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Content Review: The Oracle of Dating by Allison Van Diepen

The Oracle of Dating (Harlequin Teen)
Review by Andye

Reading level: Young Adult

Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (May 1, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0373210094

ISBN-13: 978-0373210091

 

For five bucks, the Oracle of Dating will tell you:

 * How to flirt

 * If that cute guy you're crushing on likes you, too

 * Whether your new romance will last through lunch period

 * And much more

What she won't tell you? Who she is. No one at Kayla's school knows she's the famous Oracle of Dating— the anonymous queen of dating advice. She doesn't even have a boyfriend. Two relationship disasters were enough to make Kayla focus on everyone else's love life.

But then her advice backfires on her own best friend. And Kayla starts to seriously obsess about Jared Stewart—the very cute, very mysterious new guy in school. Suddenly, the teen queen of advice needs her own oracle of dating—and she knows just where to find one….

 

Sexual Content:

-Heavy

 

Language:

-Heavy

 

Other Notables:

-Kayla’s parents are divorced

-Mention of Kayla’s older sister having bad boyfriends and a borderline eating disorder.

-“Mom works at a church in Park Slope where she, among other things, performs gay commitment ceremonies and doesn’t make couples who are living together feel guilty.  She also preaches about the gift of divorce as the congregation nods in agreement.”

-Mention of smoking a spliff

-Jared admits to previously stealing things

-Kayla and her friends drink alcohol at a friend’s house while the parents are gone

-Kayla and her friends get fake IDs and go to clubs and drink and dance with strange guys

-Kayla’s stepdad is into Astrology and karma

-More mentions of going to parties and drinking


Was it any good?

Positives:  Kayla is a wise-beyond-her-years girl who isn’t afraid to share her knowledge with her followers and friends and even her 20-something older sister. I really like that she has standards and values and isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes.  She’s an intelligent girl who is kind and thoughtful, and cares deeply for her friends and family, and they care deeply about her.

The use of Web sites, Facebook, and Paypal add another dimension to this book that hasn’t been present in any of the other books I've read.  It's nice to see a teen girl who has a sense of business and responsibility. 

Negatives:  There were a couple of things that I didn’t like about the book.  I felt like it would appeal more to younger teens than older ones (especially by looking at the cover), but there was a lot of talk about sex, especially with Kayla’s older sister who was in her twenties, and a ton of sexual comments and innuendo, and quite a bit of mature language. 

But the biggest thing that bothered me was the way that Jared treated Kayla.  He did treat her really well sometimes, but other times he was a jerk.  I don’t want to give anything away, but I didn’t like that he tried to push a girl (not Kayla) to have sex with him so that she would break up with him, and this is shown as a good thing because he’s sparing her the humiliation of being dumped.    

*Overall, I’d say that this book reminded me a lot of The Lonely Hearts Club, but I thought LHC was so much better, not nearly as raunchy, with a much better cast of characters. Not to mention an awesome guy who knows how to treat a girl.

Blog Review

Rating:

3 out of 10