Sunday, August 27, 2006

Review: Reality Chick by Lauren Barnholdt

Lauren Barnholdt's Reality Chick tells a story from inside one of those tell-all reality TV shows instead of what everyone else sees on television screens. In this entertaining novel, Ally Cavanaugh auditions for a show called In The House about students attending college in Syracuse, New York. To her surprise (she thought herself much too normal), she gets a spot on the show. Why, though? Perhaps it's the fact that she has a boyfriend who is a basketball star in Florida, and she's sure they're going to be together no matter what.

College would be different enough without the constant presence of the cameras, or the fact that everyone she knows can see every little detail of Ally's life every night on television. The only people who really know what it's like are her roommates: James, Simone, Drew, and Jasmine. She's also got her best friend, Grant, but she doesn't know if she can trust anyone else. Is it Ally's friendship they want or a chance to be on TV? Forget what they want--what does Ally want to do with her life?

Reality Chick is, yes, a story about a girl figuring out her life. Yeah, there are a ton of those, but this is an interesting twist. Ally Cavanaugh is figuring out her life while America watches it for entertainment! This is a fun read, well-written and with an l plot that is definitely part of the lives of people today--reality television is everywhere, and even if most of us are watching it on TV instead of living it, it's still something that is very familiar. Ally is also a character who's easy to relate to, and very believable. All of the characters in this novel are believable, and readers can see people they know in these fictional characters. No one here is exactly what they seem to be, either, which is also a lot like reality. And why shouldn't it be? They're all on reality TV.

Lauren Barnholdt grabs the reader's attention from the beginning, when Ally and Grant are trying out for In The House, to the end. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next, and the tidbits from 'Now' Ally made me even more eager to find out what happened 'Then.' Pick up Reality Chick as soon as possible! This book is definitely going on my 'favorites' shelf.

Rating: 9/10

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