Monday, December 8, 2014

Book Review: For Real by Alison Cherry

Quick Facts

My Rating: 4 stars

Series: N/A

Date Read: December 5, 2014

Source: Free review copy from Netgalley

Publication Date: December 9, 2014

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genres: Young adult, contemporary

Summary (taken from Goodreads): No parents. No limits. No clue what they're in for.

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 TV.

When Miranda discovers her boyfriend, Samir, cheating on her just before 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 or may not 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?
Claire does not understand people. She does not like parties - which is why, when her sister takes her to one, she ends up outside watching reality TV on her phone. When she does go inside, it's only to leave shortly after with a heartbroken older sister. Miranda's boyfriend, Samir, has cheated on her.

On the way home, they discuss revenge. It is only talk in Miranda's mind, but Claire really does want to get back at Samir for hurting her sister. In the end, her grand plan is to participate in Around the World, a reality show which Samir is also going to be a part of. 

But when Team Revenge gets split apart by an unexpected twist in the show, and Claire is left doubting how much she actually knows about reality television, she realizes things aren't going to go as expected. When she gets paired with an actor named Will for the first challenge, she decides it might not be that bad.

The first word I can think of to describe this book is fun. It was a light read that kept me smiling to myself nearly the whole time. I found myself so quickly invested in the story, even speaking aloud at times to Claire - mostly to yell at her, although I did cheer her along as well. To some people, having to yell at a character could be frustrating, but I think Claire was very realistic, relateable, and likable. I would not have had her any other way.

The reality show aspect of the story was fantastic as well. It really helped to develop Claire as a person, and it also led to some great twists and turns. It contributed to the fun, fast-paced feel of the story.

Towards the end, I began to disbelieve how many pages were left - did I not recieve the entire book for review? Had someone chopped the end off? Of course, the whole book was there. The epilogue proved it. But by the time I was about ten pages away, I knew I would not be satisfied with the ending. 

The story was not allowed to slow down, and it made the conclusion feel like a bit of a shock. It felt rushed, and I wish the ending had been paced just a tad slower. Despite this, though, I really enjoyed the book. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun read, especially if you still want to feel for and relate to the characters. I think For Real did a great job at this.

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