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Book Review

This contemporary Christian book by Kristin Billerbeck is published by Revell, an imprint of the Baker Publishing Group.

Perfectly Dateless: A Universally Misunderstood Novel is written for kids ages 13 to 16. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Seventeen-year-old Daisy Crispin is a senior at the prestigious St. James Christian Academy. Daisy, a self-described "perfectionist," maintains near-flawless grades and has advanced math skills. She feels alienated from her peers because her strict Christian parents do not allow her to date, wear makeup or buy clothes from a store. Daisy desires to break away from these strict guidelines and begins to keep a "prom" journal, in which she chronicles her secret search for a prom date.

Daisy's best friend, Claire, has a much different home life. While Claire's parents are going through a divorce, Claire is left at home with a nanny. Claire tries to garner attention from her parents and boys by dressing in odd styles.

On the first day of school, Daisy runs into a boy she likes, Chase, who she's known since kindergarten. Chase gives Daisy a kiss on the cheek before Amber, a schoolmate who bullies Daisy and Claire, interrupts them. At the school assembly, Daisy's parents perform a skit about peer pressure, and it embarrasses Daisy, who had no idea that they were performing that day.

Daisy works at Checks R Us, a check printing company. She answers phone calls and helps her young boss, Gil, with the finances. Gil convinces Daisy to buy new clothes and get a makeover from his sister before going to prom. Claire tells Daisy that she is on her way to the mall for a job interview because she wants to spend her own money, not her parents' money. Daisy goes with her. Daisy's mother overhears their plans and decides to give Daisy some money to shop at approved stores. At the mall, Claire introduces Daisy to her interviewer, Max Diaz. Max is from Mexico and is a new student at their school. Claire gets the job at Max's lemonade stand. After talking to Max a few more times and after realizing that Chase didn't seem attracted to her, Daisy starts to develop feelings for Max. Claire informs Daisy that her maid has quit, so Claire has the house to herself. Claire plans to throw a party at her parents' house while her parents are away.

On their way to Claire's house, Claire and Daisy stop by the home of Greg, a boy Claire likes. Greg's science experiment goes wrong and sets his lawn on fire. The fire department and Daisy's dad arrive at Greg's house. Daisy's dad is upset that she is with a boy. Daisy and her dad argue about her future. Daisy's parents disapprove of her plan to get a neuroscience degree because it would mean that she has to attend a public university.

The day of the party, as Claire and Daisy prepare, Max shows up. He speaks with Daisy privately to tell her that Chase thought he was a drug dealer and tried to buy a roofie — a date rape drug — from him. Max says he gave Chase an unmarked Excedrin in place of a roofie. Daisy doesn't believe him, so Max decides to stay at the party to look after her. Daisy is worried that Greg might have bought a roofie to use on Claire.

Later, Daisy and Max talk on the porch, and the party grows out of control. When Daisy realizes the late hour, she goes back inside and notices that the house is trashed and someone has brought a keg. She runs into a drunken Chase, who proposes they sleep together. After the keg is thrown onto the barbeque grill, it sets the house on fire. Chase runs away before the cops show up. Max goes inside to look for Claire; Daisy runs in after him, but burns herself in the process. She sees Max exit the house with someone in his arms before she passes out.

Daisy wakes up in the hospital with third-degree burns. Max is suffering from smoke inhalation. Daisy's mother informs her that Amber was drugged at the party, and the police suspect Max. Daisy's mother apologizes for making Daisy wear homemade clothes. She gives Daisy money for college and admits that she's been hiding the money from Daisy's father.

Daisy and Claire are punished for having the party. Claire's parents get back together because they can't afford a divorce after the fire. Claire and her mother temporally stay with Daisy's family until Claire's father returns and their house is fixed.

Back at school, Chase tries to explain his actions at the party, but denies buying drugs. Daisy calls him out on his lie, which causes to Chase storm off.

Daisy gets her hair done at Gil's sister's salon. Gil and her father show up. Her dad asks if she believes that Chase gave Amber the roofie, and Daisy replies that she does. Daisy and her father tell the principal about these suspicions, but the principal doesn't believe her.

Daisy expresses a desire to take Max to prom, but he has been asked to return to Mexico, and she has to work at the prom. Daisy burns her prom diary and works the Breathalyzer station at prom with Claire. Daisy's parents convince the principal to let them be chaperones. Max shows up at prom, and Daisy gets to dance with Max.

