), but when it comes down to it, Nathan is so even and supportive that he’s impossible not to adore. Example: Holly says, 

“Not to rock the boat, but why are you being so accommodating here? You’re not upset that I’m about to call some other guy?”

He shook his head. “Getting angry would only push you away. When you pick me, I want you to be confident you’re making the right decision.”


Also, Heffernan uses the word “myriad” properly, so you’re in good hands.

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

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