Review

Something Real

Something Real

Something Real

by Heather Demetrios

Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: Febuary 4th, 2014
by Henry Holt and Co.

four-half-stars

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Summary:

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.

Review:

Whether it’s Facebook photos, blogs, or reality TV, it’s like nobody is content to just live life. The worth of our existence seems to be measured in pixels and megabytes and “likes.” Those of use whose lives can be downloaded seem to have the most value.

How is it possible for a book to make you feel so many different emotions all at the same time? I don’t really know how, but somehow Heather Demetrios managed it. I felt so many vivid and conflicting emotions all at the same time in a mere 400 pages.

Hate is a lot like love. It’s warm and fills you up until every part of you is tingling to release it.

What would it be like if you couldn’t even be called by your real name anymore? What if you had to be called by a completely different name that you absolutely hated?

17-year-old Chloe Baker (“Bonnie™”) is furious when her mother announces that their family’s reality TV show Baker’s Dozen (think Kate Plus 8, but with 13 children) will be back on air. All Bonnie™ wants is to have a normal life: hang out with her friends, attend school, have a boyfriend. But how is a normal life possible when you’ve got cameras filming your every move?

As a protagonist, I sympathized with Chloe completely. Her desire to be a normal teenager, and not have to be constantly followed by cameras, was heartbreaking and realistic. I just couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to have to be documented for your whole life.

I loved the emphasis placed on friendship throughout the story. It was a unique focus and I won’t hesitate to see that it’s not something specifically common in YA literature, but I found it fantastic. Chloe and her older brother Benny have a fantastic relationship, as do Chloe and her best friends Tessa and Mar.

Best of all, though, Something Real really makes you think about reality TV. What would it be like to have to go through something like this for 17 years? To have some of your most personal moments visible to the entire world with simply the click of a Google search button? Is the fame really worth it? Is it really as good as it seems?

four-half-stars

40 thoughts on “Something Real

  1. Wonderful review, as always! I got this book from the library and was overwhelmed by it’s thickness haha. I don’t think there’s ever a good enough reason for contemporary books to be that long. Glad you enjoyed it =)

  2. Eep. Ignore that last comment. >_<
    I think that awesome cover would draw me in, and even the synopsis sounds intriguing. Also, Patrick is totally swoon-worthy, based on your description, and her mom sounds like a complete asshole. Brilliant review! (love the gifs)

  3. Love the review! I’ve never heard of this one either, but I desperately want it now. I love the differently quirky contemporaries and this one sounds incredible. I can’t imagine living your life on everyone’s TV screens, then again it wouldn’t really ever be living. It sounds incredible though, can’t wait to read it. Amazing review Zoe!

    1. It is DEFINITELY incredible! Me either…it just sounds horrible! My heart goes out to children on reality TV shows – especially the kids on Kate + 8. Glad it sounds like something you’d like though!

      Thank you Kelly! <3

  4. Ha! It is the best kind of feeling to love something like this 😀 GIMMMMMEEEE ALL THE EMOTIONS!!!! and yay for great main characters as well as awesome secondaries. I feel like quite often it can be one or the other that ruins a book, but with great characterization skills an author can make even the suckiest plots work with awesome characters. I love this premise though. AND SWOON? Yes, please 🙂 I’m so happy that this book was amazing in your eyes, Zoe! Lovely review, girl! 🙂

    1. Yes! I haven’t felt this way about a book in such a long time…it’s AWESOME! Emotion-packed books are always my favorite! Yeah, slightly underdeveloped secondary characters are typically what makes a book switch from a 4 star to a 3 star read to me – they’re really important to me – so it was great to see the author nailed them!

      Thank you Siiri! If you end up getting a copy, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! <3

  5. oh the book sounds awesome, I’m glad you had such a great time with it. I heard about it but it was a quite mixed review so I’m glad it was like that for you. It sounds really intense and I love when we feel so many things during the reading. Thanks for the review!

    1. It is definitely an intense read, and the emotion aspect was the best part in my opinion!

      Thank you for the lovely comment! <3

  6. I absolutely want to read this. *drools over it on Goodreads again* I’ve heard RAVING things about it, and omg, the characters sound amazing! But…but that mother. I think my feels are going to be evoked and not in a fun way…in the, let’s-give-her-a-high-five-in-the-face-with-a-chair way, I think.

    1. Muhaha…glad I got you interested in this one Cait! 😉 The reviews have been quite positive, haven’t they? I’m honestly surprised there aren’t more people who has read this one!

