“A fun and flirty start to what I'm
sure will be a great new series.”
“THE ORACLE OF DATING was a great—and
original—novel that left me eager to start the sequel,
THE ORACLE REBOUNDS, and to see what happens to Kayla and
her friends next. I highly recommend picking this one up!”
— The Story Siren
“This is the kind of book that will
be read by one girl and then passed along to her sister,
best friend, cousin, etc., because it's FUN... Read it for
a positive spin on girl friendship, for the spunky narrator,
for some smoking sexual tension (hey, this is Harlequin,
after all!) that doesn't cross the line, and, of course,
for a tale of first love."
— Kinnelon Library Teen Blog
"The Oracle of Dating was, without
a doubt, the cutest book I've read so far this year, and
a fantastic start to a new series!"
— Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf
"An adorable read. It took me back to the best moments
of high school, made me feel the romance and just took me
out of life for a while."
— My Reading Room
4.5 stars! —
RT Book Reviews
* Find Tracey a great boyfriend.
* Make a choice about my hair: straight or curly, because wavy
just isn't working.
* Cure cereal addiction (possibly through hypnotherapy—see
* Write more blogs for the Oracle of Dating Web site, give lots
of dating advice, make stacks of $$$ and quit job at Hellhole.
* Take the Oracle of Dating to the next level!!!
* * *
You might think that September is a weird time to be making New
Year's resolutions. Well, Mom never accused me of doing anything
on time, especially tidying my room, loading the dishwasher or
Swiffering the kitchen.
"I don't see how you ended up with an eighty average last
year, Kayla," Mom says. "You're always chatting online
or on the phone."
Which implies that I am not being productive.
The truth is, she has no idea what I'm really up to.
I clear my throat and answer, "The Oracle of Dating."
"It's client number zero-two-four."
"You remember me!"
"I do. What can the Oracle do for you?" I scoot over
to my computer and open up my PayPal account to see that her five-dollar
payment has been received.
"It's about this guy, Shawn, I'm dating. I hate going out
in public with him."
A case of total butt ugly, perhaps?
"Why's that, Sabrina?"
"He always embarrasses me somehow. Like when we went to
the school dance Friday night, he was dancing like a maniac. Everybody
was staring at him."
"He's a really bad dancer?"
"The worst. It's not just that. Wherever we go, he says
or does something dumb. But when we're alone, he's really sweet!"
"Mmm-hmm." Listening noises are very important.
"What do you think I should do?"
you talked to him about this?"
"Yeah, but he doesn't get it."
"I have another question for you, Sabrina. Do you love him?"
"I wouldn't go that far. We've only been dating
for a couple of months."
"Why not find a guy who wouldn't embarrass you in public?"
"It's not so easy getting a boyfriend. He's only the second
one I've ever had."
As I well know. Sabrina's been calling me to discuss every crush
and flirtation in the past six months.
"Ask yourself this. Are you with him because you really
like him, or because you like having a boyfriend?"
"Er, maybe the second thing."
"How would you feel if he answered the question the same
"I wouldn't like it." She sighs. "I guess I have
to break up with him?"
I lift the phone away from my ear and pound a tune into my little
"The Oracle has spoken."
"Thank you, Oracle. I know it's the right thing to do."
"Good night, Sabrina."
I know what you're thinking. What makes me such an expert on
dating? Have I had lots of boyfriends?
There have only been two, and both were disasters. But I've learned
from each one, and now I think of them, with total detachment,
as Case Study No. 1 and Case Study No. 2. I even made retrospective
Case Study No. 1: 9th Grade, November.
Lead-up to relationship: weeks of note-writing and flirting,
a subtle ass-grab at a school dance and a kiss behind the portables.
Relationship length: one month.
Activities: playing video games, kissing in his basement, playing
more video games.
Conflict: He often wouldn't answer the phone because he didn't
want to interrupt his video game. His gaming addiction resulted
in a thumb injury for which medical care was required, and he
was unable to hold my hand due to a thumb splint.
Outcome: He didn't see me as a girlfriend, he saw me as a gaming
partner, make-out buddy and occasional history tutor. So I gave
him an ultimatum: "What do you care about more, me or your
video games?" He answered: "They're my thing. I'm a
gamer, babe." Babe?
Case Study No. 2: 10th Grade, March.
Lead-up to relationship: I met him at a party. He remembered
my name and added me on Facebook. We chatted online for a couple
of weeks before he finally asked me out.
None. He was totally sweet. Or so I thought.
Outcome: After three weeks of going out and making out, he changed
his Facebook picture to one of him kissing another girl. ALL of
our friends saw this. I called him immediately: "Are you
trying to tell me something?" He answered: "Sorry, I
didn't know how else to say it."
My two boyfriend disasters only confirmed what I already knew:
teenage guys are less mature than teenage girls. Therefore, if
I want to date my equal, I should date a guy who is at least twenty,
which I would never do, because what sort of twenty-year-old would
want to date someone still in high school?
It would've helped a lot to have someone to talk to during those
relationships; someone nonjudgmental and anonymous like the Oracle
of Dating would have been perfect. I never laugh at a client's
concerns or get too preachy. I wish I could've given myself better
advice at the time, but it's hard to see clearly when you're emotionally
I decided there was only one solution—to put off dating
until college, when the scales of maturity will start to balance.
I simply don't have the emotional resilience to deal with immature
high school guys. Which isn't to say I wouldn't change my mind
if my ideal guy came along, but statistically, it's highly unlikely.
