Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: January 10th, 2012
Addy Davidson discovers God's unexpected plans for her life when a reality TV show turns her quiet existence on its head.
The orphaned daughter of missionaries, Addy is quite content to stay in the shadows and never draw attention to herself. But when she's selected for a reality TV show to try to become the President son's prom date-a show she didn't audition for-she's suddenly in America's spotlight.
The lights, the make-up, the competitions, and the blogs discussing every move she makes all make Addy incredibly uncomfortable. But through her time at The Mansion, Addy comes to realize that first impressions aren't always right, that hiding out may not be what God had planned for her life, and that her faith should affect everything she does. It may just be that her selection wasn't random at all and that she's on this show "for such a time as this."
(Courtesy of Goodreads)
I was really surprised with how much I enjoyed this book! Honestly, I haven't had a tremendous amount of luck with Christian YA; most of what I've read has been rather bland, but I liked the synopsis of this one. It looked like something that my daughter, a 5th grader, would really like and I thought it might have great potential for her school's (a Christian school) Jr. High/Sr. High summer reading list. I was right on both fronts. What I didn't expect was that I would enjoy it so much!
The protagonist, Addy, was great. She was a nice girl who had a strong moral compass. Usually I find characters like Addy very unbelievable. I mean, do you know any attractive 17 year old girls who have never been on a date, been kissed, had a drink, or done anything wrong ever? How about a "normal" 17 year old who prefers to spend her time reading and spending time with her family? Addy is all of these things, and still, I find her to be the real deal, and it is so refreshing! The premise of this book worked so well too. I could totally see this type of reality show happening if the President had a HS age son. It would be a huge hit; probably the biggest ratings grabber of any reality show ever. I loved that the host, Hank, was a total power-hungry, money-grubbing douche behind the scenes, while being the mega-watt smiling host on camera (I sincerely hope Ryan Seacrest is not like that because I like him too much!), and I loved that most of the other contestants were stereotypical head-cheerleader, pageant types, who gave Addy a hard time, assuming that her goodness was a strategy, instead of who she really was. Sure, the story was predictable, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ride anyway, and I have to say, that I really loved the positive message about faith that it put forth. Addy wasn't perfect in her Christian walk, but she knew where her faith was, and that always helped her to make the best choices she was capable of making.
This book won't be for everyone. Some people will be turned off the heavily Christian themes, but please don't be deterred because of that. This story is far from preachy or boring, and I think that most YA Contemporary readers, regardless of their faith, will enjoy this book. As for Christian readers, a definite must read for tween and teen girls. I will be gushily (not sure if that's a word...) recommending this to the Jr./Sr. High Curriculum Coordinator at out school for this year's summer reading list because Christian YA doesn't get much better!
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Grade Level Recommendation: Squeaky clean. Appropriate, content-wise, for any age/grade level. That said, most younger girls are still not into romantic reads because boys are still gross, so I would say 5th grade and up for that reason (ages 10+).