January 29, 2014

Review + Giveaway: Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Something Real
Author: Heather Demetrios
Release Date: February 4th 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt BYR
Page Count: 416
Source: ARC from Publisher (Thanks Macmillan!)
First Reaction: A very real and emotional look into the world of reality TV - that I absolutely loved.
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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

So Bonnie's name (and the name of all 12 of her siblings) is trademarked because she was on a reality TV show growing up. However, the show got canceled a couple years before this book starts because Bonnie had a breakdown. Now, just as Bonnie™ (now Chloe) seems to have gotten her life back together, the show's back on. Can Bonnie handle it? Or are things about to get really real? (This isn't a real question we all know things are about to get really real.)

I Liked:
  • The Family Drama: Obviously a reality TV show about a family would contain lots and lots of family drama. But I think what I most appreciated about this book is the complicated web of the drama and how well it was contained. There's everything with Chloe's sister and then with the mother and the step-father and even Chloe's biological father. There was so much going on an all of it contributed to Chloe's problems, but they never swallowed Chloe whole. The book remained about Chloe, who she is, and how she dealt with the the bad stuff - not about how she got eaten alive by it all. Which could have happened because there was a lot of insanity up in that house. 
  • Chloe: She just felt like a real person. And I think that's what really made this book. Because, for me, this was a book meant to show another side to reality TV shows. She's not meant to look plastic or like a starlet who has everything. She's meant to actually feel like a real person you might actually be able to have a relationship with. You, the reader, are meant to feel like Chloe is actually a Real Person on a Reality TV Show. (Which should be given, but as we know from this book, really, really isn't.)
  • The Humor/Heaviness Balance: This book is definitely heavy. Chloe goes through a lot of really miserable stuff. I mean, right from the start she basically has a panic attack taking a yearbook photo. But then there's the supporting cast - her brother Benton, his boyfriend Matt, Chloe's friends Mer and Tessa, and the love interest, Patrick - who really add a bit of love and laughter to the book. Chloe makes it pretty clear that she couldn't have managed any of this without them and I think that's also true for tone of the book. 
  • The Sibling Bond: Benton and Chloe are the best of all siblings. I mean, honestly, Benton is my favorite male in the book. Which is not to say I don't also love Patrick (Chloe's love interest), but Benton is what's up. He totally supports his sister and holds her up, helping her through her tough times when it's clear he has his own issues. And, y'know, Chloe definitely adores and supports Benton as well. It's really so very wonderful to see, especially when so many of Chloe and Benton's family members really can't understand Chloe and Benton's issues.
  • Patrick: OH HI MR. ADORABLE OH HOW I LOVE YOU. But, seriously, Chloe and Patrick are the most perfect. The way they fall together and manage to stay together is just right. Like, neither think the other is into them and assume all kinds of high school stereotypes about the other but then they break down that wall and get together just as everything starts sucking for Chloe again. Then it's really up to Chloe to fight for their relationship because Patrick is so totally there for her but he's not going to let her jerk him around and he wants her to choose him. So, basically, Patrick is the best for putting Chloe in the driving seat and Chloe is a beyond brave genius (who is slow on the uptake) for making the right choice re: Patrick.

I Didn't Quite Buy:
  • The Legalities and Money Stuff: I wasn't so sure about all of this. With all the books and whatever else, wouldn't Chloe's family have enough money? I guess there's probably contractual stuff, but I feel like this issue was never addressed, especially since Chloe doubts it herself. I also didn't totally understand the logistics at the end of the book. I won't say more than that because of spoilers and all that, but, well, yeah. Anyway, this is the most minor or all complaints in my opinion and 100% enjoyed this book otherwise - but if you love logistics this might not be the case for you.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Compelling, emotional, evocative, and all around fantastic.
World Building: I almost never watch reality shows because I never really believe there's any honesty there. This book supports that and shows the other side to all of the staged scenes you see on TV.
Character Development: I loved Chloe, Benton and all of the rest. They're all so raw and real yet totally relatable and funny all at the same time.
Prose: Definitely something real right here.
Would I Recommend This Book?: If you like realistic fiction or reality TV, this is the perfect book for you!

**I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinions - I promise!**


Macmillan VERY KINDLY provided me with an ARC of this book for me to review (in return for nothing, I swear). But since I love this one so much, I've decided to buy a copy for myself. So what I'm going to do is GIVEAWAY the ARC that was so kindly sent my way. It should also be noted that I'm going to Heather's launch event so I'll be able to get said ARC signed for the lovely winner of this giveaway!

Giveaway Rules: 

~ To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. DO NOT enter using the comments.
~ You must be 18 years or older or have a guardian's permission to enter.
~ The winners will be chosen randomly. Once chosen, the winners will be emailed. They will then have 48 HOURS to respond, otherwise another winner will be chosen.
~ The giveaway is US ONLY.
~ I reserve the right to disqualify anyone who tries to cheat the system. I WILL be checking the winning entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Do you watch a lot of reality TV, or do you usually change the channel like I do? Either way, I definitely want you to tell me all about your excitement for this book in the comments below!