Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Release date: February 2nd 2012.
Paperback, 278 pages.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Source: Received from publisher for review.
Reviewed by: Jen
What if you could change your friends' lives and loves through the settings of a computer game...?
Lex Murphy's group of friends have all dated, hated, ignored and lusted after each other for the last few years. If only there was a way of matching people perfectly to avoid all the unrequited love, dumping and drama! Then Lex's friend George is given a mysterious Sims-like game by his software-testing dad which involves building character profiles in the categories of Life, Looks and Love. Lex and George populate the game with avatars for all their mates, making a few 'wishful thinking' adjustments to the settings - and find that the next day these tinkerings have come true! But how long can this new calm, loved-up atmosphere continue?
In reading Luisa Plaja’s Kiss, Date, Love, Hate I had one continuous thought, “This book was not meant for adults,” and that is perfectly fine, but I think my opinion of it was definitely hindered by my advanced age. So, while I was not very fond of this story I do think that the seventeen -year old drama queens in my classes will love it because it is a story they can relate to.
When Lex Murphy’s best friend George asks her to play a new video game called “Pygmalion’s” she has no idea the impact it will have on her life. As Lex and George set about creating avatars for themselves and each of their friends they have fun making everyone just a bit better looking than they are in real life. When they arrive at a special film class the next day Lex and George realize that the changes they made in the game have come true in real life. Now the fun really begins as Lex uses the game to wreak havoc on everyone’s love life, and discovers that what she thinks she wants may not be at all what she needs.
There were a few things about this book that just didn’t work for me. The first problem was Lex. No matter how hard I tried I could not make myself like her. I found her to have absolutely no redeeming qualities. She was self-centered and shallow and the more I read the worse she got. The rest of the characters really weren’t all that much better. I could have cared less what happened to them or who ended up with whom.
Another issue I had was the way the book was formatted. It was told in four parts: Kiss, Date, Love, and Hate. Each part was at least 50 – 100 pages each with no chapter breaks throughout. It became difficult to track when the scenes changed time or where the characters were. Also, there were no natural places to stop reading because everything was clumped together.
With all of that said I do think that the intended audience for this book, teen girls, will enjoy it. They will probably see a bit of themselves in Lex and sympathize with her problem of which boy to choose. The idea of being able to manipulate everyone around you to get what you want, while giving yourself bigger boobs and better hair is definitely enticing. In fact, there is already a waiting list in my classroom for my copy and I anticipate having to order at least one more.