author : heather demetrios
pages : [hardcover] 403
favorite characters : benny & chloe
memorable quote : You can’t screw up your own suicide and then expect the universe to give you presents wrapped in the skin of a wonderful boy. That’s just not the way it works.
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.
I typically wouldn’t pick up a book like this. I selectively watch reality TV but reading a book about it just didn’t sound very fun. Then I saw how high a rating this book had on Goodreads and I also know that Heather Demetrios is going to be in the area soon as I wanted to read some of her work. I’m really glad that I gave this book a chance. Something Real proves that you should sometimes reach for books outside of your reading comfort zone!
Bonnie™ has a trademarked name, a stepfather who seems a little too eager to get on camera, and twelve siblings, most of which have been adopted. Her life would be crazy enough if it weren’t constantly filmed to make the reality show Baker’s Dozen. Her life has been on screen so much that she refers to her memories as being in season thirteen or season seven instead of simply saying she was thirteen or seven when something happened. Before the scandal that cancelled the show, Bonnie hadn’t known a normal life. Even her birth had been filmed! Now that the show’s been off for four years, she doesn’t know if she’ll be able to handle it when her family takes over television again.
I really felt for Bonnie–or Chloe, as she preferred to be called when the show was off the air–because her descriptions of life on a reality show were giving me anxiety and I didn’t even need to live through them! Her most embarrassing moments have been captured in film, seen by millions, and are preserved forever. She constantly has cameras in her face and the paparazzi won’t even let her have a normal life outside of the house. Something Real also shows how reality shows aren’t so real after all. Producer Chuck is one of our villains in this story, micromanaging every scene and changing conversations and events so that the show can have product placements or create more drama that wouldn’t have genuinely happened.
I also really enjoyed the romance in this novel. Patrick is very swoon-worthy, simply from the way he looks after Bonnie and wants her happiness and safety above all else. Their relationship wasn’t perfect, something that added to the drama of the plot but also an aspect that made this contemporary romance more realistic. No relationship is perfect, especially one in high school where the two partners are plagued by paparazzi. There were scenes between Bonnie and Patrick that were just so incredibly cute, it added to their charm.
While I realize that it would have been impossible to feature all of Bonnie’s twelve siblings in the novel, I wish we’d gotten to know some of them better. Bonnie heavily converses with the two closest to her in age, twins Lexie and Benny. The others were young but I feel like they could have had individual character, not lumped into a generic crowd of kids doing childlike things.
I’d really recommend this book to anyone looking for a cute, fun read. This went by very quickly and had me fall in love with Heather Demetrios’ writing style. I’m definitely going to pick up more by this author!