For Real

FeaturedHot
 
4.3 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
3220 1
For Real
Author(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
December 09, 2014
ISBN
9780385742955
Buy This Book
      
From Alison Cherry, author of Red, a novel PW declares “sparkles with wit,” comes a terrific new book about two sisters and one big question: how do you know who’s for real? 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 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?

Editor reviews

2 reviews

As compulsively enjoyable as reality TV is watchable
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Man, this book was fun.

Everything about the premise of this book appealed to me. Sisters. Revenge. Reality TV. International travel. Romantic shenanigans. It sounded like exactly the sort of breezy, light read that would leave me with happy butterflies in my tummy and a goofy smile on my face. The kind of book that’s cozy like a pair of fuzzy slippers and a glass of lemonade. And it delivered in every way.

Miranda and Claire are not a saccharine-sweet pair of sisters — think less Meg and Beth, more Jo and Amy. They’re different in their interests, looks, personalities, insecurities. They’re the way I think lots of siblings are — two people who may not have ever chosen to spend much time interacting with each other if they hadn’t been raised under the same roof. It’s not that they’re incompatible; more that they’re not inherently complementary. But incongruities aside, they share a special bond, and I felt FOR REAL did a fantastic job exploring that dichotomy — sisters who love each other and are fiercely loyal to each other, despite how little they have in common.

I loved – loved – how their relationship was the driving force of the story. Miranda’s revenge on her sleazy ex-boyfriend, Claire’s awkward attempts to woo her charming crush, and the array of bizarre challenges they were forced to complete as contestants on Around the World were highly entertaining, but all the big emotional punches hinged on what was happening between the two sisters, as did most of the big shifts in motivation and stakes. It’s no big surprise that my favorite scene in the book — and one that may have provoked a few tears — was a quiet moment between the two sisters in the midst of all the crazy set pieces swirling around them. I loved the balance between the absurdity of what the characters were forced to do and the groundedness of the relationships. A book about competing on a ridiculous reality show needs to really drive home the authenticity in its characters and emotion, and I thought FOR REAL did a masterful job of that.

That said, the Around the World premise (and its unexpected and wholly inconvenient twist) was such wacky fun. Everything from the premise of the show, to the insane challenges, to the over-the-top contestants, to the polished host, to the zany twists was simultaneously outlandish and totally plausible in the current landscape of reality television. Following the characters through each challenge was as compulsively readable as actual reality TV is watchable. Plus I loved the snippets of different countries and cultures as the characters raced from one exotic location to another, even as the characters were frustrated that they didn’t really get to experience the different cultures because they were too busy smashing pomegranates and coating each other in pudding (yes, really).

As for the romance, all I’ll say is that FOR REAL is chock-full of the kind of witty banter and squishy moments and stolen glances that make for the best kind of romantic comedy — but that it never forgets its reality show premise, or that the primary focus of the book is the two sisters. So don’t expect conventional romance tropes to come into play here — in FOR REAL, the boys are the side show, never the main attraction.

All in all, if you’re a fan of great sister stories, or reality TV, or travel — or you’re just looking for a fun, quick, un-put-down-able read that makes you chuckle and groan and roll your eyes, all while tugging at your heartstrings and making you grin like a fool — then FOR REAL is the book for you.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 1 0
Really Fun
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
What I Liked:
In the spirit of full disclosure, I didn’t care for Cherry’s debut novel, Red. I’d had high expectations and they crash landed. After that, I wasn’t planning on trying her sophomore effort unless some trusted reviewers enjoyed it. Then one day I got an itchy request finger, but I didn’t expect much to come of it since RH usually doesn’t approve (or deny) my NG requests; they sit there until the title disappears. This time, though, approval. What have I gotten myself into? I wondered. Turns out the answer to that was a whole lot of fun. Cherry’s For Real is funny, fast-paced, and full of joy for anyone who enjoys reality television.

