Nina Barnes thinks Valentine’s Day should be optional. That way single people like her wouldn’t be subjected to kissy Cupids all over the place. That is, until her mom moves them next door to the brooding hottie of Greenbrier High, West Smith. He’s funny, looks amazing in a black leather jacket, and he’s fluent in Harry Potter, but she’s not sure he’s boyfriend material.
West isn’t sure what to make of Nina. She’s cute and loves to read as much as he does, but she seems to need to debate everything and she has a pathological insistence on telling the truth. And West doesn’t exactly know how to handle that, since his entire life is a carefully constructed secret. Dating the girl next door could be a ton of fun, but only if Nina never finds out the truth about his home life. It’s one secret that could bring them together or rip them apart.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book is not for anyone who has to get in the last word, but it is for all book nerds, especially those who live next door to so called unapproachable gorgeous guys. There’s no debating the chemistry.
Each book in the Dating Dilemmas series is STANDALONE:
* The Dating Debate
* 99% Faking It
About the Author
Chris Cannon is the award-winning author of the Going Down In Flames series and the Boyfriend Chronicles. She lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and several furry beasts.
She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures or romantic comedies. You can find her online at www.chriscannonauthor.com. Subscribe to her newsletter at http://www.chriscannonauthor.com/connect/ to be notified about new releases.
Read an Excerpt
Valentine's Day should be optional. Like, if you don't have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, the holiday should disappear. That way, single people like me wouldn't be subjected to frilly hearts and cherubs all over the place. Who came up with the idea that a baby in a diaper with a bow and arrow was romantic, anyway? It's ridiculous. The whole stupid holiday was probably a marketing ploy thought up by florists, so they could sell overpriced flowers to desperate guys who were hoping to get laid.
Maybe, if I'd ever had a boyfriend on Valentine's Day, I would feel differently. I'm sure I'm not the only seventeen-year-old girl whose favorite part of the holiday is all the chocolate that goes on sale the day after.
Which made the fact that I was balanced precariously on a ladder, trying to hang a banner for the Valentine's Dance a little ironic. "How's it look?" I shouted down to the other people who'd been drafted and put to work on the decorating committee.
"A little higher," Lisa called out.
"Define a little." I turned back to see my friend tilting her head to the right.
"Go up two inches," she said.
I shoved the sign up a little bit higher and then pushed a thumbtack into the wall.
"We're supposed to use tape," she said.
I climbed down the ladder, pretending I hadn't heard her.
"Nina, we're going to get into trouble if we use thumbtacks."
I sighed and turned to face her. "Unless you can magically pull tape out of your" — wait, we were still at school — "ear, then we're going with thumbtacks because that's all I could find."
She glanced around and then pointed to a group of girls across the gym who were working on a giant heart made of hot pink tissue paper, red ribbon, and chicken wire. "They probably have tape."
No way was I going to talk to the fashionistas. "If you want to go ask them, feel free."
"Nope." She pointed at our sign, hanging above the trophy case in the gym, which declared Cupid Is Coming. "Is it me, or does that sound like some sort of horror movie?"
I grinned. "You're not wrong. If we didn't need extra credit for home economics, I wouldn't be doing this."
"You're the one who burned our chicken pot pie in Foods class," she reminded me.
"The reason I'm in Foods class is because I don't know how to cook. Therefore, I shouldn't be penalized when the food is screwed up."
"That's your logic?" she asked.
"Yes, and I'm sticking to it." I checked the time on my cell. It was quarter after three. School had officially been over for fifteen minutes. "We've done our part. Let's get out of here."
It was Friday night, but before I could go out I had one chore to do. It was the same chore I did every day — sweep up the dog fur dust bunnies in the living room. Not that I minded, because dogs were far more agreeable than most of the people I knew. And a heck of a lot more faithful than most guys.
I was almost done when my brother, Jason, who was a year younger than me, came downstairs and dropped a bomb on my social life. I gripped the broom like a bat, and contemplated taking a swing at his head. "How could you do this to me?"
"What? I thought you wanted to go to the Valentine's Day Dance. It's all you've griped about for a week."
How could he be so stupid? There were days when I'd swear one of us was adopted. "Wrong. I griped about the stupidity of the holiday because it makes single people feel defective."
