Monday, June 28, 2010

Review: Allison van Diepen, The Oracle of Dating

Reading level: Young Adult
Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (May 1, 2010)

I know lovesickness. I know how painful it can be. Even if your loved one is not a vampire, even if he's that boy in class--if you can't have him, it hurts. It aches.

Sage words from the Oracle of Dating! I devoured this book in a couple hours (thanks to Alice at A Severe Book Addiction for recommending it!). I wish I'd had a copy when I was actually in high school...although even now, at the worldly old age of 24, I found myself really soaking up a lot of the Oracle's wisdom, committing some of the finer points to memory.

The Oracle of Dating (a.k.a. Kayla) is a 16 year old girl who has only had two boyfriends (and we're using the term loosely here...neither relationship lasted more than a month) - but through observation and natural precociousness has developed a keen ability to advise people of all ages on their romantic pursuits. She runs a website called the Oracle of Dating, where she charges $5 (via Paypal) in exchange for relationship advice.

Though she's sworn off dating herself (at least until college, when she believes boys will finally become more mature - ha!), she predictably soon finds herself falling for someone: a guitar player in a rock band, who sits beside her in art class. Jared is the sort of dreamy-eyed, tormented artist type that every girl (aside from a small percentage who prefer those big trolls on the football team) wishes would court her. He's standoffish, sarcastic, and intense. Having spent most of his life in a series of foster homes, and even a stint in juvie, he's completely uninterested in the whole high school pecking order, and is therefore cooler than everyone. He reminded me of Christian Ozera, actually....mmmmm.

Jared and Kayla have good chemistry, but what I loved most about the book was Kayla. Unlike many heroines in this genre, Kayla has a pretty good attitude and a relatively stable family life. She's not overly snarky, she doesn't resent the popular kids (until one of them makes a pass at Jared), she doesn't dye her hair purple or wear goth clothes. She doesn't take herself too seriously, even as the Oracle. She's also extremely funny, without trying very hard to be. And she gives some awesome advice ("if a guy says he doesn't want a relationship, you should believe him--he doesn't.").

So, a very cute and refreshing read--highly recommended for anyone who enjoys chicklit. This is a YA book, but I think women of all ages would like it. In Kayla's own words, "the Oracle is timeless."

4 stars

You might also like:
Simone Elkeles, Perfect Chemistry
Jennifer Echols, Going Too Far