>> Wednesday, December 09, 2015
TITLE: Blonde Date
AUTHOR: Sarina Bowen
SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: New Adult romance
SERIES: I think it might be related to some of Bowen's other books
A blind date. A nervous sorority girl. A mean-spirited fraternity prank. What could go wrong?
As a sorority pledge, there are commandments that Katie Vickery must live by. One: thou shalt not show up for the party without a date. Two: the guy shall be an athlete, preferably an upperclassman.
Unfortunately, Katie just broke up with her jerkface football player boyfriend. Even worse, her last encounter with him resulted in utter humiliation. She’d rather hide under the bed than attend a party where he'll be.
Yet staying home would mean letting him win.
Enjoying herself tonight was out of the question. She could only hope to get through the evening without her blind date noticing that he was spending the evening with a crazy person.
Andrew Baschnagel is living proof that nice guys don’t finish first. He’s had his eye on Katie since the moment her long legs waltzed into his art history class. So when her roommate sets Andy up to be Katie’s date, he’d be crazy to say no. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a lot of practice with either girls or parties. Yet.
Last year I tried the first of Sarina Bowen's Ivy Years books, The Year We Fell Down and was very underwhelmed. The romance just didn't work for me. There were some good things there, though, so when I read a couple of reviews of Blonde Date which appealed to me, I gave her another shot.
Well, I absolutely loved it.
Katie Vickery and Andy Baschnagel are going out on a blind date. Well, half blind. Katie doesn't know Andy, but Andy knows her, from afar. In fact, he's had a bit of a crush on her for a while, but he never thought the perfect blonde sorority girl who only dates football players would give a nerdy basketball player the time of day. But Katie's just been through an experience with her ex which has left her shaken, and she needs a date to a sorority party where she's sure to see the jerk. Thus, her friend fixes her up with Andy.
This is basically a nerd / perfect princess story, which is not my favourite. I always feel a bit disappointed when the smart, nicer than anyone else hero is obsessed with the beautiful girl he doesn't know. There's an element of that in Andy's initial crush, but it's soon clear after he and Katie get to know each other that there's real chemistry there. It's clear that, whatever the reason for his initial crush, Katie is much more than the perfect princess for him.
I also liked what Bowen did with Katie herself. She's someone who has been pretty shallow, the sort of girl who's determined to be in a sorority and be popular and date only athletes. However, her confidence has been dinged, and this has brought her to appreciate kindness and decency over cachet.
I also loved that one of the big themes here is the issue of consent, and Bowen addresses it both explicitly and through the way she develops the romance. The love scene, for instance, is a good example of that. It's very uniquely written, not your usual love scene, which might mean that some readers will feel cheated. I liked it, myself, but I'm someone who's been feeling bored with love scenes in romance for quite a while. The emphasis here is on the preliminaries and the whole thing illustrates the characters and their personalities perfectly.
I also particularly liked the ending. It's from an unexpected point of view and it makes it clear that Katie and Andy are building something together. It does so in a completely non-saccharine way. It also gives us emotional justice for what happened to Katie. I wanted blood, really, but this was enough to give me assurance that the culprit had at least received some punishment.
MY GRADE: An A-.