He scratched his head, looking genuinely confused. "Which is why I thought you'd be happier if you had a date."
The idiot's heart was in the right place ... but still. "I never asked you to play matchmaker."
"Cole is a nice guy. He's willing to take you to the dance. What's the problem?"
"You turned me into a charity case. That's the problem."
He shook his head. "If you don't want to go to the dance, just say no when he asks. It's that simple."
But it wasn't that simple, not by a long shot, because Cole was a rare breed of guy — decent. Unfortunately, he fell firmly into the friend- zone category. Why? One day when I'd been sitting at the park reading Harry Potter, just blissing out in the sunshine, he sat down beside me and said he didn't understand why I'd want to read on such a nice day and that he just didn't get the big deal about Harry Potter. That was it. The die was cast. I couldn't date someone who didn't read, much less someone who didn't understand the fabulousness that was Harry Potter.
"If you see him again before I do, tell him I don't want to go to the dance."
"Nope. If you want to turn the guy down, that's on you." And then my brother walked away from me.
Now what? I checked the time. Lisa was picking me up in an hour for our Friday night Nerd Girl festivities. We go to the bookstore, ooh and ah over all the books, and then pick out a precious few to buy. Afterward, we drink frothy coffee concoctions in the cafe while we discuss how book boyfriends are so much easier to deal with than guys in real life.
I put the broom and dustpan away in the kitchen pantry. Gidget lay by her dog dish looking mildly offended. I squatted down to pet her head. "I have no idea how you're not bald." She rolled over so I could rub her tummy. Blonde fur drifted through the air and hung there, defying gravity. "It's a good thing we love you."
Gidget couldn't help the fact that she shed like a fiend. The vet said she was a yellow Lab, which for some reason meant she shed more than any other breed on the planet. She was also the sweetest dog you'd ever meet. She loved everyone. If a burglar ever broke into our house, all he'd have to do was rub her tummy and she'd happily watch him run off with all our belongings.
A knock sounded on the front door. Gidget trotted over to the front picture window and used her long nose to burrow behind the curtains so she could see who it was. The barking that followed let me know exactly who stood on my front porch. There was only one person Gidget didn't like: West Smith, the disagreeable hottie who lived next door. He wasn't as cranky as his father, who happened to be our landlord, but he wasn't the friendly type either.
I opened the door. West stood on my front porch in jeans and a black leather coat, looking all sorts of hot and brooding. His artfully messy dark- blond hair hung down, partially obscuring his blue eyes, which would have been gorgeous except they were narrowed like he was irritated, which seemed to be his normal state.
Going for a casual demeanor, I leaned against the doorframe. "Hey, West. What's up?"
Gidget continued barking. He glared in her direction. "What did I ever do to your stupid dog?"
I crossed my arms over my chest. "Calling her stupid isn't going to win you any points."
"Well, blocking my driveway isn't going to win you any points. If you don't move your Jeep before my dad gets home, he'll probably have it towed."
"First off, we pay rent, so it's our driveway, too. And I'm not blocking your side." I may have parked right up against the bright yellow line that West's dad had made him paint down the middle of the shared cement strip, but I wasn't over it.
West glared at me. "Work with me here, Nina. My dad is driving the Humvee today. If you don't move your Jeep, he'll probably take off your driver's-side mirror and not even notice."
Wrong. His dad would probably take off my mirror on purpose. He was that special kind of jerk. "People with shared driveways should drive smaller cars."
"Feel free to explain that fact to my dad the next time you see him. For now, move your Jeep."
At that moment, my mom pulled into the driveway and parked her car, hugging the line the same way I had. The apple obviously didn't fall far from the tree. She climbed out of the car balancing a bunch of take-out boxes stacked up to her chin. I started across the lawn, but West was faster.
"Let me help you with those." He grabbed several boxes off the top of the stack.
"Thank you, West." My mom beamed at him. She seemed to be under the delusion that he was a nice young man. "China Garden had a special on shrimp fried rice. You're welcome to join us."
I could see the expression on West's face. It looked like he was trying not to roll his eyes. I decided to mess with him. "You should stay for dinner. We can discuss my plan to erase the driveway line one night and move it over about six inches."
