Raina's Reviews > The Real Real

The Real Real by Emma McLaughlin
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Oct 25, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: funny, realistic, romance, ya, high-school
Read from October 05 to 25, 2010

I can't quite decide if this is guilty pleasure material or just a really good read. Maybe it's both. It's the story of a working class girl growing up in Hampton Beach who gets picked to star in a reality tv show a la "The Hills." Jesse figures the crew will just follow her around in her normal life. Little does she know the extent that being on the show will get in the way of her having a life.

Jesse is supposedly a somewhat nerdy outsider in school and she spouts a line or two about hating corporations. Which of course doesn't get followed up on at all, since if she was balking at every namebrand placement in the show, that would be what the novel would be about. The character doesn't ring completely authentic, but that's kinda ok.

The authors do a nice job of showing (completely hilariously) how truly inauthentic shows like this can be. The producers mess with relationships, clothing, homes, behavior choices, everything in the chase for higher ratings. The behavior is truly horrific. And, like I said, the depiction is totally hilarious too, with a lightness that relieves the horror of the real content of the book. Friendships and relationships are lost and gained and it's all very dramatic in typical YA fashion. Wish the family relationships had been a touch more real, but again, not the focus of the novel. Great read, good booktalk, just wish I could take it to the middle schools.
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Quotes Raina Liked

Emma McLaughlin
“You should totally get implants," she said admiringly in the mirror. I shake my head. "I don't yet know what I'm going to do with my life, Diane. But I'm hoping being shaped like a barbell could only be a hindrance.”
Emma McLaughlin, The Real Real


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Kari I liked your review, and was surprised to see who the authors were. I adored the Nanny Diaries when it first came out, and eagerly anticipated their second book, Citizen Girl. Worst. Book. Ever. I haven't tried another of their books since. I think I'll give this one a whirl.


Raina I hope you like it! I'd never read anything by them before and don't read enough girly books in general, but this one caught my eye because of the message mixed in with the voyeurism.


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