cover image REALITY CHECK


Leslie Carroll, Author . Ivy $6.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-8041-2000

Carroll (Miss Match) offers a tongue-in-cheek look at one of television's hottest trends in this comic contemporary romance. Frustrated with her job and burnt out on dating, Manhattan copywriter Liz Pemberley figures she might as well sign up for "Bad Date," a live reality game-show, and profit from her many misadventures with men. Her two lovelorn roommates follow suit, and miraculously, all three make it onto the show. The object: to relay your worst dating experiences and be the last one standing after the participants with the least objectionable stories have been voted off. The prize: one million dollars. Liz's witty and at times caustic remarks add spice to the show and the narrative, but her relationship with Miami restaurateur and co-contestant Jack Rafferty is the novel's true source of heat. Despite the couple's instant attraction, a no-fraternization clause in their TV contract holds them apart for a while, but there's never any question that they're destined to break the rules. Carroll strains the book's credibility by having Liz's roommates find love and lifelong happiness during the show as well, and the story's sheer number of coincidences will cause many to cringe (how likely is it that a New Yorker and an out-of-towner will run into each other in Manhattan?). Still, this cheery caper will strike a chord with readers who have had plenty of dating dilemmas. (Jan. 1)