Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Something Real - Heather Demetrios

Something Real book cover Heather Demetrios
Something Real by Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: February 4, 2014 (Grab your copy today!)
Source/Format: Publisher (Thank you!) || ARC
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show's cancellation, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it's about to fall apart . . . because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™'s mom and the show's producers won't let her quit and soon the life that she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before. (from Goodreads)

Something Real was absolutely riveting. It was impossible to set down after I'd started, so I read it all in one sitting. The story is infused with equal amounts dramatics and heart, mirroring the intensity of an actual reality TV show.

Reading Something Real inspired further reflection about what it's really like to be on a reality TV show. The pressures outlined, the invasiveness of having the cameras in your face for every.single.moment, the pseudo-celebrity status that makes it hard to form relationships -- all these things are just top of the list of cons of being a reality TV star. Of course, there are undeniable perks too -- the money, the fame, and the opportunities that come with the reputation. But really, Something Real felt like a true look into that aspect of the entertainment industry, with highs, lows and everything in between that viewers at home might not necessarily see.

Bonnie (also known as Chloe) is easy to empathize with. She's finally settling into a life where she feels free to be herself, form friendships and even entertain the idea of romance. But all that is upended when her mother decides to put their family on the air again. Bonnie/Chloe's struggle with being on camera again, and what that means for her life, is really heartfelt. Readers get the sense that she feels trapped, exploited and used. No doubt, I was rooting for her to find a way out of it -- without hurting anyone, of course.

Bonnie/Chloe has solid familial support from her older brother Benton, who understands her plight and wishes for the same freedom she wants. Otherwise, her siblings are basically barely around (which is understandable, as there are too many to account for at all times), and her mother, stepdad and dad are the worst. The love and support she ought to be getting from them, she winds up getting from her friends Tessa, Meredith and Matt (who prove that they're awesome with the lengths they go to protect and help her and Benton), and Patrick (a boy who loves Bonnie/Chloe for who she is, and not just what she's portrayed to be on TV).

The fact of the matter is, Bonnie/Chloe winds up getting exactly what the title declares by the end of her story: something real. Even though the book didn't show the full consequences of her actions, it did end on a note that felt true to what would happen. Something Real could not have concluded any better, leaving the rest of Bonnie/Chloe's life up to the reader's imagination. It might be early on in the year, but I can definitely say this was one of the best books I've read so far!

7 comments:

  1. Yay! I've been excited to read this one, and it sounds like it will be worth the wait. I'm really not a fan of reality TV shows, but I do find the whole behind-the-scenes aspect so fascinating. I have this on order at the library and cannot wait to dive in. Great review!

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  2. Such a unique concept for a book!! Great review!

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  3. So much buzz around this book. So much. I'm contemplating buying it... I wanted to buy one new release for my birthday but hmm... scared! Great review!

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  4. Been dying for this one - I'm so glad you loved it so much, Alexa. Unputdownable sounds pretty great to me. Thanks for the review!

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  5. I've been excited to read this for a while (I actually had it from NetGalley, but didn't read it before it archived) so I'm happy to hear it lived up to your expectations, when someone calls something "riveting" I definitely take notice! I can't wait to read it. Even though I don't want reality TV I think it's so intriguing. I read You Look Different in Real Life last summer hoping it would be a good look at that world (even though it's about a movie and not a TV show), but I was disappointed with it. And I loved Reality Boy, but that's kind of a different thing. I'm really hoping this one will be just right.

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  6. I was already pretty excited about this book, to be honest. And now I'm really REALLY excited. It sounds very much so like an Ashley book.

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  7. I'm so excited for this one (which you already know) and so, so excited that you sent it to me (<333) and even more excited now that I've read your review. That's a lot of excitement. But that's good. I love that this shows such an accurate view into the entertainment industry, and I'm really curious. I will let you know once I start so we can talk about it!

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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