Julie Murphy meets Casey McQuiston in this unforgettable queer romance about a teen girl whose foray into fantasy tabletop roleplaying brings her new confidence, true friends, and a shot at real, swoon-worthy love.
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 boyfriend: 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.
Enter: 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.
Christen Randall (she/they) is a queer, fat, neurodivergent author of queer, fat, neurodiverse books. When they’re not writing joyful stories for the next generation of geeky gay kids, you can find them working at their local library branch or at home planning all the D&D campaigns they’ll run one day, they swear. Christen lives in Covington, Kentucky. The No-Girlfriend Rule is her debut novel. Visit Christen online at ByChristenRandall.com and on social media @ByCRandall.
Why We Love It
“This is the queer, slow-burn teen romance I’ve been waiting to read my entire life. Hollis Beckwith is everything I want in a protagonist: she’s smart, funny, relatable, and deeply, extremely lovable, even in the moments when she feels she’ll never be enough. Seeing Hollis come into her own as she finds her people (and her place at the Secrets & Sorcery table) is just pure joy. It’s about time for fat, anxious girls to be the stars of their own swoon-worthy romances!”
—Feather Flores, Editor, on The No-Girlfriend Rule
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (March 5, 2024)
★ "In this dazzling debut, Randall navigates serious topics such as mental health and toxic masculinity alongside joyful themes surrounding self-realization and cultivating genuine camaraderie and affirming safe spaces. A fully realized cast helps to flesh out Hollis and Aini’s developing connection and their individual quests for happiness against a lived-in-feeling gaming backdrop."
– Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
“The No-Girlfriend Rule is 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 delightful queer coming-of-age story of first love, friendship, and self-worth. This book had my heart fluttering with feels.” —Ashley Herring Blake, award-winning author of Delilah Green Doesn’t Care
“The No-Girlfriend Rule is 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 Vega
“The perfect blend of romance, geekery, self-discovery, and creative storytelling,The No-Girlfriend Rule affirms that even the bumpiest journeys can have joyful endings.” —Dahlia Adler, author of Cool for the Summer and Home Field Advantage
“This book is the queer romance, RPG adventure, and story of self-acceptance we all need. I wanted to hug every page!” —Amy Ratcliffe, author of Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy and editor-in-chief of Nerdist
“Christen Randall’s debut is a stunning story about finding love, friendship, and yourself. This book is pure, brilliant joy!” —Beth Reekles, bestselling author of The Kissing Booth