The Dating Debate – Chris Cannon
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book is not for anyone who has to get in the last word, but it is for all book nerds, especially those who live next door to so-called unapproachable gorgeous guys. There’s no debating the chemistry.
Nina Barnes thinks Valentine’s Day should be optional. That way single people like her wouldn’t be subjected to kissy Cupids all over the place. That is, until her mom moves them next door to the brooding hottie of Greenbrier High, West Smith. He’s funny, looks amazing in a black leather jacket, and he’s fluent in Harry Potter, but she’s not sure he’s boyfriend material.
West isn’t sure what to make of Nina. She’s cute and loves to read as much as he does, but she seems to need to debate everything and she has a pathological insistence on telling the truth. And West doesn’t exactly know how to handle that, since his entire life is a carefully constructed secret. Dating the girl next door could be a ton of fun, but only if Nina never finds out the truth about his home life. It’s one secret that could bring them together or rip them apart.
I loved Nina, I loved West, and I loved their story. It is funny and sweet, has real depth, and is happily missing those awful ‘bitchy cheerleader’ and ‘bullying jock’ characters that are a real turn-off, but too often fill Teen and YA novels. I love that this book deals with mental health as well as abandonment issues in a good and sensible way. The situations are woven so well into the story that you ache for the characters in their lowest moments, yet also feel they are going to be ok. West may be a ‘brooding hottie’ but Nina isn’t a girl to be overshadowed or overwhelmed by it. Their banter is hilarious, and their debates brilliant. Both characters are well-developed and well written; they feel real and I could identify them with young people I know. They also demonstrate a level of maturity when having opposing opinions on a big issue; each is able to accommodate the other’s view without having a silly break-up over it.
How these two get together is fun, and how they stay together is entertaining. There are lows as well as highs, but this is a book that I highly recommend. Another curl up with drinks and nibbles, read it in one go book for me. Try it for you.