Title: Something Real
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Henry Holt
Check this book out on Goodreads.
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, 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 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. 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. (Source: Goodreads)
Bonnie™ Baker grew up on TV, but she’s been off reality tv for 4 years now, and suddenly her mother wants them to start a new show. She’s been trying to hide her past from everyone she knows and the new show is going to ruin that. It’s also going to ruining her budding romance with fellow student Patrick. The show also drags up bad memories and brings the father that abandoned her, and her 12 siblings, back into the picture. Bonnie™, who calls herself Chloe, has to try and fight her way out of the cage that has become her life.
I was a huge fan of Demetrios after reading I’ll Meet You There, which was one of my favourite books of the year so far, so I was a little let down when I didn’t love Something Real. That’s not to say that I didn’t like the book, I just think it didn’t have the emotion and bang of I’ll Meet You There. I liked the concept but I don’t think I really connected with the content or the characters in quite the way I would have hoped to. I felt like the voice was a little off-putting for me, while the content itself was interesting, but I just couldn’t connect to it. I think I would have liked it more if this was the first book by Demetrios that I had read.
Something Real follows 17 year old Chloe/Bonnie as she struggles to balance private and personal lives while living on a reality TV show. I think the concept of getting an inside look at reality television and seeing the process from the inside, particularly the sort of destructive power of the situation was fascinating. What I think really lacked was the feeling that I felt in Demetrios’s other work. I didn’t feel for the characters. So while their story was interesting, the content just missed me completely because the heart wasn’t there. I think Demetrios made some excellent points about the wrongness of our universal reality TV obsession it sort of got drowned out in the whining and humdrum of the everyday in what was mostly a sort of boring teenage slice of life.
I didn’t really connect with Chloe the way I thought I should. I am an extremely private person, to the point if being a mystery to significant others sometimes, so I felt for Chloe but I didn’t really get her. There’s some introspection but it lacks any depth, it felt sort of shallow and lifeless compared to characters in Demetrios’s other work. I liked. Chloe just fine, but I didn’t really connect with her. I don’t think there was a single character I really got to understand or care about at all in the whole book? which was disappointing the romantic interest, Patrick, didn’t really do it for me. I thought there some cute bits but overall he seemed like sort of atypical hipster douche to me. Nothing about him really screamed out to me. I think he has some pretty cute moments, but overall not great.
The writing was fairly good. I had some trouble with the narration, I wasn’t a huge fan of Chloe’s voice so it made the book a little difficult to read. I think overall, there were times where I was impressed and times where I really wondered why I was reading this book. The tone was often a bit whiny valley girl and not so great for me.
I think Demetrios made some great points in this book about reality TV but it just sort of missed the mark in the long run. probably would recommend reading this first and then I’ll Meet You There.