The Dating Game
In THE DATING GAME, the first book in a new series by Natalie Standiford, three friends set up an online dating quiz as part of their school project. All of the quiz takers are students, which allows the girls --- Holly, Mads and Lina --- to get an insider's view of what their fellow students are thinking and feeling when it comes to dating and sex.
The story focuses on the search for the right person to date, the urge to be popular, the feeling of being alone and isolated, and the potential hurt caused by nasty rumors. The situations presented here are ones faced by most high school students, and the girls' reactions to them are quite realistic.
Readers will care very much about the main characters. Holly, Mads and Lina are close friends and do not compete with one another. They have their own strengths and weaknesses, and are honest about them. All three have romantic designs on boys who are unattainable for different reasons and for different lengths of time.
The supporting characters are decently developed: Dan, the young teacher, seems charming and the potential boyfriends are interesting. Holly's boyfriend begins dating her because the other boys talked about how friendly she is. He ends up genuinely caring for Holly, but they need to work through some issues before they can have a healthy relationship. The parents are a bit underdeveloped and seem more like caricatures than characters, but I think this was a deliberate choice on the author's part. THE DATING GAME is not about the parents; it revolves around the teenage protagonists.
Probably the best-developed supporting character is Ramona, the gothic student who is in love with Dan. She is an interesting foil for all three main characters and injects a lot of humor into the story.
Every chapter begins with a rotating horoscope of one of the main characters, a catchy twist and an interesting lead-in to the happenings in each chapter. The premise of an online project, and its fresh humor, could keep this series going strong for quite some time.
Reviewed by Melissa A. Palmer on February 2, 2005
The Dating Game
- Publication Date: February 2, 2005
- Genres: Fiction
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- ISBN-10: 031611040X
- ISBN-13: 9780316110402