Friday, December 16, 2011
"First Date" (ARC) ~ Krista McGee
Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Netgalley for this heartwarming story of sacrifice, obedience and love.
What do you get when take "The Bachelor", "Survivor" a little bit of "Miss America" and give them a good dose of Biblical principals? "The Book of Love" of course! This modern day version of "Esther" has all the same elements that the Biblical version does; a young girl is chosen to live in a world that is unlike her own, a place where her "kind" has been persecuted but through her example of God's love and obedience to him, she's able to fulfill His purpose for her life.
In "First Date", we meet Addy Davidson, the orphaned daughter of missionaries who reluctantly finds herself as a contestant on "The Book of Love" - a reality T.V. show where teenage girls are vying to become the prom date of the President's only son, Jonathon. Addy, who lives with her Uncle Mike is used to living a life of relative quiet and routine; she goes to school, leads a Bible study, hangs out with her BFF and is focused on getting into an Ivy League College. She's never really questioned God's plan for her life but that will change after she moves into The Mansion with the other girls who are "in it to win it".
Jonathon, the First Son, is beautiful, smart, charming and beautiful (did I mention that already?) but his life is far from perfect or quiet like Addy's. He's got his very own BFF's aka Secret Service agents who are with him 24/7. (The poor guy can't even go to the bathroom without company.) Let's not forget the paparazzi who lurk around corners and hide out in bushes just waiting to get the "money" shot as they chronicle his every move in the daily tabloids. He also can't be too careful of new people, never really knowing who he can trust. Then there's all the expectations for his future. Does he even get a choice about what he wants to be when he grows up? Now, with all those pretty girls practically throwing themselves at him, he's living every teenage boy's fantasy. Or is he?
"The Book of Love" may be a dream come true for the other girls but Addy isn't thrilled about being a part of this competition and she makes sure everyone knows, especially Jonathon. When the footage of the girls' first impressions is played back on live T.V., Addy gets to see just how badly she treated him right along with the rest of America. She's embarrassed by her behavior and wants nothing more than to fix her mistake. In doing so, she'll discover that everyone deserves a second chance to make a first impression and you can't believe everything you see on T.V. (Those guys in the editing department make the big bucks for a reason.)
The more time Addy spends with Jonathon the more she finds he's nothing like what she thought he was. In fact, she kinda likes him...maybe enough to want to win the whole contest. What's happening to her?! Her feelings of inadequacy increase the longer she's around the other girls who she feels are more talented, smarter and definitely more beautiful than she is. Kara, a fellow contestant, tries to reassure Addy that she has every right to be there, if not more than those other girls. Even Jonathon does his best to reassure her but she just can't seem to find the peace she needs.
The longer she's in the spotlight the more changes Addy begins to notice in herself and they aren't all positive. Her patience is being pushed to it's limits and her faith stretched in ways she never imagined. How in the world is she supposed to shine in such a hostile environment? Before it's all over, she'll be faced with making a decision that could jeopardize her place in the competition and she'll be left wondering if maybe, just maybe, God has brought her here for "such a time as this."
This has a reading group guide at the end which makes this a great book to read through with a small group.