After surviving her parents’ relationship drama when her older sister elopes, Claire Gardner vows not to date during high school. Now, three years later, Claire is thrust into new relationship drama–her two best friends have boyfriends. Which means Claire is spending more and more time alone. And she’s more than a little peeved.
Enter Gray Langley. His year-long crush on Claire’s friend Lindsey has made him desperate enough to ask Claire for help. Hesitant at first, Claire agrees–anything to get rid of Lindsey’s current evil boyfriend. But as Claire and Gray plot together, an attraction develops, and now she must decide if being with Gray is worth the pain that will come from confronting her parents with the reasons for her vow.
My Life in the No-Dating Zone is absolutely adorable. Claire is fun, quirky, bold, and terrified of dating boys while in high school. I’ll admit I never really bought into her vow not to date. I didn’t understand it, not even at the end when she tried to explain it better, but I accepted that she felt strongly about her conviction. When her two best friends, Lindsey and Rose, break the vow they made to always make girl time a higher priority than boys, Claire is understandably hurt. So when Gray (Grayson, which I love since I have a son named is Grayson), who crushes on Lindsey big time, approaches Claire for help with her best friend, she sees it as a way to break up Lindsey and her current boyfriend du jour.
Gray is sweet, unsure of himself, especially where Lindsey is concerned, and determined to be her next boyfriend. He elicits the help of Lindsey’s best friend, Claire, hoping to worm his way into their group so he can pick up the pieces when Lindsey’s latest relationship falls apart. She has a reputation of burning through boyfriends, so he knows he just needs to bide his time.
Things go from complicated to horribly dysfunctional when Claire falls for Gray and Gray falls for Claire, with Claire’s vow and Gray’s supposed crush on Lindsey getting in the way. The story is a fun, refreshing twist on young adult romance. Watching these two fall for each other is a delightful treat. There is no swearing and no sex, making it perfect for teens of all ages.
Gray wants Lindsey, Claire hates Lindsey’s current boyfriend, and feels betrayed by both Lindsey and Rose who seem to spend more time with their boyfriends than her. Claire comes up with all kinds of hysterical schemes for pushing Gray and Lindsey together. It’s not particularly deep or poignant, but it’s a heck of a lot of fun. There isn’t a lot of subplotting, but the main plot is so endearing, its okay that there isn’t a lot more going on.
Claire is the kind of girl everyone should have as a friend. Even though she messes up on nearly a daily basis in the friendship department, her heart is in the right place, and when she apologizes, she does it right. Gray is the boy every mother secretly wants their daughter to date. He’s cute, loyal, kind, and loves kids. The story is told through these two points of view and both characters are pretty well rounded. Neither has any major flaw they need to overcome. Claire has her whole vow thing and needs to come to terms with what that means in light of her feelings for Gray, but its enough to drive conflict and keep the story moving.
Top Five Things I Love About Life in the No-Dating Zone
1. The fact that Claire wears glasses. She never changes to contacts to be more attractive. In fact, her appearance isn’t even important to her, and I love that about her.
2. Gray’s self-doubts. They make him infinitely human. I love that he’s not another cocky athlete that needs to be tamed. He’s just a sweet boy who realizes that he’s crazy about the girl who isn’t the girl he always thought he wanted.
3. The Grand Gesture. Because it’s just such an entertaining concept.
4. Lindsey’s big brother, because everyone should have an older sibling that goes that extra mile to look after his kid sister and her friends.
5. Claire’s parents. They are flawed, but try to do the right thing, with sometimes unintended consequences.
Life in the No-Dating Zone is a light-hearted romance and one of the sweetest young adult novels I’ve read this year. I highly recommend it.
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Life in the No-Dating Zone
Author: Patricia B. Tighe
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Category: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
About the Author
The mother of two grown sons, Patricia B. Tighe lives in El Paso, Texas, with her husband and two dogs.
Her love of the written word caused her to get a journalism degree from Texas A&M University in 1980 and an MA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in 2008.
When not writing or reading, she can be found walking the dogs or yelling at the TV during an NFL game. She’s also a fan of British TV shows. Top Gear, anyone?