For those teenage girls who are brave enough to deal with teenage
guys, and for anyone else who needs me, the Oracle of Dating is
there. I do a lot of research so that I can give sensible advice.
When I'm not sure of the answers, I tell my clients the Oracle
will have to get back to them so that she can "meditate"
on their dilemma. My advice is serious, though I've put "for
entertainment purposes only" on my Web site so I don't get
sued if something I suggest backfires. With all of this responsibility,
I don't have time for a love life, anyway.
Besides, I'm not the one who needs a man, my sister does. Tracey
is ten years older than I am, and has been coming to me for advice
since I was twelve, often trusting my guy radar more than her
own. She's even been afraid to introduce certain guys to me because
she knows I'll see what she prefers not to see.
Tracey lives on the Upper East Side—it's about forty minutes
from Brooklyn by subway. I usually meet her in Manhattan on weekends
for lattes, which she insists on paying for. (She says it's fair,
considering I don't charge her for advice.) I've also given lots
of free advice to her friends. It was actually her best friend,
Corinne, who called me the Oracle in the first place. After that,
the name stuck.
Nothing would make me happier than to find a great match for
Tracey. She's an amazing sister, and never makes me feel like
a pain when I call her. She's kind, hardworking and selfless—sometimes
to a fault—and I won't let her settle for anything less
than she deserves. In any other city, she'd have been snatched
up by some wonderful guy already, but New York is tricky, since
there are far more single women than men, and the dating culture
is downright strange. Since she's twenty-six now, I figure she
has another few years of trying to find a good man before I'll
suggest more extreme measures.
By extreme measures I mean going to Alaska. I see nothing wrong
with that. People move for their careers—why not to find
a man? In some parts of Alaska, single men outnumber women ten
to one. Tracey would have absolutely no trouble finding a guy
there. And I think an Alaskan man—big, strong, not afraid
of bugs or heavy lifting—would complement Tracey's personality.
The only problem is that she'd be so far away! I guess she'd have
to convince her Alaskan man to move to, say, rural Vermont. Because
Alaska is just the wrong time zone.
True, there's still a great woman-to-man ratio in the Silicon
Valley in California, but I'd prefer she didn't marry a high-tech
guy. Dad is in tech, and I don't want Tracey to end up with a
guy like him. He and Mom divorced ten years ago, and since then,
he's reverted back to the lifestyle he was meant for: the lifestyle
of a bachelor. He's traveled the world with his company, living
in Singapore, Johannesburg, Berlin and now in Ottawa, Canada.
We only see him a couple of times a year, Christmas and summer
vacation. And that's fine with me.
I remember the day he left. Mom and Dad sat down with Tracey
and me, explaining that he was going to move out. Tracey didn't
argue. I think she was sick to death of the fighting. But not
me. I thought they should make it work. I used any rationale available
to my six-year-old brain to stop them from breaking up. And when
none of my arguments worked, I started to cry.
The truth is, Mom and Dad were a disaster from the start. I'm
surprised Mom didn't see through his hollow charm right away,
but I guess she was young and innocent, and trusted love. Too
bad no one had the guts to stand up at the speak now or forever
hold your peace part of their wedding, since the only things
they had in common—good looks and ridiculous eighties hair—were
not enough for a happily ever after.
a windy Sunday and I get off the 6 train at Seventy-seventh Street
and Lexington to meet Tracey at Starbucks. I see all of the Sunday
couples walking around holding hands. Sunday couples are young
couples who stay over Saturday night (if you know what I mean)
and have carefully assembled designer sweats, sneakers and baseball
caps to wear on Sundays. They always look freshly showered and
slightly hungover and you find them ordering greasy breakfasts
at Second Avenue diners before spending their afternoons browsing
shops, buying artwork for their tiny apartments and crowding neighborhood
cafés so that I can hardly ever get a seat.
Tracey is looking beautiful today, though she has puffiness under
her eyes, indicating that she either slept too little or too much.
She has rich dark hair the color of a flourless chocolate cake
and shining brown eyes to match. Her cheeks are slightly pink
from the windy day, and her complexion is flawless. At five-nine,
she's four inches taller than me, giving a sleek elegance to her
figure that many girls would kill for.
As for me, I've inherited my dad's Shredded Wheat–colored
hair and my mom's hazel eyes, which are mistaken for green or
brown depending on the day, light conditions and my mood.
Today Tracey is wearing fresh unscuffed New Balance sneakers.
Sunday is the only day of the week you won't find her in heels
of at least two inches—an error in judgment, IMO, since
it tends to narrow her pool of possible guys to those five-eleven
and above. But I guess that's her choice, her preference being
men over six feet—not always easy to find unless you're
in Denmark or Norway.
She gives me a big hug and two European cheek kisses, and I know
I'll have to take my compact out to see what lipstick smudges
At the counter, we're served by a skinny guy we privately nicknamed
Pip. He's there every weekend and talks like Mickey Mouse.
"Tall soy iced Tazo chai latte," he says to the huge
guy behind the espresso machine.
"Tall soy iced Tazo chai latte," the huge guy repeats
in a booming voice.
"Uh, no foam, please," Tracey adds.
Pip turns to me. "Miss?"
"I'll have a tall soy latte." (Lactose intolerance
runs in the family, if you haven't guessed.)
We find a little table on the upper level in the midst of several
twentysomethings on laptops.