Monday, October 14, 2013

Book Review Monday: Reality Ends Here by Alison Gaylin

Estella lives with her mother, step-dad and six siblings in a house in Los Angeles. Her siblings are sextuplets and the entire family stars in the reality show 7 Is Heaven. Estella has learned how to protect her real self from the ever-present cameras and tries to protect her siblings as well.

I'll admit it. I watch reality shows like this: Jon & Kate Plus 8, Sister Wives.  As a parent I can't imagine making this kind of choice for my family and I had kids who where heavy into acting and in plays all thorough their childhoods.

So I was pleased to find this book about what it might be like to be a child in a situation where everything is scripted and crises are manufactured for dramatic effect. Not that Estella is a child any longer. She is fourteen and all her adolescent growing pains are just more fodder for the insatiable maw of the public.

At the happy family Christmas Special a present appears under the tree, one her father bought for her the night he died in a car accident eight years previously. Everyone accuses her of putting the present there. Someone is setting Estella up to look like a spoiled celebrity brat which earns her a trip to the Traumatized Media Stars therapy group where she meets current and former child stars having trouble dealing with fame and its consequences.

Estella begins to look at everyone around her. Can she trust anyone in this world of facades? She teams up with two therapy group members in a search for the truth about her father but things turn dangerous.

The book is funny and suspenseful with characters who might make you wonder the next time you are watching T.V. just what is real about reality shows.

I received a reader copy from NetGalley

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