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The Dating Game    by Natalie Standiford order for
Dating Game
by Natalie Standiford
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2005 (2005)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This is the first episode in a new series. Three girlfriends, high school sophomores at Rosewood School for Alternative Gifted Education (RSAGE), team up on a project for their 'Interpersonal Human Development' (sex ed) class. Their subject? 'Who's more sex-crazed, boys or girls?' Though they assume the former, their own actions might make you wonder. They set up questionnaires on a weblog, the incentive for filling them being that they also offer a matchmaking service (their hidden agenda being matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match!)

Lina Ozu is small, looks younger than she is, and moons over their IHD teacher, Dan Shulman. Madison 'Mads' Markowitz has a crush on a senior, Sean Benedetto. Holly Anderson, teasingly called 'the Boobmeister' by Mads, wants to find someone who doesn't believe the false rumors circulating around the school - suddenly Holly has the rep of being looser than her 'grandmother's neck'. The trio decide to collect data for their project through online quizzes in a blog called 'The Dating Game', and to use it to set themselves up with hot dates. Of course, when Cupid's involved, things go quickly awry. Mads is pursued by a persistent twelve-year-old nerd, Holly's date exaggerates their time together (big-time) to all his friends, and Lina's so fixated on her teacher that she can't see anyone else. We watch them go through the agony of analyzing every word and glance from the objects of their desires, and doing some very silly things in the name of research.

Though it skirts over issues of confidentiality (and ignores the fact that a school would be unlikely to allow this kind of student matchmaking), The Dating Game is an amusing tale of friendship, loyalty and the lengths that young men and women will go to when they feel the first stirrings of romance.

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