West walked past me toward the house. "I think my father would notice that." He stopped on the front step like he wasn't sure if he was invited inside.
"You can put those in the kitchen," I said.
He went into the house and veered right, toward the table, where he deposited the containers of rice. My mother followed behind him. Gidget kept her eye on West, circling the room to stand protectively between him and my mom.
"Gidget." My mom set the rest of the food down, and then patted her on the head. "It's okay."
"There's something wrong with your dog," West said.
"She feels the same way about you," I shot back.
"On that note, I'm leaving."
The sound of a car pulling into the driveway had all of us turning to look out the kitchen window. Unless West's dad had traded in his giant gas- guzzling SUV for a red Prius, someone else had just pulled up the drive to West's house.
"Should you go see who that is?" I asked.
The way his eyebrows scrunched together told me he knew who it was, and he wasn't happy about it.
What is Vicky doing here? I walked over and peered out the living room window. She sat in her car, looking at her phone. My cell beeped, which meant she'd texted me. Great.
Your car is here. I know you're home. Come talk to me.
"It's Vicky, isn't it?" Nina grinned like she knew a big secret. "Why are you hiding from your girlfriend?"
"Ex-girlfriend," I said.
"It's been a few weeks." Not like I was going to share the details of my dating life with her.
"I bet she's having Valentine's Day Dance remorse."
"What does that mean?"
"She probably wants to go to the dance, and getting back together with you would be way easier than finding a new guy to take her." Nina chuckled like the situation was hilarious.
"Not funny." Vicky had seen my car. What could I do? "I'm texting that I'm having dinner with my neighbors."
All three of us watched as Vicky looked to the right at Nina's house and then to the left at the empty lot that separated my house from the neighbors on the other side.
"What's everyone watching?" Jason, Nina's brother, asked as he came into the room. Our paths had crossed at school a few times. He was a decent guy.
"Hello," I said. "My ex, Vicky, stopped by. I think she's coming over here. You should ask her to the Valentine's Dance."
"No thanks. I like my life drama free." He walked over to the table, filled a plate with fried rice, and leaned back against the counter. "I'll just stay and watch the show."
Apparently, everyone in this house was a smart-ass.
Vicky approached the front door and knocked.
"Let's all play nice," Nina's mom said as she walked over to open the door. "Hello, can I help you?"
"Is West here? Can I speak to him?"
"Sure. We were just sitting down to dinner." Her mom stepped back so Vicky could see me. "Would you like to join us for some fried rice?"
What in the hell was her mother trying to do?
"No, thanks." Vicky gave a polite smile. "Sorry to barge in during dinner. West, can we talk?"
There was no easy way out of this, but I had no intention of entertaining Nina's family with my life any more than I already had. "Sure. Let's go sit on my back patio where we'll have some privacy." It was barely fifty degrees outside, so that should help keep the conversation short.
We went out the front door and around the side of the house. I opened the gate into the backyard and headed over to sit at the umbrella table. Since I didn't know why she was here, I waited for her to start talking.
"I know we broke up, but my mom bought a Valentine's dress for me, and she expects me to wear it to the dance, whether I have a date or not." Vicky ducked her head. "Going without a date would be awkward. Not like this conversation isn't, but I was hoping we could go as friends?" She glanced up with a hopeful look on her face.
Before I could answer, another car pulled up the driveway. "It's like Grand Central Station around here tonight."
"Is that Cole Harris?" Vicky asked. "What's he doing here?"
He headed toward Nina's front door.
"And why is Nina creeping out her back door like some sort of spy?" Vicky asked.
Nina ducked low, like she didn't want anyone inside to see her through the back window, and then ran over to join us. "I'm going to hide over here for a while, if you two don't mind."
"Why are you hiding from Cole?" I asked.
"My brother told him to ask me on a date."
"You don't want to go out with him?" Vicky said. "Why? What's wrong with him?"
"Nothing. He's a great guy, but he's never read Harry Potter." Nina stated this like it was a crime against humanity.
I tilted my head and studied her.
"What?" she asked.
"I'm trying to figure out if you're Ginny or Hermione."
"I'm pretty sure you're Draco," she replied.
"There you are," Jason called from across the backyard with Cole by his side.
"I am going to suffocate my brother in his sleep," Nina said as she smiled and waved.
