If you’re a book lover, you’ve probably already seen this cool little concept, perhaps in your own local bookstore, library, or even pictures of it online. “Blind Date With a Book” is probably the most common term for it, though I’ve also seen “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover.” Either way, it’s the same process; wrap up a book in plain, brown paper, making sure nothing on the book’s actual cover is visible. Then, a description of the book is written on the cover. That description, not the cover and blurbs created by the publishers to give the book a very specific image is what the reader uses to decide if they’ll take it home. As much as the publishers might feel annoyed at all their hard work getting covered up, for readers it can be a fun, unique experience
I myself just recently made one of my first Blind Date With a Book purchases. Maybe that seems a bit strange. I am a voracious reader after all, and spent plenty of money on books already. On the other hand, I am ridiculously shy when it comes to dating and romance, never one to make the first move. If I’m waiting for an inanimate object, even a book, to make the first move for me, it’s no wonder that it took me a while to try out a Blind Date With a Book.
Perusing the Blind Date books, I happened across one that caught my eye. The description said it took place between a group of nerdy friends at their first con (convention, like ComicCon, for the uninitiated.) That plus the mention of a same sex romance as one of the plot threads intrigued me, made me feel like this was more than just a silly YA Romance book, (I could tell from the description alone that it was certainly a YA book, anonymity be damned.) I’m also a huge fan of the general nerdy, Mecca-like gathering atmosphere some of the bigger conventions have, and I hadn’t really read too many books that used this setting before, so I was intrigued.
When I got home, I opened the books and found this:
To be honest, I’m not sure this is a book I would’ve picked out if it hadn’t been my blind date. Sure, I love the title, Queens of Geek. That sounds like it could be my official title, after all. Still, the pink cover and the fact that it was published by something called “Swoon Press,” probably would’ve turned me off. I’d had my fill of YA romances long ago, way before I left the target YA age range. Romance in general is not my favorite genre, and this book was definitely being sold on that YA Romance angle, with a slight nerdy twist.
On the other hand, the blind description focused on the nerd angle in part but also on the dynamics between nerdy friends and online creators. This isn’t simply another teen romance, although their were reference to the male love interest watching one of the female main characters through “his dark lashes.” A few choice lines like that gave me shuddering flashbacks to some of the pulpier vampire romances I read in my vampire makeout/Twilight phase, but this was a better book. It was well written, creating characters that were more than a sum of any cliches, nerdy or romantic, and really nicely captured the convention atmosphere, as well as the lives of the vloggers, bloggers and panel stars that come to these cons. I was pleasantly surprised and reminded that I could sometimes be too judgmental of books with heavy romantic story lines, especially in the YA realm. I couldn’t have learned that without my blind date.
Overall, my Blind Date With a Book went better than I’ve ever seen or heard of a blind date with an actual person go. I recommend you take advantage of this little novelty if you get the chance. If you already have tried it, I’m curious. How was your blind date? Did I just get lucky? Did you learn anything new about your tastes? Let me know in the comments below.