I recently joined Thomas Nelson’s BookSneeze blogger review program, and I picked Krista McGee’s novel First Date as my first selection. This book is definitely in the Christian YA genre, but I decided to review it because I wanted something fun and light to read, and the concept intrigued me. Basically, the book chronicles the adventures of Addy Davidson, a Christian who is one of 100 high school girls chosen to be on a reality TV show and compete to be the prom date of the President’s son. While many girls would probably jump at the chance to be on a TV show and go on a date with the cute President’s son, Addy wants no part in the competition. She’d much rather stay at home and focus on getting into an Ivy League college. After much convincing on the part of her school principal, Addy agrees to go on the show but tries to get eliminated the very first night. Her plan fails spectacularly, and it turns out that Jonathon, the President’s son, catches Addy’s interest. It’s not too long before various conflicts ensue, as readers are given a behind-the-scenes look into the filming of the show and the lives of the girls involved. Addy must grapple with her faith, her attitude, and her interest in Jonathon while also dealing with the cattiness of some of her fellow contestants.
Overall, this book was a fun, quick read that I found to be entertaining, once I got past the idea of there actually being a show that put a bunch of high school girls in the spotlight on national TV, all to win a date. I’m not really sure this show would exist in real life since it’s teens we’re talking about and not grown adults like we see on The Bachelor, but it is a cute concept. I appreciated the faith angle in the story and the obvious parallels to the biblical account of Esther, but some of the discussions of faith seemed a bit stiff and forced.
I liked the character of Addy and the way she struggled to make sense of why she was on the show and how she should share her faith with those she encounters, even though it seemed like her fear was a little overblown. In the book, Addy was able to grow in her faith through reading her deceased mother’s journals from her time spent as a missionary, and I liked the glimpses of missionary life that were given through the journal passages. I did feel like Addy’s character was a bit on the boring side and wished there could have been a little more of her sense of humor displayed because the few places where it was made evident were very refreshing. I also enjoyed reading about Addy’s roommate on the show, Kara, who is talkative and vivacious and often more interesting than Addy herself. The interactions between Jonathon and Addy were well done, and I appreciated the fact that the spark between them is evident, but they do not act inappropriately or even kiss at any time in the book.
My one big complaint with the book revolves around a plot to assassinate the President and kidnap the President’s son. Addy and her uncle just so happen to be sitting in a diner eating when they overhear this plot, and I thought this whole storyline was a bit ridiculous. Who seriously plots to kill the President in a public place? It just didn’t ring true to me at all.
The rather unrealistic portions of the book aside, I enjoyed this read and would definitely recommend it to mothers who are look for wholesome, uplifting books for their teens or preteens to read.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”