THE ORACLE OF DATING
This YA romp was unexpectedly delightful! Allison van Diepen created winners with Kayla and Jared. The author nails the characterizations perfectly, and are so striking because of their differences. Kayla with her so very normal teen life and Jared who has come through the juvie system to decide that he wants more than to be a burn out. And although these two stand out, all the characters in The Oracle of Dating are well-rounded.
It is charming to fall in love alongside Kayla when she meets Jared. Throughout the story she gives readers relationship advice by way of writing blog entries for her dating advice website. As a pint-size matchmaker, Kayla always has her eyes open for other people, so she doesn't even realize Jared might want to date her!
van Diepen also uses a sensitive hand when she confronts Kayla with the challenge of advising a friend about an interracial relationship. Kayla's friend Viv is Indian and Viv's parents have banned her from dating non-Indian boys. But when Viv falls for (and secretly dates) a Caucasian boy, Kayla, and the readers, are forced to think about if the easy answer ("Viv you have to follow your heart") is the best answer.
Some of the slang is foreign and the way that these teenagers hang out is quite mature. (Kayla and her friends drink and go clubbing at sixteen, and have apparently been drinking for some time.) Much of that, this reviewer chalks up to the different experience between being a teen in a suburb and being a teen with easy access to New York City.
However, this is absolutely a perfect summer YA. And it leaves this reviewer wishing for her own Oracle of Dating!
Brooklyn teen Kayla runs an advice website, The Oracle Of Dating. Although she runs it anonymously, all her friends know that Kayla would never consider dating a high school boy!
But things get complicated when Kayla falls for the new guy at school, Jared. Kayla starts to question her ability to give people advice. Then Kayla's older sister starts dating her loser ex-boyfriend again. When Kayla (as the Oracle) gives her friend advice that results in heartbreak, Kayla decides that it's time to stop advising people.
Now Kayla's crush is dating someone else and her friends and family are all unhappy. Can Kayla risk bringing back The Oracle of Dating? (Harlequin Teen, May, pp. 250, $9.99)
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