Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Book Review: The Dating Game

By Sara Steven

Once upon a time, twelve women joined the hottest reality TV show looking for love. Except one had a secret identity . . .

Abby Jones is a serious writer. Or at least she will be, one day. Right now, she spends her time writing recaps of reality television under a secret identity.

When a recap for The Stag – the must-watch dating show – goes viral, her editor thinks she should be on set, writing the drama as it happens. The good news: the next season will be filmed in Sydney. Sun, sea and a glamorous trip abroad, this could be Abby’s big break.

The bad news: the producers don’t just want Abby to write the recaps, they want her to be on the show. Abby can’t think of anything worse than being undercover and followed around by cameras. But her career depends on it, and when she meets gorgeous producer Jack, Abby begins to wonder if this job might not be so bad after all . . . (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

The Dating Game transported me back to my Bachelor days--I think the last time I tuned in was the season where a woman named Courtney regaled everyone with her villainous skills when she would declare she was “winning” every chance she got. The thing is, what I saw was what I got. I wasn’t given a backstage pass to what really went on behind a reality show meant to showcase people in love, and Abby’s experiences did that for me. From breaking down the women who are on The Stag--potential brides, villains, dark horses, miscellaneous and fillers, to the actual stag himself, I felt like I got a much better view into reality tv shows and the many imaginary strings that are pulled, all for the likes of the audience who are watching.

Placing Abby into the thick of things was an excellent way to ignite trouble. Tasked with pretending to be one of the contestants so she can write real-time commentary on what really goes down on the show, she immediately feels as though she’s stuck in a corner, particularly when she meets Jack. Her role on the show is to fall for the stag, but she feels as though she’s falling for Jack, and that could lead to losing her job, along with all credibility as a serious writer. All of it can jeopardize Jack, too, so it’s an even bigger lose-lose situation. 

Many of the scenes made me laugh or cringe inwardly. There were times where the women, or Does as they’re referenced, are having honest moments, then producers interfere and ask the women to repeat a scene, walk back into a venue, show a little more interest, tone down the interest, etc. And I know that’s most definitely a true take on what really happens with reality television! What we see is often manufactured to look a certain way, and it was interesting to witness Abby’s reaction to that. 

What I loved most about The Dating Game were The Does. Abby is trying to navigate The Stag, Jack, and how to be true to herself, but her budding relationships with the other women were a must-read. From tender friendships to cackling fights, I didn’t know what I would get from one page to the next. Was Courtney really a villain on her season of The Bachelor? Or was that the way we were meant to take her in? I am sure I’ll never really know the answer to that one, but I know Sandy Barker’s take on reality TV made me wonder, creating characters who show both sides of the coin, pretty or not. This was a definite five-star experience!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK * Apple Books * Google Play * Nook * Kobo

Sandy Barker is a writer, traveler and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob. 

She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while traveling in Greece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novel One Summer in Santorini, the first in the Holiday Romance series with One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins. 

Visit Sandy online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Visit all the stops on the blog tour:

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us

1 comment:

Sloopie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.