ARC review: The Dating Game by Kiley Roache

The Dating Game by Kiley Roache
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Source: ARC via Netgalley

The Social Network gets a romantic twist in this fresh and engaging new read from the author of Frat Girl, Kiley Roache. Experience the whirlwind ups and downs of college life in this authentic and entertaining new novel!

When a notoriously difficult class for future entrepreneurs leads to three freshmen developing the next “it” app for dating on college campuses, all hell breaks loose…

Type A control freak Sara lives by her color-coordinated Post-it notes.

Rich boy Braden wants out from under his billionaire father’s thumb.

Scholarship student Roberto can’t afford for his grades to drop.

When the three are forced to work together in one of the university’s most difficult classes, tension rises to the breaking point…until, shockingly, the silly dating app they create proves to be the most viable project in class. Late nights of app development, interest from investors and unexpected romance are woven into a true-to-life college drama that explores what it means to really connect online and IRL.

I was really excited when I saw that Kiley Roache’s new novel was available on Netgalley. I really enjoyed her debut, Frat Girl, when I read it last year and had been looking forward to reading more from her. One of the things that I most enjoyed about Frat Girl was the way that it addressed real college issues and stereotypes while still being a really entertaining book with a great message. My hopes for The Dating Game were pretty high — made even higher, possibly, by the fact that it features a main character named Sara who loves color-coordinated Post-It notes (actually me) — but unfortunately, it didn’t work for me.

I think the biggest problem that I had with this book was how unfinished it felt. The idea of the plot is good. I love the concept of a bunch of college kids struggling to come up with an idea for their class and accidentally creating a really popular app. It’s a really fun idea and I think it could have been a really fun book. But it wasn’t.

The thing is, the app is just disgusting. It’s an app like Tinder, but you get graded for your ratio of left vs. right swipes, and you get penalized if someone you match with unmatches with you. This predictably causes a bit of drama on this college campus and quickly turns into girls crying on the sidewalk because their ranking dropped when their boyfriend broke up with them. And not only is the whole idea of the app disgusting, but you should hear their ideas for advertising! “Oh, when someone’s rating starts dropping, we’ll show them ads for gym memberships and makeup.” REALLY? This isn’t even challenged.

There’s also what I’m assuming is supposed to be a big plot twist toward the end that’s just… forgive me for saying this… bad. It doesn’t make sense. It would never happen in the real world. I mean, granted, most of what happens in this book would never happen in the real world. I wish I could give some spoilers here, but this is an ARC review, so I’m trying very hard not to do that.

So, I think I’ve established that the plot is a little questionable. There were also so many mistakes! Some mistakes are to be expected in an ARC, but this was just beyond what’s normal. I’m talking about names being changed in the middle of a scene. Personalities changing. A character that wasn’t even present in a scene suddenly saying something. Typos and word usage problems. This is not what I expect from a publisher like Harlequin.

I also want to mention something that kind of bothered me every time I saw it, and that was Instafriend. At one point, a character mentions scrolling mindlessly through the blue and white screen of Instafriend. I think it’s pretty clear that they’re referring to a fictionalized Facebook. And that’s fine! Except that a few chapters later, Facebook is a thing. But so is Instafriend? It was just odd.

Now, with all of that said, you’re probably wondering why I gave this book two stars instead of one star when I so clearly disliked it. The reason is that I could hardly put it down! It’s a very readable book and if I didn’t have to do things like sleep in order to be a functional adult, I probably could have finished it in one night.

I have hopes that the finished version of this book will have gone through some rigorous edits to correct a lot of the issues I had with it. I can’t really recommend it, but I would be really interested in hearing from anyone who reads the final, published version.

#killingthetbr: four months on shelf

Have you read The Dating Game? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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11 thoughts on “ARC review: The Dating Game by Kiley Roache

  1. Stephanie says:

    Oof, the ads for gym memberships and makeup when a rating drops is just…gross and unnecessary. I get it if the author is trying to show the superficiality of society made manifest in these characters, but otherwise…ick. Sounds like a disappointing read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Star Brite says:

    I just finished this book and I can understand what you’re thinking too! I kept waiting for a dramatic crash and burn but it just sort of plateaus and the plot feels a little rushed near the end! However, it was a strangely addicting read!

    Liked by 1 person

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