The Dating Games #1




Five high school friends have one thing in common as they start their sophomore year: none of them have ever been on a “real” date. With homecoming looming, they make a pact and start a secret club they call the DG (Dating Game). They’re sworn to secrecy–and to purity–but the club is their way to set each other up on their first dates so they can report back to the DG. Of course, they all make different choices about how to deal with their parents and how to act on their dates, and they discover that they all have totally different experiences. Still, the things they learn about boys and dating will stick with them throughout high school.


Melody Carlson has written around 200 books for teens, women and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her books range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including the Rita and Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at


Alright, so my picture says “no holds barred – I tell it like it is”. So with that said, I’m about to tell you my honest thoughts.
I didn’t finish this book. I started it, and I read about 1/3 of the book before I stopped. I wasn’t impressed. At all. When I was a younger teen, I adored Melody Carlson. I loved to read her books, and I felt like I could relate to them. So when I received the email to review this book, I jumped at the chance to try another one of her books for teens, so that I could review it here and maybe give my younger readers something to check into reading.
On the first page of this book, the word “freaking” was used. While I occasionally use this word in my own life – I say it sometimes – I don’t like reading it in books, and I honestly think that it is really unnecessary in a Christian book for teen girls. I was not impressed with this.
Also, not far into the book, the girls are making it sound fun to try to find dates for everyone in their group – calling it a “game”. Well, as an almost 20 year old who has never had a date for the reason of not wanting to date just for fun, I didn’t find this to be appropriate. I thought that it was kind-of stupid, really. There is no reason for sophomores – like the girls are in this book – to be starting a club called “The Dating Games”, and trying to get guys to ask them out on dates.
I should also mention that most of the guys in this book seemed to not be the least bit interested in dating. The book takes place in a Christian school, and it mentions that the guys were given a “talking to” from a teacher in the school about respecting girls and not dating just to date.  So the girls were trying to go against what the guys were feeling, trying to get them to ask them out even though guys weren’t interested in dating.
Some of the characters did makeovers to make them more appealing to the guys, making it seem like they didn’t think they were good enough before.
Now, to be fair, I didn’t finish this book, so I’m not sure how it turned out in the end. I couldn’t get past the first half of this book . . . I found way too much wrong with it.
Do I recommend this to other teens? Absolutely not. 
I feel girls are worth a lot more than this book is making it out to seem.
Maybe this wasn’t Melody Carlson’s intentions while writing this book – I think it was more for fun than anything – but I didn’t appreciate it, and I don’t think a lot of parents of younger teens would appreciate it either.
So there ya have it . . . honest, no holds barred review by yours truly.

Available October 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

  • Thanks for being honest in your review, Ashley. I think a lot of moms will appreciate that!