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
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

 

 

 

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

 

A1

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.

a4

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.”

swooning

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.

a6RATING-loved-it

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.

review-on-post-itsomething-real-heather-demetrios

 

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

Book Talk: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Book Talk: I’ll Meet You There by Heather DemetriosI'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Published by Henry Holt & company on February 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Something Real
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

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

 

A1
Skylar has been planning her way out of her small town and the future that would await her if she stayed. She’s gotten into art school and has been working her minimum wage job as summer starts to ensure she gets there — until her mother loses her job and starts slipping back into some bad habits making her wonder if she’ll ever be able to leave her and head off to art school at all. At the beginning of her summer she’s reunited with Josh, a boy she used to work with who is back from Afghanistan after his leg gets blown off, and she encounters a different Josh than the one who has left and they find an unexpected friendship despite their differences.

a2I WANT TO TELL EVERYONE ABOUT THIS BOOK!!!

a4Here’s the thing, my little bookworms. When I like books, I have a varying degree of liking them. I can really like them and I can really love them but it is RARE that I add a new book to my favorites. I’ll Meet You There? When I finished it in November, I felt like it shook me to the core like that of a colossal earthquake to the heart — just rearranging and shifting my heart in the way a truly powerful book will. And as I sit here putting the final touches on this review in January, I feel like I’m still feeling the emotional aftershocks of I’ll Meet You There. I’m making room for this book on my FAVORITES shelf. (I feel like there should be a ceremony for this because I REALLY don’t do this often — no matter how many books I can REALLY love).

So let’s get down to it:

1. The whole book reading experience is what I hope for when I start a book: It was just that perfect storm of a great plot, dynamic & flawed characters (even the secondaries!!) whose pulses I could practically feel as I held the pages, an intense emotional connection, writing that makes me dog-ear a lot and this immediate “I need to read this book again real soon.” I’ll Meet You There just had it all. It’s as simple as that. Everything that I need to make a favorite book was in this. That formula might be different for everyone but I truly believe this is going to be a winner for a lot of people because it objectively has the makings of a great book. Everything Heather Demetrios DID she did it SO WELL.

2. I loved the diversity of the characters: I really loved that Skylar and Josh were just a different POV from what I typically read. Socioeconomically they come from a really poor background which is rare in the YA I’ve encountered. The town feels bleak and dead end and I believed it and their struggles just seemed so real. Before I moved in middle school I grew up in a town sort of like that and Heather just NAILED what it felt like in all its complexities from the charm of it to also the things that make you want to GET OUT. In addition to that, Josh lost his leg in Afghanistan and is now an amputee. Obviously I don’t know what it REALLY is like, so take what I say from that perspective, but it really did feel like Heather Demetrios went to great lengths to write Josh’s perspective with care. I felt his struggles and his insecurities as he gets used to not having his leg as well as PTSD.

3. THEIR ROMANCE: You know those slow-burn romances that builds the tension to the point your heart is just pounding and you are like just all “OMG YOU GUYS KISS ALREADY”….that was this experience. It was the perfectly unraveled relationship that I couldn’t get enough of! AND IT WAS SEXY.

4. EVERYTHING?: I just loved everything okay?? There is not one thing I didn’t love. I loved the setting (especially the quirky motel where they work), I loved their individual storylines. I loved the quotes I dog-eared. I loved how it made me feel and what it made me think about. I loved the dual POVs. I loved how Demetrios portrayed Josh’s PTSD and how raw it felt. I loved how that made me want to help all the veterans in the whole wide world. I loved how it destroyed me in the best possible way but then had me soaring with hope. SO MUCH HOPE. AND LOVE. And God, I just love everything. EVEN THE AUTHOR’S NOTE/ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ARE MOVING!!

 

a6RATING-beyondloved

factors+ EVERYTHING. The whole package. I don’t hand out “favorite book” ratings often so it’s EVERYTHING.
–  NOTHING. It’s perfection.

Re-readability: OH YOU BET.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? OH YES I AM!!

a5EVERYONE! Especially contemporary YA lovers!

a8I’ll Meet You There was just pure perfection. It’s rare that I find a book that I can call a new favorite and I’m just so moved by it. I love everything about it and highly recommend it. It broke my heart a million times, emotionally captivated me and was ultimately so uplifting. I love these characters. I love their stories. I love this book. I want YOU to meet them.

review-on-post-it

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

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?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

PS. Other great reads you might like: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller or The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

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