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Reality Check

A book by Jen Calonita

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Fun Look at Reality TV in a Small Town

  • Jun 28, 2010
Spoilers. Who wouldn't want $10,000 an episode to hang out with their friends, shop, talk about boys and be themselves? That's why friends Charlie, Brooke, Kieran and Hallie sign up to be on The Cliffs, set in their small beach town. Even though the reader can immediately tell trouble is impending, watching it unfold in Calonita's hands is entertaining. Charlotte "Charlie" Reed soon finds Brooke's jealousy over her starring role unbearable, while her big crush doesn't want fame and the show soon interferes with their budding relationship. We see how easily one stray line or tiny crack in a friendship can be escalated and highlighted, and Calonita gets at each girl's Achilles heel.

Reality TV is pretty easy to skewer and some of the plotlines are things the reader can't help but wonder why the girls don't see, but as the show premieres and they do become the celebrities gossiped about in US Weekly they've wanted to be, and are threatened with breach of contract if they don't live up to the promised drama, the best writing comes out. In many ways, the mean girl steals the show, and while you're rooting for Charlie, the machinations of those who want fame above all else are highly entertaining. A perfect example of "Be careful what you wish for."

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Rachel Kramer Bussel ()
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Member Since: Feb 19, 2009
Last Login: Aug 26, 2010 04:25 PM UTC
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About this book


When a scouting media executive offers small-town girl Charlie Reed her own reality-television show, she naturally has some doubts. But her three best friends, Brooke, Hallie, and Keiran, quickly convince her that the hefty paycheck and celebrity hobnobbing are totally worth it. Outnumbered, Charlie reluctantly agrees, but it isn't long before the real drama ensues. First, bossy Brooke turns into a total diva, trying to grab the spotlight from Charlie and her other besties. Then, Charlie's blossoming romance with shy crush Zac wilts when he refuses to appear on camera with her. Finally, when the girls discover that they've been misled about everything from their contracts to how scripted the show would be, they put their perfectly coiffed heads together to hatch a plan to get their lives back. Calonita provides the kind of dishy, behind-the-scenes details and name-dropping that reality-television junkies crave. Fans of Meg Cabot's Airhead series and Calonita's Secrets of My Hollywood Life (2006) will eat this fun, timely, cautionary tale right up. Grades 7-10. --Jennifer Hubert
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ISBN-10: 0316045543
ISBN-13: 978-0316045544
Author: Jen Calonita
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Poppy
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