Something real

Heather Demetrios

Book - 2014

Since the cancellation of her family's reality television show, seventeen-year-old Bonnie Baker, one of twelve siblings, has tried to live a normal life with real friends and a possible boyfriend, until her mother and the show's producers decide to bring "Baker's Dozen" back on the air.

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New York : Henry Holt and Company 2014.
First edition
Physical Description
406 pages ; 22 cm
Main Author
Heather Demetrios (-)
Review by Booklist Review

Bonnie"! Baker had been on the reality show Baker's Dozen her whole life until it folded after Bonnie's suicide attempt four years ago. Since then, the family has started over in California (Bonnie's dad has left and her mom, Beth, has remarried), and Bonnie, now Chloe, is incognito. It even feels safe to start a relationship with her crush, Patrick. Then, a shock! Beth re-ups Bonnie and her 12 siblings for a new season Baker's Dozen: Fresh Batch. Books about kids on reality shows are a recent minitrend, but first-time novelist Demetrios does a particularly good job of capturing this phenomenon, wrapping it in both sleaze and excitement. Bonnie and her gay brother, Benton"!, are the focus, and their considerable anguish, especially when it comes to paparazzi and missing-in-action parents, is palpable. Meanwhile, Bonnie's romance with understanding Patrick is so sweet that readers won't mind that no such teen boy exists in reality. Interview transcripts and episode excerpts heighten the reality of this smart, funny book that kids will binge read, sorta like watching a Teen Mom marathon.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2014 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Given the oversaturation of reality television and the strength of the celebrity gossip industrial complex, Demetrios's addictive yet thoughtful debut, about a teenage TV star in search of normalcy, comes as a welcome reprieve. Chloe Baker ("BonnieT" to viewing audiences) grew up as a young star of Baker's Dozen, a cross between Big Brother and Jon & Kate Plus 8. MetaReel Productions tracked her family's every move for years until Chloe attempted suicide at age 13; four years later, Chloe's mother has agreed to let the cameras back into their lives. Unlike Chloe's 11 siblings, many of whom were adopted from around the globe, Chloe and her closeted brother, Benny, aren't ready to rejoin the media circus. Though there's plenty of prime time-worthy drama, the book isn't all paparazzi chases and trash-talk dished out in interviews with producers. Instead, Demetrios smartly focuses on Chloe and Benny's fight to fit in, pursue romantic relationships, and be their real selves while trying to maintain a sliver of privacy. A natural follow-up for fans of A.S. King's recent Reality Boy. Ages 12-up. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-It's been four years since the reality television show Baker's Dozen went off the air. Bonnie Baker, 17, feels lucky to have survived the tension and challenges from constantly being in the limelight with her 12 siblings. Incognito, she now attends a new high school as Chloe. The teen has two best friends and even the sweet security of her first boyfriend, Patrick. Slowly but surely, Bonnie has moved beyond the stigma of being the 13-year-old who took an overdose of pills due to the stress and frustrations of the show, her parents' divorce, and the never-ending paparazzi lens. But neither the show's owner, MetaReel, nor the photographers have forgotten her family, and claiming they need the money, her mother and stepfather have contracted with MetaReel to go back on the air for another round of "reality." Bonnie is floored when her identity is revealed and her personal life is again overshadowed by national scrutiny. She struggles to break away from the clutches of the camera one last time, even if it ultimately means filing a lawsuit with the help of Patrick, her two best friends, and brother Benny (who was forced to come out about his boyfriend on the air). With likable protagonists and snappy dialogue, Something Real credibly zooms in on reality TV's impact on unwilling subjects-a shoo-in for teens drawn to contemporary romance and drama. It will especially attract those who liked the similarly compelling reality show fictional exposes Reality Boy by A. S. King (Little, Brown, 2013) and The Real Real by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (HarperCollins, 2009).-Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, CO (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Horn Book Review

Chloe Baker has worked hard to distance herself from her past as one of twelve children on a reality television show. Now her mom and stepdad have agreed to resurrect the show, and Chloe must confront the pain and betrayal she feels about being forced to live life on camera. Like reality TV, this is a diverting, drama-filled read without much depth. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

This chilling satire follows one teenager's efforts to escape from the reality TV franchise financially supporting her large family. Chloe's suicide attempt abruptly ended her family's 19 Kids and Countingstyle reality show. During the following four camera-free years, she changed her name and overcame debilitating panic attacks, successfully concealing her fame. Now a high school senior on the cusp of a new romance, Chloe panics when an invasive new reality show contract exposes her identity. Genuinely terrified of exposing herself and her friends to public criticism and humiliation, Chloe begs for privacy. The convincingly malevolent program producer responds with threats of financial ruin for the entire family, and Chloe's monstrous mother dismisses the requests as selfish teen rebellion--even implying that Chloe's suicide attempt ruined the family. In her real life, Chloe longs for her family's acceptance, but their continual refusal to consider her needs leads to periodic outbursts of frustrated rage--which are then cited as evidence of her instability. Throughout the frustrating cycle of absurdity, Chloe's unflinchingly raw voice avoids didacticism as she grapples with privacy in the modern age. Discussions of Orwell's 1984 in her civics class also provide surprisingly natural opportunities for readers to consider how their own media-consumption habits may be contributing to a culture that seems disinclined to value others' right to privacy. Sobering and thought-provoking ideas wrapped in an engaging plot. (Fiction. 12 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.