The Dating Debate tells the story of Nina and West. Nina unapologetically loves books, embraces her hippy side, hates all of the holidays and speaks her mind. West is the hottie next door who keeps to himself a lot due to his mother’s illness, and, like Nina, always has his nose in a book. After West saves Nina from an awful date by saying they’re going to the Valentine’s Day dance together, Nina insists that they have to stick to the story they created. What starts as a relationship of convenience ends as a relationship between two people who needed love in their lives and found it with each other
I felt like Cannon’s eighth novel lacked steady pacing. On the one hand, I felt like nothing plot-wise really happened with this relationship until more than halfway through the book. It made for a slow read that had to really work to keep my attention. But on the other hand, this meant that the second half of the book felt a little rushed.
I also felt like the characters needed to be fleshed out a little more. Nina is supposed to be a hippy, book-loving nerd. But there was never an instance that showed any real “hippy” behavior and the only book she ever mentions is Harry Potter. West is supposed to be this hottie who just happens to live next door, and while he is exactly that, he’s never referred to as quiet or as an introvert, which is the main words I would use to describe him. These characters ended up coming off two-dimensional and not well-rounded and relatable.
I did, however, really appreciate the mental health discussion that Cannon included as part of West’s family background. I didn’t realize that West’s carefully constructed secret was going to become such a heavy topic. While the discussion wasn’t perfect, it added a missing piece to a larger conversation that is non-existent in a lot of YA literature.
I would recommend this book to people who like YA novels, but not as one you immediately have to go out and buy for a fear of missing out.
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.