The No-Girlfriend Rule

The No-Girlfriend Rule

By Author / Illustrator

Christen Randall



Age range(s)



Pushkin Children's Books




Paperback / softback




A queer YA coming-of-age novel that explores what it means to be yourself, even when it feels like the world wants you to be someone else - perfect for fans of Heartstopper, Fangirl and Casey McQuiston. 

17-year-old Hollis Beckwith is on a quest to conquer the world of tabletop gaming. But her boyfriend's 'No Girlfriends at the Table' rule means that Hollis will have to find her own group if she wants to join in. 

Enter Gloria Castaneda and her all-girls game of S&S! Crowded at the table in Gloria's apartment, Hollis finds unexpected friendships and epic adventures. With her character as armour, Hollis starts to believe that maybe she can be more than just fat, anxious and a little lost.  When an in-game crush develops between Hollis's character and the bard played by cool, charismatic Aini Amin Shaw, the lines between the game and reality start to blur - and Hollis is left with a choice: keep pretending, or roll the dice on love.

'A magical, heartwarming story as much about finding love as it is about finding yourself and your people. A natural 20 of a book' Rachael Lippincott, #1 New York Times bestselling author of She Gets the Girl and Five Feet Apart.  'A stunning story about finding love, friendship, and yourself. This book is pure, brilliant joy!' Beth Reekles, bestselling author of The Kissing Booth.  'The fat, nerdy book of my dreams. A beautiful reminder that if you've ever felt like an 'other,' there is still space for you at the table'. Crystal Maldonado, award-winning author of Fat Chance, Charlie Vegas. 


Clair - Age 14

In The No Girlfriend Rule, Hollis finds herself unable to join her boyfriend Chis and his group's table top game due to their 'No Girlfriends at the table' rule. Eager to continue playing so that she can have something to talk to Chris about, Hollis seeks another group to join and finds a poster advertising an all-girls game of Secrets & Sorcery that is LGBTQIA+ friendly. Within the group she finds supportive friends and an inclusive attitude. It is here that she finds herself drawn to Aini Amin Shaw and the lines between the game that they are acting out and reality start to blur.

I have to confess that I found this book needed a little translation in the beginning. I work with teenagers but there were some abbreviations used in the discord chat that I hadn't come across before. I feel that this could possibly date the book more quickly as apparently "no one says 'uwu' anymore!" However, they all read and understood so now I'm just left feeling somewhat old!

I enjoyed the storytelling with the table top gaming element and loved reading about Hollis finding her new friendship group. Her boyfriend and his mates treat her pretty poorly so I was pleased to see Hollis find true friendship, see the difference in the way she is treated and realise that she is better off without Chris and his mates.  Hollis really grows as a person and becomes happier and more self-confident as the book goes on. Everyone deserves to find a friend that takes the time to listen and truly values their friendship.

Author Christen Randall tackles the subject of mental health in the form of body image, depression, panic attacks and anxiety well. The No Girlfriend Rule normalises mental health issues and demonstrates that feeling included and having a sense of belonging can make all the difference. Once Hollis finds a more supportive group of friends, she really does blossom.

This is a heart-warming, coming of age, LGBTQIA+ friendly book. Perfect for those that are experiencing friendship issues or who love table top gaming.

336 pages / Reviewed by Clair, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 14+


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