"I'm not joking," she said. Cole and her brother crossed the backyard to join us. "Hey, Cole. I didn't know you were here."
"I stopped by because I wanted to ask you something." The poor guy looked at the small crowd of people and seemed to reconsider his mission. "Nina, can we talk over at your house, maybe?"
"Actually, there was something I wanted to ask you." Nina pointed at Vicky. "Do you know Vicky? She and West used to date."
Cole nodded. "Sure. Hello, Vicky."
Vicky smiled. "Hello."
"The Valentine's Dance is coming up," Nina said, "and the last I heard you weren't seeing anyone, so I think you and Vicky should go to the dance together."
Cole tilted his head and looked at Nina like he didn't quite understand the situation. "You want me to ask Vicky to the dance?"
Nina nodded like this was a fabulous idea.
She seemed to enjoy throwing people off-balance. Maybe it was time someone did it to her.
"Since Nina and I are going to the dance, it makes sense that you'd ask Vicky."
"You're going to the dance with West?" Cole said like he didn't quite believe it.
If I wasn't before, I sure as hell was now, if for no other reason than to wipe the smug smile off West's obnoxiously handsome face. "Yes. Yes, I am. He just asked me. Isn't that the funniest thing?"
Cole looked around at all of us like he wasn't sure if we were telling the truth or lying through our teeth. Vicky cleared her throat and smiled at him.
He shrugged. "Okay then. Vicky, do you want to go to the dance?"
"I'd love to," she said. "Why don't we go grab a hot chocolate somewhere so we can talk."
"Sure." He followed her out to their cars.
Jason looked at me and then at West like he was trying to figure something out. After a minute, he shrugged like he didn't understand and didn't really care. "Food's getting cold." He headed back to our house.
"He's right." Plus I was freezing, since I hadn't stopped to grab my coat. "Let's go talk about the dance over fried rice."
"We're not actually going to the dance," West said.
Oh, how wrong he was. "Nope. You said it. You put it out into the universe that we were going to the dance, so we're going."
"Now you sound like Luna Lovegood."
I laughed and ran back over to my house. The fact that West was fluent in Harry Potter made him even more attractive than he'd been before.
He didn't follow immediately, but something told me he would, just to argue his case. I'd been keeping an eye on West since we moved in, spinning fantasies in my head about the hot, brooding son of the landlord falling for the hippy-chick bookworm renting the house next door to him. Not that I thought it would ever happen, but hey, a girl can dream.
Back in the kitchen, I grabbed a carton of fried rice and ate straight from the box.
My mom pointed at the dishes she'd set on the table. "Use a plate."
Jason had ditched the plate he'd used earlier and was eating straight from a box, as he sat on the couch watching television. I'm not sure why I had to use a plate. It wasn't worth arguing about, so I did as she asked. "Surprise plot twist in my life," I told my mom. "West asked me to the Valentine's Dance."
Excerpted from "The Dating Debate"
Copyright © 2018 Chris Cannon.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Thank you Entangled for this ARC. As always, I love Chris Cannon's snarky girl, Nina! What I like, even more, her uptight boys that fall for those snarky girls. Nina loves to debate and only tells the truth (due to her families dramatic history). Side note, Nina is a perfect mix of myself and my husband. I only ever tell the truth, and he wants to debate about everything. West is a loner and keeps to himself, but his neighbor Nina is a little hard to avoid, and he finds her too alluring to resist. They date, they argue (debate), and everyone lives happily ever after.
