Just Finished Reading .... For Real by Alison Cherry

For Real
by Alison Cherry
To be published by Delacorte Press
on December 9, 2014

Source: e-ARC from Netgalley

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Shy, cautious Claire has always been in her confident older sister’s shadow. While Miranda’s life is jam-packed with exciting people and whirlwind adventures, Claire gets her thrills vicariously by watching people live large on reality television. When Miranda discovers her boyfriend, Samir, cheating on her just after her college graduation, it’s Claire who comes up with the perfect plan. They’ll outshine Miranda’s fame-obsessed ex while having an amazing summer by competing on Around the World, a race around the globe for a million bucks. Revenge + sisterly bonding = awesome.  But the show has a twist, and Claire is stunned to find herself in the middle of a reality-show romance that may be just for the cameras. This summer could end up being the highlight of her life . . . or an epic fail forever captured on film. In a world where drama is currency and manipulation is standard, how can you tell what’s for real? 
My take:  Sometimes you read exactly the right book at exactly the right time, and this was that book for me. I was grumpy and out-of-sorts, and this book put me in a much better state of mind.

I wasn't sure that would be the case. Because, even though I do watch reality TV -- including The Amazing Race, which some of this book is definitely modeled on -- I haven't found much success with YA books that take place on reality shows. A lot of books like that use the reality TV premise to create a lot of manufactured drama. Because reality TV = manufactured drama.

I loved that this book had a sense of humor about reality TV drama -- there are some hilarious made-up shows mentioned in the book -- then delved deeper. Both Miranda and her sister Claire have something to prove. Miranda's been dumped by her boyfriend, Claire has always been in her sister's shadow. (I also have a sister. And -- ahem -- she might say that I am the domineering one.) When the girls are accepted as a team on Around the World, a race around the globe for a million dollars, the fun begins....

I also loved that this book used the backdrop of reality TV to raise interesting questions about the nature of "reality" on TV ... and in life. Claire thinks she's an expert on the ins and outs of being the perfect contestant, but she finds that she has a lot to learn about herself, her sister, and her competitors.

I loved the ending. I'm willing to wager that not everyone will, but I thought it was quite perfect.  For me. This book was fun and funny, with enough just enough depth to satisfy me. If you're a fan of reality TV and/or sister stories, definitely give this a try.


  1. I have the same problems with books based on reality tv as well. In fact, I stay away from them for that very reason. I'm glad this book brought you out of a funk. :)

  2. This one seems like a lighter contemporary that would be perfect to read inbetween "heavier" fantasy type books. I love that you LOVED the ending were just all around satisfied :)

  3. This one definitely sounds like a fun book! Reality shows aren't my favourite but your review makes it sound fun in the book :D

  4. I adored this book and I too loved that ending :) It was cute and I loved that it about the sister's relationship.

  5. I've heard about this book, but I skipped it because I'm not the fan of realty TV (or the novels about it - well, except You Look Different in Real Life), but judging by your review, this might be different from what I'm expecting. Hmm, I should give it a try.
    Great review, Jen.

  6. So glad you liked this book so much. I'm not a fan of reality TV either, thus, I don't think this book would appeal to me. Nonetheless, lovely review, Jen!



  7. The sense of humor sounds great-- haven't heard much about it

  8. This one did look like a fun one! I especially love when the right read comes at the right time.

  9. I could use a book that has great humor. Awesome review.


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