Book Talk: Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Book Talk: Something Real by Heather DemetriosSomething Real by Heather Demetrios
Published by Henry Holt & company on February 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: I'll Meet You There
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



Chloe, aka Bonnie Baker, has grown up in the spotlight. Her whole childhood was on display for the whole world on the hit reality show Baker’s Dozen (aka John & Kate plus 8 but like even more kids). The show got cancelled and it was a pretty juicy scandal surrounding it that affected her family in huge ways. It’s been years since the show has been off year and Chloe has finally started to lead a normal life. Until Chloe finds out that the Baker’s Dozen is making a comeback and she’s being made to participate in it. Fearing being on the show again will take away the life that she is currently loving (and the friends and crush), she sets out to free herself from it.

a2*wants to study all the things about reality tv culture, the psychology behind why we like it, etc. etc.* ALSO, SWOON ATTACK.


I’ve been a reality show addict since forever (Survivor, Big Brother, The Voice, The Real World, Sister Wives, etc. etc.) so OF COURSE I was interested in this one seeing that it is about a family who became famous for having their own reality show. I’m backwards so I read Heather’s I’ll Meet You There first (SOOOOO GOOD) and then tackled this one which is her debut! It was such a good story and definitely surprised me. I think I’ll Meet You There is still my favorite because FEELS but I could not put this one down at all and it made me think A LOT about reality tv. It was also a bit of fun because it reminded me a lot of Jon & Kate Plus 8 SOOO MUCH — similar family with lots of kids kind of show, parental unit meltdown, the comeback to reality tv for the mother. Fun fact: one of my college friend’s babysat for Jon & Kate before they were on the show and she said she was a real douchecanoe even back then.

I’ve always wondered and thought about the kids who grow up on some of these reality shows and Something Real explores that with a family whose whole lives have unfolded in front of the camera and they’ve dealt with the fame and the pressure and the effects of life in the spotlight. We get to see mostly how it has affected the oldest two and how hard it has been for them to adjust in the years that they’ve been off the show — only to get thrown back into it against their own will just when everything has been GOOD. You really get a sense of how hard it is to be in the spotlight. Sure, there are perks, but EVERY THING becomes about your brand and your whole life is just this transparent thing for the world to consume and pick apart. I loved how we see how different members of the family respond to it all (because not everyone shared Chloe’s feelings) and I felt like it’s what I’d imagine it to be like behind the scenes. It also made me reflect on some of these shows and how some of these kids have NO CHOICE and what it could do to them in the present and future. How will it affect them? Will they regret having their whole childhood lived before the world’s eyes? Do they even want to do it? I’m fascinated by it all and made me truly consider if I want to watch reality shows like that with kids in them.

I loved the exploration of the family dynamics — the relationship between a mother who is forcing her child to participate in something she doesn’t want to do again because it’s been traumatic in ways, the relationship with a father who left after his affair was outed for the world to see, the relationship between two sisters who have grown apart as a result of it all and the sweetest brother and sister relationship that became the saving grace in all this. Seriously Benton and Chloe’s relationship was the BEST…so if you are looking for strong sibling relationships…check this one out!

ALSO: THE ROMANCE. When I was reading I tweeted this (with the accompanied gif): “Patrick Sheldon from Something Real is just absolutely making my heart melt from his sweetness.”


But really, if you like non-boring nice dudes and a genuinely sweet romance….you will be weak in the knees for Patrick Sheldon!

I think the best part about this book is that it surprised me. Totally. Firstly, it surprised me because I thought it was going to be just a fun, quick read to tickle my reality show loving heart but it had a lot of depth and emotion that it just made it go so much more beyond that. I really felt like I knew how awful it all was for them.  Secondly, it surprised me because I thought I had this book’s number. I thought I knew how it was going to unfold and end ultimately but it SURPRISED ME. In a good way. A VERY good way.


factors+ plot, characters, romance, how it went a bit deeper than I thought it would
–  Nothing really. We all know I’m just stingy about handing out Beyond Loved ratings.

Re-readability: Maybe!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Already have one!

a5reality show addicts, contemporary YA fans, people who want a book that’s emotional but not rip-your-heart-out emotional, readers who love juicy family dynamics, readers looking for strong sibling dynamics, readers who love the nice guys in their romance

a8Something Real was a surprise! I knew I’d like it but it was even more than I’d imagine. Great characters, a great concept for a plot, a romance you’ll root for and such an empowering story of a girl taking charge of her own life. It’s one I get why it was so popular amongst contemporary YA fans and even people who rarely read contemporary alike! It also made me think A LOT about how I consume the lives of others with reality tv, gossip sites, etc and just the whole idea of it and why we like it/what is harmful about it in some case.



a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
*Did you think it was going to end like that if you’ve read it?? (SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT: I thought it would so end with a reconciliation of some sort but I was SO pleased with the ending.
*What other strong sibling dynamics have you loved in books??



The Perpetual Page-Turner

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Love this review. Like you, I’ll Meet You There was my first book read by this author. This one is on my TBR though!

    • It’s so excellent! Highly recommend especially since you also like I’ll Meet You There. Maybe not as intense as that one but still so good!