Nina is a bookish Harry Potter nerd with a crush on the (literal) boy next door, bad-boy West. He, on the other hand, isn’t sure whether to kiss or have her committed. Who questions and debates everything, anyway? And what is with all the hugging? Geeze. But a shared love for Harry Potter isn’t the only thing drawing these two unlikely lovers together. Unbeknownst to them, they both harbor secrets that have shaped their lives and would be devastating to them if anyone found out. Though their relationship begins as a joke, Nina and West soon find themselves asking if love is worth the risk of letting the other one in and possibly divulging their secret to the world. This is such a cute book! Thanks to Chris Cannon, we finally have a YA novel that lacks the overwrought drama populating so many of the genre. It was so refreshing to read a book about two (fairly) normal teenagers just pursuing love and happiness the way teenagers do, in a realistic setting with the issues and stakes that teenagers actually face. I loved the support provided by Nina’s family, which is unusual in YA, where parents are rarely present, often dead, and if they are there usually don’t provide a stable home life. Even those whom you believe to be harsh turn out to be merely human beings who have reasons for their actions and often make mistakes. I can see everything in this book actually happening in real life, and that is part of what makes it so relatable and genuine. Nerdy, bookworm girls everywhere will rejoice that one of our own is the heroine of a novel, and not just any book, one that treats us with respect and dignity and show that brainy IS attractive. And West…he is the kind of bad boy every girl secretly wants, one who is cool, but deep down is really more of an intelligent dork than he would ever let on. (Let’s be honest that though we are attracted to the dangerous veneer, many of us really hope the guy is a prince or that we can “fix” him into one.) The friendships in this book are well drawn, believable, and often funny, and people’s quirks and struggles are treated with respect and hopeful support. If everyone took lessons from the characters in this book, the world would be a much kinder place. Very highly recommended.
*This book was received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The characters were quite well developed, especially West and Nina, with the effective use of multiple point of view's making this possible. The plot itself was also interesting with the book not just focusing on the budding romance but also on what it means to be family and the sacrifices we make for them. I especially appreciated the complexity of West's family situation and how it impacted his life. Overall, this was an interesting read that was not just a romance but also had some depth to it.
Trigger warning for issues surrounding mental health. Me: Hold on. Weren’t you just having an anti-Valentine’s Day rant a few pages ago? Nina: Yeah, but - Me: Yet now you’re planning to go to the Valentine’s Day dance at your school with the boy next door, who is gorgeous and can speak fluent Harry Potter. Nina: Uh-huh, but note that I’m not going with the gorgeous boy who doesn’t get Harry Potter at all. Me: Okay, so I get the book thing but why are all of the guys gorgeous? Nina: Well, I am one of the main characters in a romance novel. Me: Hmm... So, West. Are all the girls in this book good looking as well? West: Well, duh! Nina is cute, obviously. I’ll bet that even spatula makeup girl is a stunner. Romance novel, remember? Me: Gotcha. So, West, you’re named after a direction. Are you a Kardashian offspring by any chance? West: I dunno. Let me go ask my mother. Nina: Whoa! You have a mother? Me: So, Nina, back to the whole Valentine’s Day dance thing. You don’t like Valentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day dances and you don’t want to go, yet you’re going with the gorgeous next door neighbour just to be stubborn. Is that right? Nina: That pretty much sums it up. You want some chocolate? Me: Obviously! Thanks! [grabs the chocolate and starts munching] Why don’t you just stay at home and read a book on Valentine’s Day? That’s what I’ll be doing. Nina: Sounds great, but unfortunately as a main character in a romance novel it’s in my contract that my decisions don’t have to make sense and if I stay at home I can’t all of a sudden fall in love with the gorgeous boy next door, then find something to cry over before we decide we’re meant to be together forever due to our mutual love of Harry Potter. Me: Okaaaay… So, West. Any thoughts? West: I just hope Nina doesn’t find out my secret. Any chance we can change this from a romance novel to another genre so I can keep my personal business private? Me: Nope, but I’d love that because I’m sick of watching you two kiss and argue. West: This is going to end in tears. I just know it. Me: Yeah, me too, but what can you do. Romance novel, after all. Personally I think the two of you need some therapy to sort out your trust, self esteem and shame issues before you seriously consider dating. I hear Lisa’s mother is a good therapist. Hey, what’s the deal with you two juggling issues beyond your years within your respective families, yet you act like 12 year olds when you’re dating? West: You’re asking me? I’m just doing what Chris Cannon tells me to do! You’re the one with a choice here! Why are you reading this book when you’re so anti-romance? Me: Sucked in by Harry Potter, just like you. Chris Cannon found and exploited my weakness - again. [sigh] And she just had to go and include an adorable dog too, didn’t she. West: Tell me about it! I’m still trying to get dog fur out of my clothes. Nina: So, you coming to the bookstore tonight with Lisa and I? Me: Of course! Got any more mini bars of chocolate? So, Chris Cannon, you sucked me in again. If I can enjoy the non-romance parts of your romance novels then I can certainly understand the appeal for readers who actively seek out that genre. I really enjoy the way you write, despite the genre. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Crush, an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC for the opportunity to read this book.
