The Real Real by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus

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Stars: *****

Summary: When Jesse O’Rourke gets picked for a “documentary” being filmed at her school in the Hamptons she’s tempted to turn down the offer. But there’s a tuition check attached to being on the show, and Jesse needs the cash so she can be the first in her family to attend college. All she has to do is trade her best friend for the glam clique she’s studiously avoided, her privacy for a 24/7 mike, and her sense of right and wrong for “what sells on camera.” . . . At least there’s one bright spot in the train wreck that is her suddenly public senior year: Jesse’s crush has also made the cast. As the producers manipulate the lives of their “characters” to heighten the drama, and Us Weekly covers become a regular occurrence for Jesse, she must struggle to remember one thing: the difference between real and the real real.

WOW! I received an ARC copy of this book from Good Reads. It’s the first YA novel by the bestselling authors of The Nanny Diaries. I’ve been focusing on nonfiction so much lately I haven’t read much YA but I’m glad I did. Although this book is for 14 and up, I think any young adult (up to 26 maybe) would enjoy it too. The characters live in The Hamptons of New York so their families either work near the rich and famous or work for the rich and famous (like cleaning their houses.) As the only “celebrity” I’ve ever met is Robert Munsch*, I can’t relate personally to this lifestyle. However the characters of Jesse and Drew, except for seeing celebrities around town, are a bit more like me.

The summary seemed interesting, especially since I watch reality TV. I know it’s not all real as they do makeup and wardrobe and change things to make sure people want to watch the show (like showing certain parts and not others etc..) but if reality TV is really like this book, I don’t ever want to watch another reality show again. I wasn’t in tears at the end but I had a terrible look on my face that would tell anyone seeing the face that I was horrified. I would never spoil an ending but I must say that this wasn’t a “oh that’s so horrible thank goodness it’s a book” look but a “oh that’s so horrible, this is happening to me, I’m the main character.. oh wait, no I’m not, it’s just a book” look. In case anyone can’t understand that, what I mean is, the book was so good, especially near the end, that I felt I was in it. This, to me, is what makes a fiction book a 5 star book. When I have to remind myself that it’s just a book, it’s a good book.

Something else that makes the book unique, is that instead of Chapter 1 or Chapter 4 it’s Reel 1 and Reel 4 and then later it changes and the last chapter heading changes again. They all make sense with the storyline.

I thought the characters were well thought out. I learned a lot about each one and we are shown things later on that we wondered about at the beginning. We see them at their best and their worst and everywhere in between. It is because of this that one character that I didn’t like in the beginning, I ended up liking (and I think you will too.)

* Don’t get me wrong, Robert Munsch is an awesome author, I just mean, that’s one out of how many famous people???

Others Reviews
Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf
Garden of Books (For Teens)

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.