Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Review: First Date

First Date (The Dating Games #1)Author: Melody Carlson
Publication Date: October 15, 2013
Publisher: Revell
Series: The Dating Games # 1

Five high school friends have one thing in common as they start their sophomore year: none of them have ever been on a "real" date. With homecoming looming, they make a pact and start a secret club they call the DG (Dating Game). They're sworn to secrecy--and to purity--but the club is their way to set each other up on their first dates so they can report back to the DG. Of course, they all make different choices about how to deal with their parents and how to act on their dates, and they discover that they all have totally different experiences. Still, the things they learn about boys and dating will stick with them throughout high school.
Bestselling author and teen favorite Melody Carlson starts off her newest series with a good dose of fun, tackling two topics teen girls love to read about--friends and boys.

“What exactly does this ‘secret’ dating club do?” Cassidy demanded. “If you ask me, it sounds skanky. And I refuse to join a club that’s going to-”

“I like that we help each other.” Abby held up her water bottle with enthusiasm. “Here’s to sisterhood and to dating. When do we start?”

Devon slowly looked around the table, studying the diverse mix of five girls. Being new to the group, she wasn’t sure what the common denominator was that connected them as friends, or even how long they’d been friends.

This book sounded like a wonderfully interesting idea, and as someone who teaches high school, I always enjoy reading from the perspective of teenage adolescents. High school was not a fun time for me, not because I was picked on or not liked, but just because I think it is a tough time in every kid’s life. They are discovering who they are, growing both physically and mentally, and trying their best to prepare for the life that is ahead of them. I must say that I would have never made it through high school without my best friends, so this group of girls was reassuring for me. High school is a tough place and I believe this book is a good representation of that.

Devon is the new girl at school and has only recently been transferred because of her mother and father’s divorce and her mother’s need for her to be at a better school/place. Devon finds herself at odds with her feelings for her new school. She is really only concerned with meeting new guys and cannot seem to understand why they are not interested in her. Devon comes up with a “Dating Club” and entices some of her closest friends to join it with her in hopes that they can all have dates before the Homecoming dance.

The friendship that these girls form is deep because of the bonds and the vows they share as both friends and as part of the club. The central message of this book is not revealed until towards the middle and is key to the story as a whole. As a teenager I wish that I had a book like this one to read. The message it offers for young girls is powerful and beneficial, especially for someone who is at such a crucial stage in their lives.

***A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Revell in exchange for my honest review***

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