Rating: 4.5/5 This is a contemporary young adult romance but with more depth than such stories usually have as it also involves coping with a mentally ill parent and reactions to feelings of abandonment experienced after parents split up. However, don't let that make you think this won't be a fun read - it certainly is! I found it to be an engaging and entertaining read with well developed characters, humorous interactions and (thankfully) missing the 'popular' peers making life difficult for others. Nina Bates doesn't like Valentine's Day and, being the honest, vocal, without a filter, character that she is means that everyone knows it! She is a bookaholic who finds something to debate about in most conversations. If you don't love Harry Potter then she'll really not want anything to do with you . . . . She lives with her Mum and brother next door to their landlord and his family - which includes another Harry Potter fan and bookaholic, West Smith. They go to the same High School and their interactions are hilarious! This is a contemporary High School story, with plenty of debates, discussions, dilemmas and drama - I thoroughly enjoyed escaping into it. The characters are realistically portrayed, their angst and turmoil related sensitively as the story is told from the dual points of view of the main characters. If. like me, you're a Harry Potter fan, you'll find the Potterisms really add to the story and I totally agree with West that Nina is a Luna type of character. I highly recommend giving this book a read, I'll certainly be looking out for more by this author in future! I requested and received a copy of this book via NetGalley. I chose to read it and this is my honest review after doing so.
Nina is a bookworm, Harry Potter lover, animal enthusiast and an unusual cookie. She is comfortable being herself and wants to date someone like minded. Valentines Day is just around the corner and Nina wishes being single didn't make the holiday so cringeworthy. Her brother has set her up for a potential date, all she needs to do is accept. West has just split with his girlfriend and enjoying the company of his new neighbours, when his ex shows up. She wants to go to the Valentine's Day dance. Luckily for West, he thinks fast on his feet. He manages to get his ex a date, but himself one at the same time. He's hoping he can convince Nina she doesn't want to go with him. Nina doesn't really want to go to the dance but enjoys holding West to his promise. These two easily form a bond and have lots in common. They challenge each other and keep things interesting. Nina is quirky and at first, West thinks she's a little crazy, but soon realises how loveable she is. I really enjoyed this book. It had an original story. Nina was funny and they bonded over family madness. This book had a lot to offer and I would easily recommend it to teen romance readers like myself. "The fact that she just accepted it- accepted me- made my world a brighter place." 4.5 stars out of 5. *I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Harry Potter is my favorite series of all time so any book that showcases characters that can quote the books in any situation and showing love for all things HP loud and proud is a win in my book. Nina and West are next door neighbors who have never really been much of friends but circumstances throw them together more often than not and their friendship grows. West has a lot of secrets and tends to not socialize much with anyone other than his cousins. Nina has baggage of her own that lead her family to being neighbors with the Smith family. I loved how Nina debated everything. She keeps everyone around her on her toes but I also loved that her mom called her out on arguing things that didn't need to be argued. My favorite part of this story was how Nina's and West's 'baggage' was dealt with. For such young people, they are handling heavy stuff but none of it was trivialized or brushed under the rug. This book is sweet and heartwarming and I can't wait to see what's up next in this series. *This is my voluntary review of an advanced reader copy*
4-1/2 stars. Nina, a self-described hippy-chick book nerd, and her newly single mom move in next door to brooding hottie, West. They share a backyard and a driveway, but on the surface, not much else. When an upcoming Valentines Day dance forces Nina to dodge her brother's friend and West to evade his ex-girlfriend, they tell their prospective dates they're going with each other. This launches a tentative friendship that becomes something more. Nina and West both have troubled pasts that interfere with their ability to be completely open with each other. But instead of this turning into one of those, "I wish they would just talk to each other," stories, their secrets and half truths are plausible and heart wrenching. Plot The plotting is well done with just the right amount of drama and angst. Nina and West navigate what it means to be in a romantic relationship while their respective family issues play out around them. Both feel helpless about their situations, which leads them to make choices they may not otherwise make. The Characters I absolutely adored both Nina and West. Nina's constant need to debate everything and her brutal honesty made her lovable instead of annoying. She sees the world