Tuesday, 30 December 2014

I Read... Something Real by Heather Demetrios

I usually have anywhere from 3-6 books sitting on my night stand, partially read.  If something is so good that I can't put it down, I stay up all night finishing it.  Some recent books that have fallen into this category have included all of Gillian Flynn's books, Paper Towns, and Is Everyone Having Fun Without Me?.  Something Real by Heather Demetrios had been in the pile for a few months.  It was an nice easy read, but I kept finding something else and found myself putting the book on the back burner.  The other night I decided to read a few chapters, and I ended up finishing three quarters of the book in one sitting.

First of all, I will point out that this is YA Fiction.  As an English teacher, I tend to read a lot of YA so that I know what my kids are reading and so that I have good recommendations to pass on to them.

From Amazon:
Seventeen-year-old BonnieTM Baker has grown up on TV - she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit show Baker's Dozen.  Since the show's cancellation, BonnieTM 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.  BonnieTM'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.  BonnieTM 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.

Overall, I liked the book.  It was an interesting premise that drew me in- with reality TV so prevalent, it is easy to wonder what is really going on behind the scenes.  This definitely had shades of the Gosselin family (of "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" fame)- a large family, a father who cheats and disappears, a controlling mother who seems more interested in fame than the well-being of her children.  I particularly found the story of Bonnie/Chloe's brother Benton readable- Benton is a thoroughly likeable character who comes off as realistic.  His storyline adds warmth to the story without coming off as preachy.

For me, the cons were in some of the characters.  Bonnie/Chloe can come off as whiny and annoying.  While it is easy to empathize with her situation, she is immature and I wasn't always rooting for her to win.  Her boyfriend Patrick, on the other hand, is far too perfect.  He has no character flaws to speak of- aside from being a clingy pushover who seems to live only to serve his girlfriend- so I wasn't drawn to him as a character, nor was I interested in the relationship between him and Bonnie/Chloe.

Overall, I think that this would interest a lot of readers.  If you've ever wondered what happened after your favourite reality show was cancelled, or what happens when the cameras aren't rolling, this will give you a glimpse into that world.  You can check out the first two chapters here.

Food for Thought... What are your thoughts on reality TV?  Specifically, what do you think about underage children on reality TV shows?  Is it exploitation?  Or is it creating opportunities for these children?

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