Something Real Review

By Heather Demetrios
Published on February 4th 2014
Published by Henry Holt BYR
Source: Publisher
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.

This book took my heart out, stomped on it, and then ruthlessly shoved it back into my body.  I was fully expecting this book to be light, fluffy, and maybe even a little dumb (let's be honest here- it is about reality tv).  What I got was a sometimes painful, always poignant look at what it is like to be growing up with some very seriously problems in front of an entire nation.

Bonnie has been living in front of the camera for her entire life.  She and her twelve brothers and sisters make up the cast of Baker's Dozen- a reality show that looks like John and Kate Plus 8 and 19 Kids and Counting.  Now, I have no idea what their lives are actually like, but for Bonnie- the show is just that, a show.  Plenty goes on behind the scenes that is carefully hidden from the public.  Bonnie goes through so much heartache in this book.  It is so painful to read.   Her pain is palpable (and my disgust with a lot of the characters is just as real).

The author writes bad characters really really well.  I didn't think it was possible to hate the adults in this book as much as I did.  They did so much that was so very very wrong that it gave Bonnie a very skewed idea of what was right.  It took Bonnie's friends to show her that her normal wasn't actually the normal that she has the right to live.  It was so sad to read how she viewed her siblings and wondered, "Was I not good enough?"  I imagine that is a very real feeling in a family with adopted children.  Sadly, Bonnie is not allowed to express her pain- even when driven to the extremes.

This book is Bonnie's journey- of moving away from what she has known and finding her own value and self-worth outside of her family.  She breaks away from the identity her family has given her and becomes her own person.  If you choose any contemporary book this year- THIS is the book you need to read!

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