Book Reviews

Review: Dating Down by Alex Dunn

I was kindly sent a free copy of this book by the author Alex Dunn.  Dating Down is a YA romance novel with ay different feel to it which I liked.  Here is my review.

Eager to look good in front of the popular girls at school, Tammy brags about her new boyfriend who’ll be taking her to her school dance. The only problem is he doesn’t really exist, except in the pages of her favourite novels. On the night of the school dance Tammy runs away but meets Gary who manages to agree to become Ralph for one night, but is Gary the right guy for Tammy?

This is a surprisingly good read which had me turning the pages throughout. ‘Dating Down’ is a YA Romance with a very different feel but one I really enjoyed. The story chapters alternate between Tammy and Gary, each chapter being told in the first person and in the present tense.

The first chapter focuses on Tammy who is a bit of a naïve teen and a typical rich girl. I didn’t warm to Tammy’s character right away. I did relate to her feelings of loneliness and wanting to be in the ‘it’ crowd but I didn’t feel as if I could connect with her character as much as Gary’s. Gary is from the opposite end of the wealth spectrum. Although his character is a little unlikable because of his initial actions and general mood I did feel he was very real compared to Tammy.

I really liked the story of the two worlds of rich and poor colliding and the unlikely romance that blossomed between the two characters. The story is very exciting, it’s certainly more than just a love story and delves deeper into the effects of death and pain on people. I really liked Gary’s story throughout and although the likelihood of the overall plot ever coming true is quite slim, I’ve always liked fiction like this.

The book is really fast paced and very gripping, I read it all in one day! There’s occasional use of the f swear word as well as milder and some violence, sex and alcohol use mentioned though nothing graphic. The book has such an original feel to it and I’m really enjoying Dunn’s novels as they read very differently to most YA I read and her characters, even if seemingly unlikable at first, always have their charms.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes reading YA fiction with an original feel. The book is set in London so the setting and some of the language used is typical to Britain/London, but overall it has a great and different feel. Although I would have preferred Tammy’s character to be a little more complex I still enjoyed this especially the ending. Though the last chapter was short, the previous chapters were both shocking and exciting it just made me enjoy this all the more.

Rating: 4.5/5

Review published on Goodreads, click here

Author’s website:

Book Description:

Tammy’s got everything: wealth, designer clothes, store cards with unlimited credit, and Ralph Forrester, a drop-dead-gorgeous first-year law student who is going to take her to the end-of-term dance. There’s only one problem: Ralph Forrester doesn’t exist. He’s only alive in the pages of the Trudy Kensington novels, and unable to face being humiliated in front of the girls she longs to be like, Tammy runs away and headfirst into trouble. Gary’s life is spiralling out of control after Grace dies. On a mission to prove he’s nothing like his physically abusive father, he comes to Tammy’s rescue and agrees to be Ralph for just one night. But the lie that brought them together threatens to tear them apart forever when Tammy decides to continue the deceit, and without realising it, she puts Gary’s life at risk. Determined to make things right, she sets about trying to rebuild Gary’s broken home. But has she done enough to convince him he still has a family worth living for?


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