A book review for parents
This fourth teen relationships book in the "Real TV" series by Wendy Lawton is published by Moody Publishers.
Dating Do-Over is written for kids 13 years and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
High school senior Bailey wants to go to prom with Trevor, who has begun attending her youth group. To look more attractive, she takes off her glasses and ends up spilling her lunch tray on him. When she pretends to love sports, she calls out a football term in the middle of his baseball game. Jenn's brother Luke is nice to Bailey and works for the reality show "Dating Do-Over." During Jenn and Bailey's tour of the set, a contestant drops out of the show, and the producers decide Bailey's prom date woes will make good entertainment. Trevor turns down Bailey's request for a prom date during the show's filming. Luke steps in as her date. Later, they learn Trevor's sister's illness requires expensive treatment the family can't afford and it's during prom weekend, which is why Trevor rejected Bailey. The TV show has Bailey and Luke visit Trevor — who has recently turned his life over to Christ. The show ends up doubling as a fundraiser for Trevor's sister's treatment.
Bailey's family is Christian, and they attend church, as do Jenn, Luke and their family. Bailey prays silently, and the family prays before breakfast. The friends attend youth group and pray together. Trevor isn't a Christian in the beginning of the book but eventually accepts Christ. Characters talk about dating fellow Christians to avoid falling in love with someone not of their faith.
Bailey grows in understanding that a prom date isn't as important as Trevor's sister getting treatment. She also realizes Luke's kindness and friendship are a better basis for a relationship than admiring someone, such as Trevor, from a distance.
Bailey's parents gently guide her toward thinking about Luke as a viable prom date, since their families attend church together. Pastor John gives a talk at youth group about prom dates and recommends starting with prayer and having fun with friends instead of focusing on an individual to date.
Other Belief Systems
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Jenn gives ideas to Bailey about how to change her appearance and personality to be more attractive to boys.
How did not wearing glasses and faking her baseball knowledge turn out for Bailey?
Why should people not pretend to be somebody they're not?
What does the Bible say about this?
- A significant theme in the book is how Christians should view dating. Luke and Pastor John think dating should never be recreational. Dating should only happen when two people have examined themselves and each other to determine readiness for a relationship — a union that should be viewed as a precursor to marriage.
What does the Bible say about marriage, and how do you think that applies to dating?
In what ways do you think today's dating trends align with these ideas?
- Bailey and Jenn talk about how having a prom date is a test of a girl's social success.
How do kids at your school view prom dates?
- When Bailey says she is a bad prom date, Jenn tells her to stop. Jenn says words have power, and there's a connection between self-criticism and poor performance.
How much influence do you think words have?
What does the Bible say about the power of words?
Tell about a time you used your words to discredit yourself or someone else.
What would have been a better way to handle the situation?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.