The thing about The Dating Game by Kiley Roache that really gets to me is that I wasn’t ever actually impressed with the novel in any real way. There were things about it that I liked and things that I didn’t like, but nothing ever made me feel any strong emotions barring a rather disgusting display of misogyny about three fourths of the way through the novel—and wonderfully, this was addressed and called out, so points to the author for that one. But ultimately The Dating Game was one of those forgettable novels that you didn’t mind reading but definitely wouldn’t read again.
Now, as far as the three main characters go, I really liked them. I enjoyed their personalities, the way they meshed together, and the progression of the story centered around their experiences with this class project turned profitable app. A mildly unfortunate piece lies in the fact that certain aspects of the app are not exactly believable, but as this is not my area of expertise and sometimes a suspension of belief in fiction is necessary for a story, I found this aspect forgivable.
What I didn’t care for, however, was the unbelivability of their Professor, the all but ignored minor characters, and the return to that ridiculous trope where someone completely random and honestly unrealistic gets involved with telling a character to “tell [insert person of listener’s affection] if you care about [him/her].” This is frankly one of the most annoying things I’ve seen authors do and I’m truly sick of seeing it in books I read. Fortunately, The Dating Game was not one of the worst offenders, only including the stupid push for a ship once throughout the course of the book—though I’ll be honest, it was one time too many for me.
I had an exceedingly difficult time rating this book, largely because a part of me feels like certain aspects of it—namely Sara’s growth, Robbie’s family situation, and the way Braden’s character was handled—were ones I deeply appreciated. I think the book could have included Robbie’s situation a little more, but at the same time I was pleased with the fact that it wasn’t used as a plot device, but rather as something that a real person could be going through. Braden was believable and actually quite incredible in how much he made me feel, both good and bad.
But the rest of the book was somewhat dull and never really held up to anything substantial. The app itself didn’t make sense, though I suppose if this were a world pre-Tinder then maybe I could buy in? And overall, I just don’t personally consider it a great read. It wasn’t bad by any means, but it falls into a sort of mediocre with some good moments category. And so maybe it’s not quite a three, but it’s definitely not my definition of a four.
And since I don’t ever give half-foxes, I suppose this one’s just gonna have to be a three.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.