On the cusp of Christmas break, Sophie’s parents have decided to drive a couple hours away to stay with Sophie’s older sister, who is very pregnant and experiencing some complications. Sophie convinces her parents to go without her, promising to go stay with her grandparents in the next town. Of course, what Sophie is really excited about is getting to spend some time with her boyfriend, Griffin. But when Sophie shows up at a party, excited to tell Griffin that she’ll have plenty of time to hang out with him over the next couple of weeks, she overhears him talking with a friend about how he’s excited about having a few weeks away from Sophie – as a sort of test to see if he wants to actually break up with her. Sophie is hurt and upset – she breaks up with Griffin and takes off for her grandparents’ house. There, her boisterous extended family steps up to the plate, and before Sophie can stop it, her grandma has come with a brilliant plan – they’ll all take turns setting Sophie up on blind dates over Christmas break. Cue a white board, sign up sheets, and one get-out-of-a-date-free card – Sophie’s family is determined that she’ll have a fun and romantic couple of weeks.
Okay, I have to say – I genuinely loved this book. Honestly, this is what I was hoping for when I read Match Made in Manhattan (which, if you missed it, I ended up DNFing and ranting about in my December Rearview). Of course, this was YA edition, but it was the kind of YA that is still just so fun and happy that I found it overall enjoyable and entertaining.
The main reason is Sophie’s family. They’re fantastic. I come from a big family myself (although not as much extended family as Sophie, sadly), and know how rapidly things spiral out of control when another family member gets an idea of how you should run your life. But for the most part, everything happening to Sophie is because her family genuinely loves her and wants her to be happy, and that’s what makes this story work.
Throughout the story, Sophie is reconnecting with her family. Even though they don’t live super far apart, it’s still enough that she’s in a different school district from her cousins, and they’ve grown apart over the years. I loved how both Sophie and her cousins realized that they could have handled their relationship better in the past, and how they all grew from it.
Sophie’s relationship with her sister is also a delight. The sister (whose name I can’t remember and neglected to write down) is having complications with her pregnancy, but it’s obvious that she and Sophie are close. I loved their text conversations and Sophie’s love and concern for her sister. Mild spoiler here, but nothing bad happens to Sophie’s sister or the baby, which I also loved. For a minute, I was scared that the author was going to do something tragic just to provide some angst, but that didn’t happen and I was so glad.
This was a solid 4* for me. The main reason this book doesn’t rank higher was that on one of the dates they end up at a porn flick – it first off didn’t seem like something that could actually happen (a drive-in theater that only plays porn?? I just… no, I just can’t buy it, especially since I don’t particularly remember them having their ID checked when they got there…) and secondly just felt completely unnecessary and contrived to give the story some “edge.” However, that was really the only date that felt creepy – for the most part they were good fun. There were a few other eye-rolling moments of “look how I can make my book edgy if I try,” but not too bad overall.
If you’re looking for something lighthearted and fun (and a smidge Christmasy), 10 Blind Dates fits the bill. I’ll definitely be looking for more of Elston’s books in the future.