Review: First Date by Krista McGee

Publication Date: January 10th, 2012
Thomas Nelson
Format: Paperback,  336 pages
RATING: 2 out of 5 Stars

Addy Davidson discovers God’s unexpected plans for her life when a reality TV show turns her quiet existence on its head.

The orphaned daughter of missionaries, Addy is quite content to stay in the shadows and never draw attention to herself. But when she’s selected for a reality TV show to try to become the President son’s prom date-a show she didn’t audition for-she’s suddenly in America’s spotlight.
The lights, the make-up, the competitions, and the blogs discussing every move she makes all make Addy incredibly uncomfortable. But through her time at The Mansion, Addy comes to realize that first impressions aren’t always right, that hiding out may not be what God had planned for her life, and that her faith should affect everything she does. It may just be that her selection wasn’t random at all and that she’s on this show “for such a time as this.”

I sometimes buy books without knowing what it’s about just to put some variety on my bookshelves – and yes, I’m quite aware that this book hardly represent a rebellious change from my usual reads. This is really not a far cry from say, an errant Stephen King novel in my shelf. Nevertheless, Christian fiction have never been something that I go out of my way to buy. I just haven’t really had any mind-blowingly good reads in this genre as of late.

I initially liked the premise of this book. Basically, the son of the prez of the United States is searching for a prom date, televised ala Bachelor. But unlike The Bachelor, the teenage girls have to go through a series of elimination process by way of some Academic, Athletic and social aptitude tests. In the meantime, in Tampa, Florida, a Christian girl was chosen by uhm…God (at least, that’s what I was lead to believe) to be a contestant. Addy only had two goals in life: to serve God and to be an Ivy Leaguer. She has no intention of throwing herself on Jonathan’s feet all for the sake of publicity and money. She also doesn’t have the gumption to be in a battle against some pretty, ferocious girls willing to do anything to capture Jonathan’s attention. How far could she go?

This could’ve been such a romantic book but since it’s a Christian fiction, the romance thing didn’t really go anywhere.

Addy’s parents were killed on a mission in Colombia; throughout the story, Addy would have some snippets of their early missionary life through her mother’s journals. I didn’t find any distinction between Addy’s and her mother’s voice. Her mother sounded as juvenile – youngish as she does. Perhaps it’s in her exuberance over the life they’re about to embark on in remote Colombia. I have no idea why this stuck to me. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Addy is a bit mature for her age in some instances but once in a while, the teenager in her would come out of hiding and that’s the exact picture of what her mother sounded like.

This book is just not for me and it’s not because of its religious connotations. I didn’t even find it ‘preachy’ as some Christian fiction tends to be. I just couldn’t swoon over a cute guy when it feels like Addy is an angel on my shoulder telling me that ‘swooning’ over a boy is my one way ticket to H-E-double hockey sticks. I don’t know about you, but reading about God in a romance novel kind of gives me the hibbie gibbies.

Lesson learned: When God calls you to enter a competition that would involved rolling in the mud, golfing, being bitten by a brown recluse spider and being in the mercy of a dubious game show host, YOU better darn well go! It’s all a part of His plans…to well…I’m not sure. I never did get the point of the story. There wasn’t much of a conflict here. If God had a plan for Addy, as she kept on insisting at every two or three pages, it’s either I missed it or she never got around to telling me. Incidentally, this book also didn’t inspire me to pick up the Bible. It didn’t make me want to head to the nearest church to repent for my sins. I’ve only ever read one book that made me think about religion and that’s Angela Morrison’s Taken by Storm.  Like I said previously, this was not the type of read that will give you a divine enlightenment. At the end of the day, this book is just another romance novel…minus all the things that makes a romance novel, well, romantic.

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