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  • ARC Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
  • ARC Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
  • Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Review: Karmic Hearts by Jhing Bautista
  • Review: The Conspiration of the Universe by Kenneth Olanday

Monday, November 1, 2010

ARC Review: The Oracle Rebounds

After reading The Oracle of Dating, it is almost imperative that you read The Oracle Rebounds as well, especially if you enjoyed Kayla’s views on love and relationships. We dig deeper into her sensibilities and we get to know her more.

Title: The Oracle Rebounds
Author: Allison van Diepen
Pages: 298
Source: NetGalley

Summary:

As the “oracle of dating,” Kayla is supposed to have all the answers about love and relationships. She’s supposed to have the perfect relationship. But now that Jared is “taking a step back,” Kayla feels like a total fraud.

So the expert on dating starts taking her own rebound advice—and some from her friends—and stops moping around. Yeah, there are other possibilities out there—including the beyond-cute French foreign exchange student she’s showing around town. But when controversy erupts about the Oracle’s advice, Kayla is sent reeling once again. Will anything work out for her this year? Yet when her friends start seriously needing the Oracle, Kayla begins to focus on what really matters: Viv, Sharese, Amy and Ryan, her trueblue buds. And suddenly, everything starts making sense again…

Right off the bat, Kayla poses the question that we all ask when relationships take a sudden turn and the heat cools down, "Happily ever after is meant to last forever, right?". We all nod in agreement, and then we look back at our past relationships when we all thought we already had it. It’s the thoughtful expressions like these that will have you turning the pages that you almost forget you’re reading a young adult fiction, not a chic-lit book.

Jared, Kayla’s boyfriend of five months, three weeks, and two days, expresses his need to step back and figure some things out, and Kayla immediately thinks their relationship is doomed. She has her defenses on high and unwittingly severs the relationship. Jared, being the laid-back dude we’ve come to know, accepts Kayla’s decision dejectedly.

We almost want to shake Kayla to her senses for jumping to conclusions without so much as listening to reason. And I guess that makes Kayla real. Like every other girl, Kayla has this annoying tendency to read too much between the lines, almost always assuming the worst every time.

To get over the break-up, Kayla wastes no time in grieving the demise of her relationship with Jared and jumps right back into action. She once again spends more time with her friends and concentrates on making the Oracle business boom, which she apparently neglected when she was with Jared.

Being apart from Jared, Kayla gets to experience new and exciting things. Her family plays host to a foreign exchange student from France, Benoit, with whom she shares a two-week romance with. As her Rebound Equation (pg. 25) goes, Kayla is well aware that the relationship will be short-lived, yet she still hopes otherwise.

In an effort to promote her website, Kayla guest blogs for other teen blogs, and after one particularly sensitive topic, dating guys who turn out to be gays and how to spot one, where her advice is solicited, an uproar happens and her own website is attacked by outraged guests who calls her all kinds of derogatory remarks.

Being the good friend and sister she is, Kayla tries her best to support her sister Tracey and her friends’ relationships. Tracey tries online dating to which Kayla blogs about The Dos and Don’ts of Online Dating (pg. 46). Sharese starts dating Zink, a guy from her church who recently had a heart transplant and is starting to suffocate her. Amy is still with Chad, though she flirts and makes out with other guys at parties. Confused about Amy’s fidelity, Kayla posts something on her website, Is Fidelity Pointless for Teens? (pg. 147).

Kayla is able to re-examine her relationship with Jared with a more independent and objective outlook. If she’s hurting, she doesn’t show it. We get a glimpse, though, of what she feels inside through her blog posts. We’re aware that she still cares for Jared as reflected in her post On Having an Ex (pg. 167). She quickly gets over her rebound relationship with Benoit, knowing that a long distance relationship is not for them. Kayla writes her thoughts about this on Long Distance Relationships: Are They Worth It? (pg. 99).

What’s admirable with Kayla is she knows her limits. She doesn’t force her long distance relationship with Benoit to work, because she knows she’s not ready. She doesn’t interfere with Amy’s relationship, and the latter realizes her mistakes on her own. And when she’s being trashed in her own website, she doesn’t strike back and lash out. She allows herself to cool down, coz she knows she may do more harm when she reacts while she’s still mad or upset or fragile.

Just because she gets her heart broken and she’s miserable, Kayla didn’t wish the same for her friends. Even when her friends start trash-talking Jared after they find out they broke up. Also, Kayla clearly has strengthened her bond with her stepdad Erland. She told him about the breakup before she even told her friends.

Kayla also learns that being the Oracle is a difficult responsibility. Everyone expects her to be right all the time. And sometimes, the most comforting reassurance comes from the person we least expect it from. Evgeney, who Kayla considers her best student yet, assures her that she’s doing a good job being the Oracle. He understands that Kayla wants nothing but to do her best to help others.

Just like Tracey, I’m ten years older than Kayla. But while reading the book, I realize I still have so much more to learn when it comes to relationships, not only with a boyfriend, but with friends and family, too. A couple of things that I’m taking note of is:
  • Not to stay in a relationship out of obligation or guilt
  • When on a date, conversations should never make you feel like you’re in a shrink’s office (and you are the shrink)
I rarely root for the getting back together scenario. I believe that an ex is an ex for a reason. But given the circumstances that surrounded their break-up, I find myself hoping that Kayla and Jared will eventually sort out their differences and find their way back to each other. Reading Jared’s letter to her brings tears to my eyes. Who wouldn’t melt when he says, “I thought that missing you would fade over time, but it hasn't. I adore you as much as ever.”?

The only teen book series I ever enjoyed were the Sweet Valley series and The Baby Sitters Club. After high school, I quit reading stories which requires you to buy the books in several installments. Oftentimes, the first part is always the best part and the follow-ups go over the top and/or fail to live up to the expectations and standards set by the pilot book. The Oracle series, however, has the kind of material that will make it a loveable mini-series that I’m sure every teenager will want to collect.

The Oracle of Dating is already a great book itself, but Allison van Diepen outdid herself. Her brilliance offers a story that shies away from the typical formula of teenage love. We are given more than just a boy-meets-girl-and-though-they-have-problems-along-the-way-they-still-end-up-together-and-have-a-happily-ever-after drama. There may have been less humor in The Oracle Rebounds, but this time around, there is definitely more heart.

The Oracle Rebounds deserve a 5.ΓΌ

MY RATING

Content (plot, story flow, character):


Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!

Book Cover:

Yes - The Goddess Approves!

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