Book Review

Book Review : Kiss Date Love Hate by Luisa Plaja.

Lex Murphy and her friends have complicated relationships. If only there was a way to avoid all the dating/hating drama…

When Lex fills a cool new computer game with characters based on herself and her classmates, she makes some ‘wishful thinking’ adjustments to the profiles. Finally, everyone can be perfectly matched and happy, at least on screen. Love, Life, Looks – it’s all under Lex’s in a harmless game,

After all, these changes can’t come true… can they?

From the moment I saw the cover to this book I knew I had to read it as soon as I could, whilst I’m not remotely a pink person the little computer characters and generally pixelated look of it really appealed to my inner geek. Then there was the synopsis, the idea that Lex could influence real life via a computer game, an intriguing concept. I thought I had a bit of an inkling of what to expect from this book, my expectations were met and exceeded my far.

I loved the plot of this book, Lex is made to go on a film-making course over half term – she sees it as a punishment but her headteacher sees it as an opportunity for her to reach her full potential. Along with her on the course are her friends, and her ex-boyfriend and Lex’s former best friend who masterminded the break up. Lex’s friend George shows her a computer game Life, Love, Looks that his dad is testing, they build characters for everyone on the course and then Lex starts to have fun making alterations to them so that the digital versions match up better with her ideal situation.

This wouldn’t be a great contemporary story if there wasn’t some brilliant romantic tension, and this book certainly ticks that box. Lex is still lusting after Matt, her ex-boyfriend, but is increasingly aware of her fellow always in trouble student Drew. He seems to have ideas about Lex, but she’s too hung up on Matt to really consider him… well maybe. Whilst Lex is trying to work out her feelings, her next door neighbour and close friend George is trying his hardest to get Jess to notice him despite her opinion that high school boys are all far too immature.

The characters within this book are brilliant, I found myself comparing them to some of the people I was at school with. These characters are all so real, the way they talk to one another and relate to one another really rings true. I loved the way that so many of the characters had hidden depths, it was a real pleasure getting to know them all better. Lex is a great leading lady, whilst at times I found her view of things difficult to agree with felt I could understand her really well. I loved Drew too, he’s the kind of male character I know the teen me would love because the grown up me still does!

It’s really hard to explain why I loved this book so much without spoiling the reading experience. I was really enjoying it and then reached a point where for me it went from being a great book to being an absolutely brilliant one. When I finished it I marvelled at the cleverness of the book, and how it evolved over the course of just under 300 pages. It’s a week now since I finished it, and my thoughts still keep returning to it.

I think this book will be a really valuable read for all teenagers, it’s prompted me to start a list of books that my future library must own. I know I’m going to be recommending it to anyone who’ll listen.

Kiss Date Love Hate is published in paperback and eBook by Corgi in the UK from 2nd February 2012. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.

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