  2. Just heard about this book last week – Great review! Can’t wait to read it!

  3. I read this one right after I finished I’ll Meet You There and loved it. I was in a huge YA contemporary funk and this author got me out of it 🙂 Also, I loved the ending in Something Real, it was very believable.
    Anyway, my favorite book series dealing with sibling dynamics is Addicted series by Krista & Becca Ritchie.

    • She is SUCH a great new voice in the contemporary scene! I’m going to be recommending her A LOT.

      And yes, I LOVED THE ENDING TOO. I think that I thought the mom would realize the error of her ways (how I predicted it to end) but this ending was SOOOOO much better. So realistic and right for the story.

      Ooh and must check out your recs! Thanks!

  4. I loved this book! The sibling relationship was definitely my favorite part of it too! Another book that had the same premise is REALITY BOY by Gerald Faust. I read it around the same time and really liked it too.
    My review of both:

  5. As soon as I read “strong sibling relationship” I was sold. I love books with siblings, especially if there relationships are super awesome! The reality show aspect has me intrigued as well. I’ve never been a huge reality show person, but the reality behind the reality show (if that makes sense) definitely has me curious. Adding this to my wishlist, great review as always!

    • Yes there are so many interesting dynamics at play in this book but the siblings stole my heart. We don’t get to interact with most of the siblings (super young) but the main relationships we see a lot of are one that is close (the brother and sis) and one that is strained (the older sisters). I think you’ll love it! And yeah, that makes total sense!! I always wonder how much is real or scripted on my reality shows. how much is for the show. etc.

  6. I’m not huge on reality TV but there are some shows, like J&K+8, that totally had me OBSESSED. (I always have to know what the Duggar clan is up to – their lives are just crazy to me!)

    I bought this one a while back and have seen lots of positive reviews but haven’t gotten to it yet. I’m glad to hear you loved it; maybe I can get going on it soon! I’m definitely interested in the swoons and in the sister dynamics involved.

    Great review <3

    • YES I don’t watch the Duggar’s show but I always keep tabs hahah. And I’ve been so fascinated by Kate’s journey into reality tv show by herself as a single mom. She’s REALLY itching to stay in the spotlight. Saw her on Celebrity Apprentice too haha.

      Yeah this was like THE book of last year it seemed and I was like wait where did this one come from??! EVERYONE loved it.

  7. After reading this book I switched from buying wintermint gum and started buying spearmint! Wait, was that this one or am I thinking of something else?

    • Oh gosh! I am the worst with details after I read books (I read this a couple months ago) but that SOUNDS really familiar!!!

  8. That’s it, I’m convinced to read this book! I remember seeing so many positive reviews floating around a while ago but just never made the effort to look more into this book… If I had, I probably would have realized a lot sooner that this is the perfect book for me!

    I love reality shows as well. I have trouble keeping up with cable network shows just because time can be so limited sometimes and missing one episode pushes me back so much, but with reality shows I can sorta pop in any time. It’s like saying hi to an old friend! And some of my favourite reality shows are family centric. Like Kate plus 8 (I’ve never seen Jon & Kate) and The Little Couple. So I’m definitely very interested to see how this situation works out in a book! Family centric books also happen to be my favourite thing.

    And sweet romance?? I’m in! 🙂

    • YES this book was all everyone was talking about last year and I was like WAIT WHY HAVE I NOT READ THIS. It’s SO good and totally deserving of all the praise it got.

      Ah yes The Little Couple! I love that one!

      Based on all that you are saying, I think this will be a good fit for you!!! You will have to tweet me and let me know what you think when you read it!

  9. I haven’t read this one yet, but I plan to start it really soon because it’s my book club’s book of the month! And I also super excited and I’m going backwards like you did, because I read I’ll Meet You There on Saturday night and loved it to bits!!

    • IT IS SUCH A GOOD BOOK CLUB PICK (it was also my book club’s pick!). You will have a lot to talk about! Let me know what you think!!

  10. I am a HUGE fan of reality television — “Survivor” is one of my favourite shows! And I usually find myself getting sucked into “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”, and I honestly have no idea why… This seems like an entertaining book, something that I don’t think I would have come across if I hadn’t read your review. It seems as though you really enjoyed it, and I think it’s definitely something that I will check out!

    • YES another Survivor fan!! Are you watching this season?? My friend and I have a standing wine and Survivor date! I cannot get into the kardashians though. I can get why people DO though! I think you should definitely check this one out as a reality show fan as well!

  11. I absolutely love this book and I’ll Meet You There. Both books have much more depth than you’d expect! I’m so glad that you loved it too!

  12. I was definitely surprised by Something Real when I read it! As someone who also enjoys a reality show or two, I thought this perspective – from a reality TV show star – was fascinating. It’s an eye-opener, and it really got me thinking about how much of what is caught and aired on TV is “real” and how much is “for the cameras”. Glad you finally got to read this one!

  13. I’m not a huge fan of reality shows, I hate them actually. I hate seeing everything on display and I don’t find them interesting at all.
    However I AM interested in reading a book about them! *-* I’ll definitely be reading it this month and I’m so excited, I cannot wait! Especiallt if the characters are so good 😉

  14. If you liked this one, check out Reality Boy by A.S. King. It’s also a reality tv after-the-fact book, and how the child in the show grew up and dealt with the fact that his family’s life was broadcast when he was young. It was amazing!