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The Practice Date - A Novelette (Young Adult Romance)

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    The Practice Date is good practice... for a longer Lieske novel

    After a foray into science fiction, New York Times bestselling author Victorine E. Lieske returns, in part, to familiar territory. The Practice Date is a roughly 11,000-word novelette that is a romance (like Not What She Seems) and is young adult (like The Overtaking) but is neither a suspense story nor a science fiction tale.

    Think of it as a short John Hughes film, in print form. Like the Reader's Digest annotated version of Pretty In Pink. Or, for you readers who grew up in the '90s, maybe more like She's All That. Or maybe, considering the premise, more like Some Kind of Wonderful, with the focus on Mary Stuart Masterson instead of Lea Thompson.

    You get the idea. It's a high school age rom-com. Most people who've liked Lieske's other books will like that.

    The Practice Date places it's focus on the plainly-named Jane, who is troubled that her one-time best friend, Lance, has abandoned her to hang out with the high school in-crowd.

    At such a brief length, Lieske's lean, taut prose paints a nice portrait of Jane and Lance, and keeps her supporting cast small. Unfortunately, those who do appear in support are not as well-developed as they might be.

    Like all novelettes, the short form enforces a precision of focus upon the narrative, which is why the supporting cast feels a bit underdeveloped. Fortunately, this focus also allows both Jane and Lance to shine as the stars of the brief tale.

    The characters inhabit a seemingly-nameless Middle American town that, fortunately, is not lacking in some personality; after reading about Jane and Lance's outing to Stuff-It Burger, I immediately wished there were such a franchise and that one existed near enough to visit.

    Taking the tale for what it is ... a very short novel with a tightly-focused tale ... The Practice Date is a lot of fun for as long as it lasts. The book will certainly leave the reader wanting more, and for that, there is Not What She Seems and The Overtaking. The Practice Date serves as a pleasant appetizer for both of Lieske's other works, but isn't enough to constitute a full meal on it's own.

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