Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: Something Real by Heather Demetrios

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I received this book for free from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Something Real by Heather DemetriosSomething Real by Heather Demetrios
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on February 4th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Raincoast Books
Buy on Amazon

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.

Not only is this a wonderful story, but it touches you from many angles: family, romance, friendship, homosexuality, privacy – just to name a few. It’s thought provoking and inspiring, with characters who are just plain genuine.

Chloe (aka Bonnie™) is a celebrity who was literally born into a reality show. This show, reminiscent of Jon & Kate Plus 8, was a real eye opener on how reality TV isn’t reality at all. Not only that, but they’re almost criminal in how they affect children who don’t even have a choice in the matter. Can you imagine your whole life chronicled for the world to see? Your childhood tantrums found with a simple Google search? It’s incredibly frustrating to see these kids’ lives manipulated – more like hounded – by the network, even more so to see their mother’s uncaring attitude towards their psychological welfare. I came to hate her with a passion. I understand needing to provide for your family, but was this really her only choice? And at what cost? I felt like she was doing it for selfish reasons more than not. You will want to slap her regularly while reading this, I guarantee it.

Impressively so, considering the high number, all the characters are fleshed out with personality and depth. Granted, most of the family are kids and thus have minor roles, but you can still feel their energy. We’re put right in the middle of the chaos, giving us a real sense of the weight and intensity of such a full house. We do get intimate with a couple of members, Benton especially, whom I adored completely. He and Chloe share this impenetrable bond that will make you wish you had a brother like him in your life. His fun loving personality and supportive nature makes him downright likeable. Aside from the family, we also have a couple of best friends who are spirited, kind, and understanding. And finally, a love interest who will leave your heart aflutter. Patrick is the escape that Chloe needs. The slice of life that is completely her own. She cares so much about him, though, that she would rather live with a broken heart than have him experience life with paparazzi vultures. While I understand why, I did wish she didn’t take the easy way out so much when it came to their relationship – the last time was one too many, I found – but it does make for some emotional moments.

Ultimately, this story is about Chloe’s longing for a normal life, and this is conveyed with powerful truths about today’s society. We come to understand her deep hatred for fame, for this destruction that is MetaReel. I loved how realistic she was, with simple – yet what felt like unreachable – hopes and dreams. She has to learn to stop being who she is expected to be, and become who she wants to be. The pacing is perfect. The ending is absolutely satisfying in all ways except for one: I wanted to see Chuck bleed! The last time he was outside threatening Chloe, telling her she wasn’t going to ruin his career and all that shady nonsense, I was certain she was getting it all on camera to show him a taste of his own medicine for once. It would have been soooo satisfying. But no. The ending doesn’t bode well for him, at least, so there’s that, but I wanted to experience his downfall! Gah!

Full of eye openers and emotional turmoil, Something Real challenges the way we look at Reality TV. Privacy is even becoming an illusion in today’s online world. This is without a doubt a must read for any contemporary fan!


4 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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27 Responses to “Review: Something Real by Heather Demetrios”

  1. Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    I like that this novel has a wide scope; I haven’t read many YA books that have managed to deliver on all fronts. I don’t blame you for being disappointed for Chuck not getting his ass whooped. Some authors are just too nice to their characters. 😉 Great review Giselle!

  2. Bethzaida (bookittyblog)

    This sounds great, Giselle. It also reminds me of this book I adored called Reality Boy by A.S. King. If you haven’t read it yet you should try it. It was amazing. I’m definitely giving this one a try.

    • Giselle

      I loved Reality Boy! This reminded me a bit of that but it has a completely different angle. This one is also not as… gritty? If you liked Reality Boy I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this one too!

  3. Glass

    Hmmm, I am not completely sold to the whole idea of this book, but I might give it a go if you say it’s that good.
    Great review.

  4. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I can imagine that a lot of that is very true to life, as well. The networks don’t really care about the individuals, they’re in it for the money. Plus, the parents are the ones who should be looking out for their kids but they’re the ones who agreed to do the show… Poor kids. Poor Chloe/Bonnie (can you imagine having your name trademarked?!?). Definitely want to read this one!

  5. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    Lovely review, Giselle. This has been getting so many great reviews and I’m excited to hear you loved it too. The characters sound wonderful. I love family-driven books and sibling relationships are the best. I’ll be getting a copy of this for myself soon.

  6. Amanda @ Book Badger

    This is a very positive review! I’ve seen some not so’s, but this has made me consider the whole thing just that little bit more. I’m not a reality TV show nut myself, I hate that stuff, I hate how it’s staged, how it’s fake reality and the whole thing surrounding it, but I might be swayed by your review to try this. It sounds fantastic with really good characters, some plot points to remember and that cover is really quite cute, I love it! Great review Giselle! 😀

  7. Kayla

    This sounds like an awesome book! Congratulations, your review and 4 hot espressos rating just added another book to my tbr shelf. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry…

  8. Megan Nicole

    I’ve been hearing a lot about this book lately! I like the fact that it gives you a behind the scenes look at Reality TV. I’ll definitely have to check this out sometime! Great review!

  9. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    This one’s been getting a LOT of great reviews and I love the idea of Chloe having to cope with being on a reality TV show for so long and pining away for any semblance of normality afterwards. This actually sounded super cute when I first saw the cover, but now I’m realizing it’s a lot more emotional and honest than it seems to be. Fantastic review, Giselle! <33

  10. Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

    This sounds really interesting Giselle! I agree…it does somewhat sound reminiscent of Jon and Kate Plus 8; and I loved how you talked about how eye-opening this one is. (“Not only that, but they’re almost criminal in how they affect children who don’t even have a choice in the matter. Can you imagine your whole life chronicled for the world to see? Your childhood tantrums found with a simple Google search? It’s incredibly frustrating to see these kids’ lives manipulated – more like hounded – by the network, even more so to see their mother’s uncaring attitude towards their psychological welfare.“)

    Definitely going to have to check this one out! Thanks so much for sharing Giselle, and, as always, brilliant review! <3 Hope your next read is just as good!

  11. Pili

    I thought that this was an interesting premise when I read the synopsis, and it seems clear after reading your review that it is something that I need to add to the TBR list!
    Thanks for a great review, Giselle!

  12. Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    This synopsis hooked me at once when I first came across it, and I’m really glad you enjoyed it and that it tackles a lot of topics. This Chuck guy sounds like an ass and I’m so ready to hate him with you, Giselle!

  13. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    Yeah, this is a YA contemporary that I’ve had my eye on that I’m still hopeful about (most of the recent ones have turned out to be AWFUL). So I’m glad you liked it too! Despite wanting to throw some slaps around 😉

  14. Vi

    Oh, this one sounds good. I’ve always been interested in like family-based reality TV, altho I don’t watch many, but it sounds like the way this author portrays it is done well. I’ll def have to give this a try!

  15. Melliane

    I don’t think I’ve ever read something about reality shows but I confess I’m curious now because it’s something complex and I know it’s tricky for the persons later. Thanks for the nice discovery!

  16. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    I really enjoyed this one too. I actually gave it to my daycare provider to read after I finished it because I thought it would be something she would enjoy. I felt so bad for the kids, and was so angry with the producers. It was able to get those emotions out of me, which not many books can actually make me feel that deeply. Great review pumpkin!!

  17. Rashika

    I totally added this book to my TBR list because of your review. I am not a huge fan of ‘media’ so I wasn’t sure about wanting to read this book at first but … I am curious.

    Lovely review, Giselle!! 🙂