Sunday, January 5, 2014

Something Real by Heather Demetrious

Something Real by Heather Demetrious
Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
Publication Date:  February 4, 2014
Date Read:  December 1, 2013

In the interest of full disclosure, I received an advance reader edition of this book from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

I may not fit into the Young Adult category myself but I certainly enjoyed this YA novel that explores the pressures of growing up with the pressure of Reality TV. The novel begins with the introduction of Chloe/Bonnie. We first meet Chloe as she is getting her photo taken at school. She is making plans with her friends and being a rather normal teen girl. When she goes home that day, she finds that the camera crews that she thought were a thing of her past, have not only returned but their return was kept secret. Chloe grew up as Bonnie Baker, one of the stars of the Reality TV show Baker’s Dozen. The show is back and Chloe has nothing to say about it. Since the show last aired 4 years earlier, her parents have divorced and her mother has remarried. We see Chloe try to deal with the pressure of always having to worry about cameras, paparazzi, tabloids, and TV producers asking her to wear what they want and say what they. In addition, she is dealing with the normal teenage life of making friends, falling in love, and learning what she wants out of life.

As I read this book, I empathized with Chloe. Being a teenager is hard enough without a camera filming your every move. I cannot image what it would be like to live my life inside Reality TV. I am so very glad that I grew up in a time before Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram….not to mention camera phones. If my high school friends had photographed and posted every crazy thing I did at that age, I am not sure that I would show my face in public even now. This book dealt with some interesting social issues. Should we really as a society sit down to watch a family’s pain while eating popcorn? Even if it is entertaining? Even if it makes us feel better about our own lives? Maybe we need to think about subjecting kids to this type of environment. Adults can make their own decisions but child have no say in whether they are a part of this type of show.

This book was well written and flowed quite smoothly. The characters were easy to relate to and the supporting characters were very well written. The only annoying thing that kept popping up in the book was the use of the trademark logo after the names of the Baker family. We understand that this family has sold their life to TV so there is no need to see the letters TM over and over again. This one flaw is easily overlooked. All in all this was a very good YA read. I would give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars is half stars were allowed. I look forward to future works by Heather Demetrious.

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