Thomas Nelson, 2012
This one looked too cute to pass up, and I was very happy to snag it from BookSneeze (you have no idea how hard it is to get fiction!). Once I had the book in-hand, I knew it was going to be a fun read. The premise: 100 high school girls, from across the nation, are brought to a Tennessee mansion to 'compete' for the honor of being the President's son's prom date. With the whole thing being taped for reality tv. See? Entirely too much fun! It gets better though, trust me.
Addy never wanted the spotlight. When her principal told her she'd be representing their small, Christian school on "The Book of Love" (the reality show's name), she developed an instant bad attitude. A 'tude that continued through her first weeks on the show - winning her surprising publicity and support, but also earning a few enemies. As the days and weeks pass, Addy continues to "win" - she stays on the show, despite all attempts to make her look foolish, bratty, unpolished, and just plain unworthy. Her attitude also begins to change, as God works on her heart and shows her that she is there for a reason. Beginning to relax and make a few friends, including one of the assistant producers-slash-undercover Secret Service Agents, Addy finds herself drawn more and more to Jonathon - the President's son, and object of all the girls' desire. But is it real, or just another trick of so-called reality tv?
First Date was a lot of fun to read. Addy is a character I could relate to easily, even with the 10ish year difference in our ages, and Jonathon was quite the charming hero-figure-slash-potential love interest. The 'supporting cast' is colorful and adds a lot of texture to the story. Another thing that I really enjoyed is the shadowing of Queen Esther's story - while it's not an exact retelling, elements of Addy's in First Date are strongly reminiscent of the Biblical queen. Esther is one of my favorites, so it was really neat to see the story in a modern light. In short, First Date was an excellent first book (of 2012) to read!
Book provided by publisher for review.