      Well-developed characters are awesome, right! 😀

      Yes, by all means, be my guest and high-five her with a chair. 😉

  7. This is seriously such a unique concept, although it feels a little like a mix between Cheaper by the Dozen, Keeping up with the Kardashians and Honey Boo Boo. When I think about reality tv that follows people around, it reminds me of animal documentaries. I really like the idea behind this book, and from the way you’ve explained the plot and the characters, this book sounds like a pretty realistic portrayal of what could potentially happen in such a situation. I’m really looking forward to picking up a copy now, thank you for sharing this review Zoe! <3

    1. Yeah, now that I think about it…it IS kind of a mash up between those 3! 😀 I’ve never thought of reality TV like that, but it IS kind of like an animal documentary in a way. It’s definitely realistic! (A scene from the book actually just happened in real life with Kate + 8’s older twins!)

      Yeah! Glad you’re going to read it! Thank you for the lovely comment Joy! <3

  8. I would hate to be on a reality TV show, but wow, 17 years? that’s even more awful. That’s great you loved this one so much. I keep hearing good things, so I’m even MORE curious to check it out.

    -Lauren

  9. Awesome review, Zoe! I’ve never heard of this book before but now I am definitely interested. I know what you mean about reality shows… even I would want to escape the spotlight after doing it so long. There’s just so much public exposure one can take. I personally commend the people who continue doing it despite the public scrutiny that they will receive, despite the fact that there is no more such as privacy for you.

    In any case, this sounds like an intriguing read, and I really want to feel the same feels you experienced! Putting this on my TBR list!

    1. Yeah! Glad you’re interested Faye! 😉 I definitely agree. It might be fun at first, but after a long time it might just wear you out. It makes people who are able to stick with it 13+ years even more impressive! 😀

      Let me know when you get a copy and what you think!

  10. I almost never watch reality tv, but somehow I don’t think that will keep me from connecting to Chloe. This really does sound fantastic. I love the focus on friendship, and I’m always a sucker for a good sibling relationship.

    Excellent review, Zoe! PS–Flipped was AMAZING (I bought like 5 extra copies to give to friends and sisters).

    1. I don’t watch much reality TV either, and I completely connected to Chloe. It’s always great to find positive friendships and great sibling relationships in YA! 😀

      Thank you Jessica! (Yeah! Glad you liked Flipped too! It’s one of my all-time favorites!)

  11. I love how this one has a really awesome sibling dynamic and focuses heavily on friendship *runs around like a puppy because those are the two best things EVER* lol but i have added this one to my TBR pile because now i’m postivie i need to read it. I also do like how it’s about reality TV, i haven’t read too many books with that setting so this seems like
    Lily@Lilysbookblog

    1. It’s always great to find positive friendships and great sibling relationships in YA – especially as they’re not necessarily the norm! 😀

      Glad this sounds intriguing Lily! Reality TV isn’t something you’d normally encounter in a YA book, but it’s really well done as a setting!

    1. Haha…glad I wasn’t the only one! I’m with you – that didn’t keep me from absolutely loving the romance either! Thank you!

  12. The premise of this book sounds awesome!! Like seriously, I have no idea under that tittle is a story like this one. It’s certainly an interesting perspective to portray teenage reality TV stars who struggles at the famed lifestyle. Chole seems like someone I would be friends with 😀 Definitely adding it to my TBR! Thanks Zoe <3

    1. It’s certainly an awesome storyline, isn’t it? From looking at the cover and reading the title, that wasn’t what I guessed it was about either, but it definitely surprised me! She’d definitely be a good friend! 😉 Thank you Angel for always leaving the sweetest comments! Hope you end up enjoying it!

  13. I’ve always been interested in this one but never really thought twice about it or committed to reading it. So I definitely agree about your on a whim thing! The characters seriously sound so great and good characters are what make a book for me so that’s exciting to know! Definitely sounds like a fun read, I’m glad you enjoyed it 😀 <3

    1. Haha…books being bought on a whim are always the best! 😉 Characters make the book for me too, so it’s awesome to find some great ones here! Thank you Alise! <3

  14. Wooah, his sounds awesome! It sounds like something I would be super hesitant on, but you make it sound great. I’ve never read a book focussing on reality TV (unless you count The Hunger Games, but that’s different :P)
    Great review, Zoe!

    1. Yeah! Glad it sounds intriguing Bea! Haha…I suppose The Hunger Games is a bit different type of reality TV than this one – LOL! 😉

      Thank you!!

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