in a positive light, a "glass is half full" type. West's need to move far away from home as soon as possible is utterly relatable. Both characters experienced growth through the book, but West, more so, although I would argue he had more to overcome. Their relationship felt so authentically teen, without a lot of unnecessary drama. Top Five Things I Enjoyed About THE DATING DEBATE 1. Playful banter. Rather than the debates causing endless fights, the arguments between West and Nina were more flirtatious than not. 2. Honesty. This concept seems simple enough -- always tell the truth -- and yet it is fairly foreign in most contemporary romances. The heart of most conflict is the inability of the protagonists to tell the truth. But complete honesty brings its own conflicts that was a refreshing change from the usual. 3. West. So wonderfully complex and authentic in his teen boyness. 4. West. What's not to adore about a book-loving hippie chick? 5. Gidget. Nina's overly-shedding lab provided some fantastic moments of comedy. Bottom Line Delightful young adult contemporary romance that reads like a lighthearted comedy, but with more serious elements that keeps it from being fluff. Disclaimer I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This was a super cute read! If you're looking for something light, with a little bit of a deeper meaning, then check this one out! Fans of Kissing Max Holden will enjoy this one! My full review will arrive on my day for the blog tour! moriahsmusings (dot) blog Thank you, Entangled, for a copy!
"The Dating Debate" is a super-cute YA romance that is every booklover's dream! Nina loves reading Harry Potter books, the library, and her pet dog Gidget. She has some trust issues and a dislike of the holidays because her father left them around then. She knows she does not go to the Valentine's Day Dance- even though her brother is trying to set her up with a guy who hasn't read Harry Potter (so he's clearly not dating material). West is the hot guy next door, who is a bit of a recluse mostly because of his mother's illness. His best friends are his cousins who know what is going on with his family and around whom he can be himself. He is talking with Nina when his ex and her want-to-be date show up. Nina pawns off her date on West's ex. West attempts to help by saying he and Nina are going to the dance together. Although Nina hadn't planned to go, she has decided that since West has said so, they will indeed go together. Add to that when Nina sideswipes West's car mirror and she drives him to school while it is repaired, and they begin to see each other in a way they never had before. I absolutely enjoyed every minute spent reading this delightful book! There were a lot of cute details (like I am pretty sure Nina is reading some of the author's YA fantasy series during the book- the shape-shifting dragons reference) and the side characters were really fun- I liked both Nina's and West's friends. I am so excited that this will be a series, and I would love to read more! Cannon's books are always a pleasure to read, and this is no exception! The romance between West and Nina is sweet and really cute- they are both easy to like. Although you can feel the book building to a conflict, and it felt a little forced (they are both really mature and handle everything so well), it was still delightful for the way it all came together. This book is a delight for all booklovers who will easily fall in love with this sweet romance. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
I love Chris Cannon’s books. She never disappoints. And so I fell in love with West this time and I smiled a lot, even laughed out loud. Following Nina’s many debates about everything is really something. And, of course, I got my HEA this time too. If you love light, heartwarming stories with people having real problems and not giving up, this is the book I want o read. And there are a few tips how to have a great Valentine’s Day even if you are not a great fan of the day. So, that is a big plus. OOH, and if you love dogs, you will love Gidget and that’s a plus too. I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing!
*voluntarily and honestly reviewed the ARC I received from Lady Amber's PR* I seriously love this because before the end of the first chapter, I was already laughing out loud and loving the wit and sarcasm. They were articulate, and when you've got a smart aleck and a debater in the same room, you know some things are going to go down... or bloom. This was simple, but it dealt with such hard concepts and topics. I loved how easy it flowed, how easily I found myself investing in the characters. West was grouchy but not TOO grouchy, but it wasn't like he couldn't smile, cause he totally did when Nina was around. It makes his smiles seem more valuable, you know? He just had his reasons for doing what he did, so he was never ridiculous. Nina was just adorable. It's always funny to be a bookworm and read a bookworm's perspective. She was straight-forward, kind, and spoke up for herself. It was easy to relate to both of them and their family issues, and it was just fun to fall for them as they fell for each other. I can't not recommend this, because it still makes me smile when I think about it and it's my favorite 2018 read as of yet.