Christian Beliefs

Daisy writes in her journal that she is a Christian. Daisy starts a prom journal because she feels wrong to write about prom in her prayer journal. In her prom journal, Daisy writes that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. She mentions Adam and Eve's story and the story of Noah.

Daisy's mom talks to her about the Proverbs 31 woman. Daisy claims she takes her commitment to purity seriously, but dislikes making it public. Daisy's mom tells her that God looks at the heart. Daisy's dad tells her that they will serve the Lord and that financial status doesn't matter to God. Daisy's parents want her to marry a pastor.

Daisy comments that Claire loves Jesus, but Claire feels that God has little interest in her. Because of Claire's "emo" phase, Daisy's mother thinks she might be possessed, and Daisy says her mother prays over the house when Claire comes over.

Daisy writes in her journal that even though God wouldn't be proud of the party, He would be proud of her responsibility. Daisy believes the Holy Spirit convicts her. She admits that God doesn't think like her, and we should strive to live like Jesus. Daisy mentions that she wants to see Amber fail, but knows Jesus wouldn't want that. When Daisy's parents embarrass her at the school assembly, Daisy wishes she would be immediately raptured. Afterward, she denies knowing her parents, then immediately feels guilty, comparing it to Peter denying Jesus.

After Daisy's mom gives her money to go shopping, Daisy looks up at the sky and comments that Jesus must be coming back. Daisy makes some fleeting comments about praying and speaks outright to God when she is frustrated or in need of help. When Daisy is angry at Claire, she recites the Lord's Prayer in her mind. Max admits that God told him to be at the party, but doesn't know why.

Daisy's mom is able to lose weight once she realizes that she hasn't been treating her body as a temple. Claire's dad states that God doesn't give them a spirit of fear.

After the fire, Daisy states that we wouldn't need an audience if we would remember that God is with us all the time. Max tells Daisy that he plans to go to school to be a pastor. Daisy comes to the conclusion that only God knows everything about our futures.

Other Belief Systems

None

Authority Roles

Daisy is often disrespectful of her parents with her words. Daisy goes against her parents' wishes and buys an Abercrombie and Fitch shirt. When her mother finds it and confronts her, Daisy tries to change the subject. Daisy also saves up her money and plans to go to the mall to shop for "real" clothes and a cell phone, which her parents have forbidden her to buy.

Daisy asks her mother's permission to look for a prom date. When her mother refuses, Daisy decides to find one anyway. Daisy does not want to turn out like her mother. Daisy's parents don't tell her that her dad has had a few strokes and her mom has an apron-making business.

Profanity/Violence

The acronym "OMG" is used. Daisy comments that it sucks to be her. Heck, slut and jerk are used several times. Claire refers to Daisy's chest as boobs and gives a group of peers the middle finger. The phrase "killing someone" is used a few times.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Daisy uses provocative terms to describe boys she potentially wants to date. Daisy says that she feels a rush when Chase accidentally touches her hand. Daisy tells her mom that boys wouldn't notice her if she walked down the hall naked. Daisy's mother mentions grinding. Claire bluntly tells Daisy that no one wants to sleep with Daisy. While driving Daisy home, Daisy catches Gil looking at her bare legs. When Gil thinks that Daisy and Chase have slept together, he asks Daisy if Chase has touched her. Daisy mentions her small chest and the possibility of breast implants on several occasions.

Amber is sent home for her immodest clothing and revealing shorts. Throughout the book, boys and girls flirt and are often called hot. A few sexual references are made about couples sleeping together and prom night liaisons.

Claire's former boyfriend broke up with her because her values got in the way of their relationship. Daisy suspects that Claire and Greg are sleeping together. Claire admits that she and Greg have kissed, but nothing more. A drunken Chase proposes that Daisy sleep with him.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at ThrivingFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Drugs/Destructive Behavior: Daisy's father went to a juvenile detention center as a kid for smoking pot. The story talks about Rohypnol, a date rape drug that Chase tries to buy for the party.

Alcohol: There is mention of drinking. Some teenagers bring alcohol to Daisy and Claire's party, which is supposed to be alcohol-free. Chase gets drunk at the party.

Lying: Claire lies to Daisy, telling her friend her parents are on vacation. Daisy lies to her parents and misleads them regarding her clothes, friends, prom and the party. Later she apologizes. Daisy and Claire plan to go to the mall and think of several lies to tell Daisy's parents.


You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

For additional parenting resources, download a free issue of Thriving Family, a marriage and parenting magazine published by Focus on the Family, at ThrivingFamily.com/magazine.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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