mary's book basket ~ "perfectly dateless" by kristen billerbeck

Inspirational Fiction author Kristen Billerbeck is known for her humor and her all-encompassing storytelling. She brings the reader into the heads and hearts of her heroines. In her first YA novel Perfectly Dateless, heroine Daisy Crispin is determined to find the "perfect" Prom date.

Product Description:
"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, wears lame homemade clothes, and possesses 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 attempts to completely ruin her life?"

Oh the trials and tribulations of a teenage girl just trying to find her place. Teenagers are all about the drama and Ms. Billerbeck does not disappoint in this coming of age tale. There is drama everywhere. Daisy is a freak of nature who spouts off random encyclopedia facts when she gets nervous, dresses like she's a greeter for a discount restaurant chain and can't decide what she wants to do with her life. It's senior year and she has promised herself that this year is going to be different. Her best friend Claire is an even more confused, if not better dressed.

I have to say as far as best friends go, these two were made for each other. Opposites in every way and yet, they completely understand one another just like best friends should. They have a great give and take throughout the book while they are getting into and out of a lot of trouble. The dialogue is like quick-fire throughout the book.

Claire's parents are portrayed as the worst kind of hovering, overprotective, helicopter parents known to mankind. Now I must say that I have known that kind of parent. I have actually been that kind of parent from time to time. It was hard to read at times because all the emotions portrayed were so real. Very believable. For her first foray into Young adult fiction Ms Billerbeck does a good job tapping into the every teenagers worst nightmare, public humiliation.

She also does a good job of keeping Claire's inner conflict front and center. Like most seventeen year olds, she is struggling with who she is in God's eyes and the type of young woman He is calling her to be. Ms. Billerbeck weaves a tale of self-discovery slowly revealing Claire's true heart as well as the true intentions of those who love her.

The type of trouble Claire gets into is a bit over the top for me. I think that Ms. Billerbeck brushes over a few of the more serious issues she raises. I also thought the prom scene was over too quickly, especially since the whole book was geared toward this event. The ending in general was rushed and all the conflict tied up into a sweet little package. Not very satisfying for the reader but a happy ending nonetheless. If she can work these things out, than Ms Billerbeck will be just as successful in the YA market as she has been in Woman's Fiction.

Happy Reading!

*Available July 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.