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?
Design – Heather Daugherty Rating – 2/5
This cover is underwhelming for me. It’s fine, aesthetically, but it’s dull and says nothing about the book. Looking at this cover, I can tell it’s about two teen girls. Wow, sure narrows it down doesn’t it? This cover makes it look like a roadtrip book, which it isn’t. It bothers me that there is no background or even sky, because they aren’t grounded anywhere in time or space. They’re just floating somewhere. I do like how the title is a bit transparent and how the purple looks against the blue of the car.
For Real is 1 part sisterly drama, 1 part romantic mayhem, and 2 parts reality TV screwing everything up. Claire convinces her sister to go on an Amazing Race style reality show after an awful breakup. The producers of the show have a lot of tricks up their sleeves though, and as soon as filming starts, Claire’s plan falls apart. Now she has to help her sister, deal with feelings for another competitor, and deal with the competition itself.
- twists – I really appreciated all the unexpected twists that For Real offered. It’s so easy to assume that the main character will win the competition, get the guy, and fix her relationship with her sister and then live happily ever after. Most of the time that’s what fiction gives us. Of course, in this story, Claire’s plans are pretty much destroyed as soon as they begin filming the reality show and nothing works out at all like she planned. I really like it when things like that happen in books because I find it more realistic and exciting.
- sisters – At first, Claire and Miranda are using each other. Claire’s using Miranda to get on a reality show, and Miranda’s using Claire to get back at Samir, her ex, even though it was definitely Claire’s idea. I really like that Claire and Miranda still are mostly focused on their plan to get back at Samir, even though they could win tons of money if they win the competition. Neither of them are ever focused on the money. Instead, they’re thinking about each other or the experiences they’re having. Even when Claire and Miranda are fighting, the cash is never more important than their relationship.
- Will – When Claire met Will there was a moment where he just struck me as a sleaze. will is really charming every time Claire sees him, but there are a lot of things he has lied about. I didn’t like that Claire seemed to trust him outright just because he was a cute guy around her age. Then there are times when Will decides to test his acting skills by flat-out lying to fellow competitors. He’s delighted when even Claire believes his stories, yet she doesn’t seem to take this suspicious behavior to heart and continues to trust that Will is being honest with her.
- Miranda – All of the characterization we get of Miranda is based on her relationship to Claire or her ex, Samir. As a result of this, Miranda comes off as the villain sometimes, especially when she and Claire are only seeing each other briefly for manipulated interviews. Even though Miranda has just been cheated on and is reluctantly along for this crazy reality show, she’s almost impossible to sympathize with. Even though Miranda’s accusations that Claire is being selfish are pretty accurate, we don’t really see what Miranda’s experience is like.
I cannot believe she’s telling this story right now. Ten seconds ago, I was the ballsy little sister, and now I’m the girl who had the freak moment of bravery in a lifetime of shame. Even if Miranda legitimately means she’s proud of me, I know the producers will edit this to make me look ridiculous. – Loc. 1806
I lean forward and take my first bite of the dough necklace. It’s soft and sweet, and it melts in my mouth like a croissant. When I lick a drop of honey off Will’s neck, he draws in his breath sharply, and I feel intoxicatingly powerful. – Loc. 2687
Acquired: Netgalley (ebook)