Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"First Date" by Melody Carlson

About the book: When it comes to catching the eye of that cute boy at school, sometimes you just need a little help from your friends.
ISBN: 9780800721312
Paperback $12.99

Devon, Emma, Cassidy, Bryn, and Abby have one thing in common as they start their sophomore year: none of them have ever been on a "real" date. With homecoming looming, the girls make a pact and start a secret club they call the DG (Dating Games) that has just one objective--dates for the dance.

They're sworn to secrecy, but the club is their way to set each other up on their first dates so they can report back to the DG. They'll have to navigate expectations and rules from their parents, figure out how to act on a date, and endear themselves to the guys they like.

What could possibly go wrong?

Review: This is the first book I have read by Melody Carlson and as I started through the first couple of chapters, I was convinced that I was not going to like this book.  In fact, the more I read the more I felt that it was a waste of my time and most certainly was not something that I was going to recommend anyone else to read.  However, as I remembered the target age for this book (High School: 10th grade and up), the story began to make sense to me and how it would possibly appeal to this age group simply because of the topic of dating and let’s face it, most young girls are interested in dating.  The characters in the book are real and you could easily see any of these girls walking up and down the halls of any high school – Christian or Public.

Devon is the new girl at Northwood Christian School.  She transferred from the local public high school because of her parents’ divorce and her mother wanted a “better place for Devon.”  Devon has no interest in the spiritual side of the Christian school and is only interested in basically one thing – guys.  She can’t understand why the boys aren’t paying any attention to her.  She never had that problem at the public school.  Was everyone at Northwood a stick in the mud?  

What she doesn’t know is that one of the teachers at Northwood, Mr. Worthington, has given all the high boys a talk about dating and showing respect to the girls and being careful about who you date and that perhaps the young men would consider making a pact to not date and wait on God to show them whom they should date.  Once Devon is told of the “talk” by Mr. Worthington, she makes it her mission to break “the pact” and the Dating Games club is borne.   

She talks her best friend Emma into joining the club, as well as three other girls who are friends with Emma and tells them all that they can help each other get dates for the Homecoming Dance.

“First Date” is not a bad book, The girls in the story do develop a deeper friendship because of the Club, but I was disappointed that there was so little spiritual application until well into the book – more than half way through before the thought is introduced that if you’re a Christian, then you need to be very cautious about who you might date and how that might affect your testimony.  Oddly enough, though, I remember some of these same situations during my high school years and I am sure things are pretty much the same now.  

Ms. Carlson has done a good job in character development and any high school girl who may read “First Date” would/could see herself in one of the five girls of the Dating Game Club.  Hopefully, however, they will also realize that it’s okay if you don’t date.  That may sound a little na├»ve’, but one can hope. (guest reviewer: P. Howard)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary review copy was received to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review. "First Date" published by Revell a division of Baker House Publishing.

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