Kiss, Date, Love, Hate – Luisa Plaja

“It’s just another lunch time on the Chairs of Doom outside Mr Trench’s office. I’m sort of a permanent fixture here. If the chairs weren’t so wobbly, I’d probably have grown roots by now.”

Lex Murphy and her friends are an interesting bunch, always chopping and changing boyfriends and girlfriends, always having a laugh and not taking anything too seriously. At least that’s what it was like until Lex broke up with Matt and Gemma jumped straight in and got her claws into him, and Jess started acting all weirdly obsessive about GCSEs being “only 7 months away.” Then Lex and George come across a video game, a video game where you create your own characters and make them Kiss, Date and Love. Lex and George make themselves and their classmates, adding little personality adjustments to their friends. It’s just a game so how harmless can it be, surely it won’t affect their friends for real, right?

***
Kiss, Date, Love, Hate is a brilliant teen book which explores lots of different aspects of teen life, love and relationships in such a great way. The characters jump out from the page at you and I can guarantee that you will know people in real life just like them! The simple but wonderful storyline is a brilliant way to approach issues of the teen kind but to entertain and amuse those who read it!
The story line, as I said is simple, Lex and her friends are all finding their way in life, they’re branching off and making new friends, making new boyfriends/girlfriends and having their own problems that they don’t want to take about! George’s dad is a games tester, he gets the game Kiss, Date, Love and thinks it doesn’t work so just gives it to George to mess about with. George and Lex get it working and that’s when the weird stuff starts happening. I loved the idea and it made me think of the movie virtual sexuality a little, which I loved! It wasn’t just the game that made the story though. There were lots of other things going on, like the film making course and peoples relationships and things like that. I did think the book was getting a little predictable for a while but then the book turned around completely, new things were thrown in and it didn’t go exactly as I thought it would which added more depth and awesomeness to the book!
Lex and her friends as characters were really interesting; you had a wide range of personalities, some I loved, some I hated. Matt was a bit of a knob to be perfectly honest and I hated him, Lex would have been so much better off without! Then Gemma was, whilst I could understand it slightly, annoyingly selfish and slimy. Jess and George are being bundled together as Lex’s best friends and I loved them both, I do kind of wish Jess made more of an appearance in the book, but it makes sense why she doesn’t and I loved what that relationship brought to the story as well. George was a great character and I loved how geeky he was. I also loved how he turned out at the end and thought it was hilarious that Lex’s mum always thought he was gay because of his geeky personality. Lex’s mum and George’s dad are also being bundled together, I love what their relationship brought to the story as well and how they were like the adult equivalent of what was going on in Lex’s life, they showed Lex that it’s not only teens who struggle with people and stuff like that. Lex herself was great, as I say below she reminded me of myself at that age and I loved every second. She did kinda need a slap at times to knock the madness out of her head but it made me love her even more! Lex is a very relatable character for teens I think and I would have loved for her to have been around when I was the target age for this book! Also, cant ignore the fact shes named after the girl from Jurassic Park, how awesome is that! Finally, I’m sorry but I loved Drew even more than Lex. He was a sexy bad-boy type and I loved how he turned out, the strained relationship between him and Lex and him and Jess really stood out. He was the cause of a few strains but I still couldn’t help but love him, especially towards the end.
I like to be completely honest in my reviews so I’m going to mention the only thing that bothered me about this book, which was the total lack of swearing. These characters are 16/17 and whilst swearing is mentioned it’s kind of like Lex is too naive and young to actually say any of the words, even in the worst situations, and whilst this could be her choice I honestly think it felt a little forced at times, especially with her attitude and cockiness at times, she reminded me of myself at that age and I swore like a solider! However I think this may be something to do with wanting the book to hit a wider target audience, including younger readers which the swearing may be inappropriate for.
To end on a plus note though I think my favourite part about this book overall was its flouting of stereotypes and assumptions, the whole idea that just because someone looks a “type” doesn’t mean they are. I think a lot of the characters put images across that weren’t what they were like really but people judge them because of these images. I loved it in George especially as I know loads of people like him who others assume are gay and it’s not true, not in all cases anyway!
I think Kiss, Date, Love, Hate is a book which will make people laugh out loud, shout out loud and love forever, there is definitely no hate in my feelings for this book!  
Kiss, Date, Love, Hate is due for release on February 2nd, published by Random House Children’s Books. Thank you to Luisa for sending me a copy of this book for review, this has not affected my review in any way.  
  • Great review, it’s so good to see that everyone else loved this book too.

  • Do you know I hadn’t noticed there wasn’t any swearing. Though to be honest, I prefer it not to have any. I wonder if we include it a lot in literature are we making it acceptable for teenagers to swear like troupers. Nothing makes me cringe more than hearing a youngster swearing, even though I have been known to swear myself. Also would it affect the age the book is aimed at if there was swearing in it. My neice is just 12 and she has read two of Luisa’s books, but I would have been inclined to hold them back if they had been full of swearing.
    I sound like I am on my soap box now and I don’t mean to be, it is something I personally struggle with in YA fiction, especially when aimed at the younger audience.

  • Nice review. I hadn’t heard much about this one.

  • I think this one sounds like lots of fun! Looking forward to reading to it soon! 🙂

    As for the issues of swearing in YA, I think it can be overdone to the point where it’s way too much, but it can also be excluded to the point where the dialogue doesn’t seem realistic in relation to today’s teens. I haven’t read this book yet though, so I can’t comment on the issue here. 🙂

  • This books sounds awesome I need to get this. x

  • I hated Matt too! WHAT A PAIN. And wasn’t Drew…OMG??!! Fab review, I am reading this now and loving it!

  • I didn’t even pick up on the no swearing lol.

    Fab review of a great book 😀