Monday, September 6, 2010

Review: The Oracle of Dating by Allison van Diepen

The Oracle of Dating by Allison van Diepen
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 1, 2010
Source: E-galley from LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Rating: 3.75 Bookcases

Official Summary can be found on author's website.

Who would you turn to if you needed dating advice? The teens at Kayla’s school turn to “The Oracle.” But, exactly who is “The Oracle?”

Michaela (Kayla) runs a website and blog called The Oracle of Dating where for $5 she dispenses dating advice via phone call, email or instant message. No one knows that she’s the Oracle and Kayla would like to keep it that way. Despite the fact that she gives relationship advice, Kayla has sworn off dating until college…until she gets to know Jared and ends up learning that he’s not the stuck up snob she thought he was. After a disastrous bit of advice gets ones of her best friends grounded for six weeks, Kayla decides the Oracle should close up shop. Is this the end of Oracle or will she make a return appearance when Kayla needs a bit of her own advice?

I’m definitely not in the target audience for Oracle of Dating, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the story and characters. Kayla is a fun, smart, no nonsense main character. She has a very diverse group of friends, who while secondary characters were all unique and really helped to make Kayla a well-rounded character. Kayla is also close with her older sister, Tracey, to whom she gives lots of dating advice. They’re roles are almost reversed here with Kayla being persistent about the type of gut Tracey should date. There is also a nice side story with Kayla and her stepdad and the two of them getting closer. So the author has made very sure that the reader knows that Kayla’s life is more than just school and the eventual love interest.

It was enjoyable reading a book that did not include a love triangle as a major piece of the plot. In fact, it was clear from the start who Kayla’s love interest would be, the reader can figure it out before Kayla. However, how they finally end up together was not very predictable. The twists and turns that kept the two of them apart are very realistic and teen readers will be able to connect with the story and what Kayla went through. I also really liked how throughout the whole story, Kayla has a lot of people she can go to for advice, but in the end she realizes that she should take her own advice. I think this sends a great message to girls, it’s important to put yourself first sometimes and follow your instincts

***The next paragraph contains a spoiler***

The cover makes The Oracle of Dating look like it might be a middle grades novel, but a majority of the characters are juniors and seniors in high school and with that comes some discussion about sex. There is one part where a character uses sex as a way to get his girlfriend to break up with him that will cause younger reader to maybe ask questions. So, while I wouldn’t have a problem handing this book to a 13 or 14 year old, I’m not sure that I would recommend it to anyone younger than that.

***end of spoiler warning***

Overall, The Oracle of Dating was a quick, fun, quirky read.


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