First thoughts: Ugh…you guys there were times when I wanted to throw this book across the room. Let’s be real, I absolutely loved this book, it’s AMAZING, but I absolutely hated the main character’s mother. Thankfully, my hatred for her desperate attempt at fame was totally overshadowed by my admiration for Chloe and my love for one Patrick Sheldon.
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, 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 that 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.
When we first meet Chloe she’s in the midst of her senior year of high school and finally feeling like things are falling into place after the cancellation of the reality show that brought her family fame and notoreity. She’s managed to stay under the radar and made a few close friends who have no idea about her infamous past. For the first time in her life she’s feeling cautiously optimistic but still struggles with trying to keep her famous upbringing a secret. Unfortunately, all that changes in an instant when her mother announces that the cameras are coming back for a second round.
Throughout this whole novel, I wanted to reach through the pages and shake Chloe’s mom. The woman had literally NO redeeming qualities and what she makes her children endure was beyond redemption. She never once considers the mental health or happiness of her children, and continues to push them further and further in the world of reality television. No privacy, no genuine quality-time together and certainly no lives outside of the confines of their 24/7 broadcast home.
Chloe starts off as a victim of circumstance but as the book goes on she finds strength from the loving and supportive relationship she has with her brother and the people she is closest to at school. It was so heartwarming to see how they rally around her to give her the strength she needs. Chloe has seen some dark days in her past and they help her to stay positive and move forward as she tries to overcome her (pardon my language) shitty surroundings. I absolutely adored the relationship Chloe had with her brother. The love and concern they had for each other made me connect with the characters even more…if I were in the same situation I’d be totally protective of my siblings too!
So we need to just take a moment to discuss Patrick Sheldon, Chloe’s long-time crush who turns out to be so much more than she ever imaged he could be. Throughout everything Patrick remains her constant and faithful friend. Unfazed by the cameras and constant attention, he connects with Chloe in such an honest and open way that allows her to truly explore what she wants out of life for the very first time. Patrick is one of those guys who just knows exactly what to say or do in the most awkward or tense situations. He’s such a perfect balance to the craziness that is Chloe’s life and I want to thank him for being exactly what she needed. You go boy!
This book was everything I expected it to be and more. I’d heard so much great buzz about it and was completely wrapped up in Chloe’s story after the very first chapter. Even though I never starred on a reality show (thank god!!), her character was so relatable that I couldn’t help but sympathize with her. I mean, could you imagine your ENTIRE life televised? Your most private, intimate and embarrassing moments caught on camera for the whole world to see?
Final thoughts: Run NOW to your local bookstore, library, online retailer…borrow it from a friend. Whatever you do, you must get your hands on this book ASAP! It’s an instant classic and is going to go right on my favorites shelf next to Open Road Summer, Anna and the French Kiss and Fangirl! As a matter of fact, I’m giving away my ARC of “Something Real” that I received from Estelle of Rather Be Reading, along with a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble.