April 1, 2015

SOMETHING REAL Is Something Special

My last review was more rant than rave, so I wanted to talk a bit about a book I just finished and totally loved. If you haven't checked out SOMETHING REAL by Heather Demetrios, I strongly suggest you do. She's quickly becoming a fave. Here's the story:

There’s nothing real about reality TV.

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 and the scandal surrounding it, 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 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)




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There was so much to love about this book. I had heard great things about it, and after reading (and really, really liking) I'LL MEET YOU THERE, I had high hopes for this one as well. It definitely delivered. SOMETHING REAL had me laughing one minute (the voice and humour were fantastic), raging the next, and choked up after that. I love books that do that to me.

Perhaps my favourite aspect of this book was the relationships. I'm all about the romance in books, and this one was particularly swoonworthy (I adored Patrick), but surprisingly the relationship I loved the most was actually Chloe* and her brother Benton™'s. It was so, so good, you guys. This book was all about family dynamics--good, bad, and really, really ugly--and these moments with Chloe and Benton™ were especially funny and heartwarming. Close contenders were Tessa and Mer who were the best kind of besties. 

SOMETHING REAL called to mind "reality" TV shows like Jon & Kate Plus 8 (then the less popular, trimmed down version sans Jon, Kate Plus 8) and 42 Million Kids and Counting...or whatever that hot mess is called. Obviously there are questions about the rightness or wrongness of forcing kids to live like zoo animals in front of a camera for millions of viewers. This book explores that controversy through Bonnie™'s eyes and experience and consequently made me so ragey at times that I wanted to scream at certain characters in the book. (Specifically at her RealMom™, Kirk, and that mulleted f@$k named Chuck.) I thought the author did a fantastic job of portraying it like it probably is: There's very little real about reality TV.

There was one storyline that I wish we had been given more of at the book's conclusion (The One With the Legal Stuff), but this absolutely did not take away from my enjoyment of this book. And I suppose it's realistic to not have every single plot point tied up in a neat bow, right? All in all, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read that was especially tough to put down. I highly recommend it!



* Chloe = Bonnie™ (Just to clear up any confusion.)


9 comments:

  1. I can't wait to read this one!

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  2. Okay, I am so sold on this one. In the interest of preserving marital bliss, I'll check the library before ordering, but yes -- must read! Random: I've been working on Daphne's quilt the last few days and binge watching "Nineteen Kids & Counting" marathons (one of the girls just got married) and as bizarre as their practices are, there's something oddly charming about many aspects of that family's lifestyle. Not all (because they are WAY conservative), but who would've thought? ANYWAY. Thanks for the great review and for putting this one on my radar, Jaime!

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    1. I'm pretty confident you'll love this one, Katy. I'm seriously crushing on Heather Demetrios right now. Don't you love when you find a new author fave? It's funny that you felt that way about "Nineteen Kids & Counting" because I had a very similar reaction to it. (It's only recently that I'm seriously questioning things about this family/show.) I liked how the older kids all helped with the younger kids. And even though I know that not everything shown is 100% real or the way things always go, the kids seem like they're relatively well-adjusted all things considered. So, yeah. After reading this book, I definitely look at that show and others like it a little differently. Can't wait to hear what you think! :D

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  3. I really enjoyed this book as well. The mom got on nerves so much, though! I can see her POV, kind of, but forcing your kids to participate is so messed up. But all in all the story was great.

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  4. This one sounds like it's the whole package deal, so I'll have to add it to my TBR list. That means I should get to it in about five years (kidding) ;) I really need to read some contemporary soon because it's been a while, but you know how it is with so many awesome books to choose from. Great review!

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  5. I love this book so much. It definitely put her on my "insta-buy" list. And yes, I agree, the relationship with Benton™ was a huge part of what I loved about it. Without being too spoilery, there was a time when I was worried that he had been... um, less than loyal? and was so happy that it didn't turn out that way. This is one of those books that I wish I could read for the first time again. Great review!

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  6. I've been on the fence about adding this one to my TBR-list (fictionalized reality TV? eh...), but now I'm sold :) Thanks for the review!

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  7. SO good! Ah, I'm such a fan. Such great well-developed characters. I also love that this story was totally plausible even though it's set in a reality TV world. Oh, Patrick. What a swoonable boy!!

    Penelope
    Click here for Maid Service Warwick NY website

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