Title: A Date with Darcy
Series Details: Book Boyfriends #1
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Imprint: Amulet Paperbacks
Release Date: May 01, 2018
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Blurb from Goodreads:
In this contemporary YA, a teenager’s favorite literary heroes woo her in real life
The first of two books in an intended paperback original series about a girl whose classic literary crushes manifest in real life. Merrilee Campbell, 16, thinks boys are better in books, chivalry is dead, and there’d be nothing more romantic than having just one guy woo her like the heroes in classic stories. She’s about to get the chance to test these daydreams when she, her best friend, Eliza, and her younger sister, Rory, transfer into Reginald R. Hero High, where all their fantasies come true—often with surprising consequences.
Yawn. This is definitely one of those times when I hate being that girl who won’t DNF a book, because to me, leaving a story unfinished feels like pulling the machine’s plug before it’s done with the laundry. Or like cleaning your room and leaving it halfway through. I know. I’m a bit weird that way. That’s why I’m a little choosy with what I pick up, but sometimes what you thought was cute and unique from the blurb could turn out to be too cliché for your taste. This was one of those books.
“First impressions often don’t tell the whole story.”
The problem with this book is that it took too long before the focus is finally on Merrilee and her true love interest. Half of it sits with the Romeo and Juliet stuff, which wasn’t the main story, and definitely not what I signed up for. I’m here for Mr. Darcy, not Romeo. The second half of the book is where the true romance takes place. It was cute and kinda fun. Unfortunately, I was already too bored to care at this point. Sadly, the cute romance and the sweetness of it all wasn’t enough to pull me back into the story.
Merrilee is a book lover. At first, I find her bookishness relatable. She loves books and she loves the characters in it. That’s me right there. She thinks book boyfriends are way better than boys in real life. That’s me too, back when I was around Merrilee’s age. She often pictures herself as a character from a novel who is yet to find her one true love, and that’s fine. When she started comparing every guy she meets to a fictional character, that’s where it starts to get a little annoying. When she jumped into a relationship with the first guy she’s alone with just because he’s very much like the broody and mysterious characters she loved from her books, things starts to feel a little too childish for me. I knew this is YA, and YA contemporaries are filled with young characters who are often naïve about things like love. Merrilee felt even younger than that though.
Most teens fall in love within minutes in most YA contemporaries that I’ve read. I’m not a stranger to instaloves. I even loved some of it. I don’t care if the characters fall in love five minutes after they meet as long as I feel the chemistry and the connection between them as the story moves forward. But, oh mother of all instaloves, Merrilee fell in love before I could blink. And she had already kissed the guy before I could blink twice. It could be hard to get through if instalove is a deal breaker for you. The worst part is, I wasn’t feeling any of it. I never thought a kissing scene could be so colorless and dull, but Merrilee’s first kiss certainly is. Things did—kiss included—get better later on when Merrilee finally had proper interactions with Fielding. I swear I would have loved this a lot more if things between them took off sooner. But their story started a little too late in the book. And while I could definitely see the chemistry and the spark between them, it just couldn’t wash off the boredom I felt from the book’s bad start.
There was some kind of magic going on in the story, but it felt forced to me. It played a part, but there was never really any explanation about it. How is it happening? Does the magic come from Ms. Gregoire’s books? Or is Ms. Gregoire simply the goddess of match-making? It would’ve been nice to know more about the magic instead of just going along with it.
I may have had a hard time with A Date with Darcy—the main character was too dreamy, and the story was a little shallow. But there’s more to this book than just the romance. It shows an admirable familial relationship, sisterhood, and friendship. This could be a swoon-worthy read for a much younger audience. And kinda sets a good example too. Personally, I think this is actually a fun way of introducing classic stories to younger generations.