Saturday, 20 September 2014

THE DATING GAME

THE DATING GAME by Jay Northcote
 
Pages: 103
Date: 20/09/2014
Grade: 4.5
Details: Copy received from author
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

Five sex-free dates—how hard can it be? 

“When they were at uni, Owen always had a bit of a crush on Nathan. But Nathan was apparently straight, and Owen was too busy with other guys to take his crush seriously. 

When Nathan moves back to Bristol after a year away, Owen hears that Nathan has come out of the closet, and he propositions him. Nathan doesn’t want to be just another notch on Owen’s bedpost, though, so he challenges Owen to prove he can be serious: five dates before they have sex. 

Owen doesn’t think that sounds too difficult. He’s expecting Nathan to find his charms irresistible anyway. But as they grow closer, Owen begins to care more about proving himself to Nathan than he does about getting him into bed.”

My thoughts:

You know those books you read with a goofy grin on your face because you really like the characters and the way they are together; stories that pull you right in and almost convince you that you know the characters, or people closely resembling them? Have you ever thought how wonderful it would be if you were able to take the characters you’ve met in a story, out for pint and just enjoy their company? If you haven’t you’ve missed out on a wonderful experience. If you have you know exactly how amazing that is. Whether you have or haven’t, you need to read ‘The Dating Game’ because that’s the sort of story this is.

I liked both Nathan and Owen from the moment I met them. Owen was straightforward and brutally honest from the very first moment. All he initially wants is to get Nathan into his bed, and he has no problem admitting as much. It is the combination of his lack of guile and his cheeky charm that make instantly attractive as a character.

At first Nathan seems far more reserved and serious. He has no intention of being a quick hook-up and convenient one-night-stand, and makes that perfectly clear. The fact that he doesn’t just send Owen packing when Owen suggests they spend the night together, but instead sets him a challenge made him fascinating.

The way Owen and Nathan’s feelings, ideas and needs change as the story, and their sex-free dates progress was subtle and a pure joy to witness. Much to his own surprise Owen discovers an appreciation for simple dates during his second Saturday out with Nathan. Nathan, on the other hand, starts to think his no sex for five dates plan, has to be one of his more stupid ideas.

As the weeks go by and they go on more dates the sexual tension between Owen and Nathan increases until it nearly drives them, as well as the reader, crazy. I’m not going to tell you if they actually have five dates anymore than I’m going to tell you whether or not they manage to stick to the rules they’ve set themselves. It is way too much fun to find out for yourself, and I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.

Suffice to say this is a fun, almost but not quite angst free, story. The writing is as good and smooth as I’ve come to expect from Jay Northcote and the dialogue rings true and sparkles. I think I may have found my go-to author for comfort reads.

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