Source: An egalley from the publisher sent through NetGalley.
Book Description, my take:
Addy Davidson's uncle and her high school principle convince Addy to enter a reality TV show competition for a prom date with the president's gorgeous teenage son, Jonathon Jackson. She grudging goes but, exasperated with the whole beauty pageant feel of the competition, she impulsively tells Jonathon--on live TV--that she doesn't want to be on the show.
Her comment and way of doing things stand out among the uniformly super-talented, gorgeous girls she's competing against. She gains the attention of the show's watchers as well as the president's son, but most of the other girls hate her. Addy decides that she needs to use this opportunity to show Christ's love to others (like her dead, missionary parents would have done)...and also finds herself increasingly interested in getting to know Jonathon better.
First Date is a young adult Christian romance novel, though I suspect younger teens would also like it. The story is loosely based on the biblical story of Esther. The influence was strong enough I recognized the connection, but the story didn't always translate well into a modern setting.
For example, Addy strongly objected to being entered in this competition, but the adults had already entered her without her consent. That didn't seem realistic, nor did some other parts of the story. I also didn't appreciate how the adults in Addy's life manipulated her into joining the competition by telling her that this was God's will for her. It very clearly was their will, though God did use it.
Despite the somewhat rocky beginning, I enjoyed this charming story. The "good guy" characters were fun and engaging, though the "bad guys" were petty cliche. I enjoyed Addy's and Jonathon's romance. Considering how superficial their attraction and relationship could have been, these two still managed to connect based on shared interests and meaningful conversations.
There was a strong Christian element to this story. Addy feels like God is using the experience to grow her, and she prays and occasionally reads her Bible. She's scared about sharing that she's a Christian with people (though, as another character pointed out, it wasn't exactly hard to guess), and she does eventually share her faith. One reaction to this didn't seem realistic, but the others were.
There was no sex. There was a very minor amount of "he cursed" style of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this novel as long as you're not looking for a serious, realistic read.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.