Daisy Crispin has 196 days to find the right date for the prom. There's only one problem--her parents won't let her date or even talk to a guy on the phone. Oh, and she's totally invisible at school, has to wear lame homemade clothes, and has no social skills. Okay, so maybe there's more than one problem. Can she talk her parents into letting her go to the prom? Or will they succeed at their obvious attempt to completely ruin her life?
"Perfectly Dateless" is the first Christian Young Adult fiction book I have read in a long time, and the first chick-lit Christian YA fiction I have ever read. When I was a teenager I didn't know this genre existed, and I wish I had!
I found "Perfectly Dateless" addictive. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. I loved the way Kristin Billerbeck dealt with serious issues that teengaers and families face these days without tarring it with a thick heavy brush of doom and gloom. The atmosphere of the book remained light and humouress without skirting these issues. I think this is a very important balance. For validity and authenticity of a YA novel, it needs to deal with the current day issues. However, I believe it should be done without casting the reader into darkness and despair. Kristin definitely succeeds in doing this.
A note for Australian readers: The Christian references are very "American". The fact that it's quite "normal" to go to church and youth groups is unfamiliar to most Australian readers (certainly to me!) and so it was a little strange at first. However, once I got into the book and got over that fact, I barely noticed the "Americanism". I'm sure if you read more books in this genre by American authors you'd soon not notice it at all.
The Christian faith is very evident throughout the book, it's certainly not subtle but it's also not "in your face". The fact is the characters are Christian, and so their beliefs are naturally and appropriately woven into the story. The characters have their flaws and their lives are not perfect. I could see a lot of myself in Daisy, and had bucket loads of empathy for her high school plights and battles with the parents!
The bottom line is, I loved the story. The characters and their endeavours are real and believable, there's humour, a bit of drama, a bit of romance and a happy ending. If you are, or have, a romantic minded teenage girl, get a hold of books like this!
There is a second installment to Daisy's story, "Perfectly Invisible" which was released 1st July this year (2011). I'm very keen to get my hands on that and give that a read too :)