Actually, I don’t like reality television. I know what I just said, and I stand by it, but also it might be worth a shot for certain people who don’t care for it. Personally, it’s mostly not my thing. That said, I do know just how addictive it can be, because the couple times I watched a reality show I ended up watching the full season. I’d turn on the TV, watch part of an episode and get sucked into the all day marathon. Much as I can spout off about the manufactured drama and all of that, they can be very entertaining. What I do unabashedly love are books about reality television. As a teen, there were a smattering of chick lit novels with that premise that I loved and earlier this year Something Real impressed me greatly. For Real centers on a different kind of reality show than those, but it was just as delightfully silly while also being surprisingly meaningful.

My favorite thing about For Real is the humor that comes through sometimes. Cherry has this ability to embrace the silly that I admire. Her invented reality TV shows are complete gold. An example is Obstacle Kitchen, where chefs have to compete to make the best dish while also dodging obstacles.The show that Miranda and Claire go on in search of vengeance is a perfect example as well. The challenges ought to be too strange for me to believe that they would be aired on television, and yet I could totally imagine this airing.

There’s also the Limerick Game that Miranda and Claire play. Cherry’s humor really gets a chance to shine with these. They’re just the right amount of quirky and they made me smile every time they came up. Here’s an example:

“There once was a stripper named Troy,
Who acted quite dumb as a ploy.
He took off his pants,
Did a butt-shaking dance,
And said, ‘Viewers, I hope you enjoy!’

These are so cute and funny and bantery. It’s also such a great bonding device for Claire and Miranda. They’ve done it throughout their childhoods and it comes out when they’re getting along well.

For Real focuses primarily on the relationship between Claire and her sister Miranda. There’s a little bit of romance, but it’s mostly family. If you asked Claire and Miranda at the beginning of the book, as someone does, they would tell you that they have a great relationship. Under the pressure of reality television, it soon becomes clear that they have serious issues with one another. What’s nice is that the drama isn’t entirely manufactured. The show brings up cracks that were hiding under the surface and forces the sisters to recognize them and deal with them.

Let’s rewind a bit and talk about Claire on her own. Claire’s sometimes tough to take. I ought to have loved her immediately, because she’s a pop culture fanatic and can’t handle crowds. However, be warned that Claire can be a bit tough to take. She’s so judgmental that it made me uncomfortable and I’m one of the most judgmental people I know. It’s all made more annoying when Claire’s whole thing is that she wants people (especially Miranda) to look beneath her shy exterior and see how amazing she is, though she herself judges everyone else off their surface level. The thing is, though, that Claire gets better as the novel goes along.

The reality show is ridiculous, but it forces her to do things that she wouldn’t ordinarily do. She has to get outside of her comfort zone. It’s painful at times, but she survives and comes through the experience much stronger than she was before. Perhaps more important, Claire gets stuck talking to people she ordinarily would not give the time of day. I’ve been there myself and had these revelations. There’s nothing like getting to know real people better than from a distance to clear up those initial prejudices. When Troy, a male stripper, called her out for being rude and judgmental, I had the feeling that Claire would actually be learning and changing. She does, and I think her emotional arc is really solid. I also really liked the way her romance was handled.

The Final Verdict:
This is why I like giving authors second chances. Even if Red wasn’t your thing, you might like For Real. I’m definitely planning on checking out whatever Cherry’s third book is.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Girls With Razor Hearts
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Make me a girl with a razor heart… ...
Moonscript
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
"It is said that Darkness is empty and whatever vanishes...
The Lucky Ones
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, This Is How It...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl...
Meet Me at Midnight
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
They have a love-hate relationship with summer. ...
Sword in the Stars (Once & Future, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this epic sequel to Once & Future, to save...
11004295_10203571569113600_1962266189_n.jpg
 
3.8 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
*****Best YA Book & Author of the Year***** The...
We Unleash the Merciless Storm
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Being a part of the resistance group La Voz...
The Everything I Have Lost
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
12-year-old Julia keeps a diary about her life growing...
Salty, Bitter, Sweet
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A slow-burn romance in a cutthroat kitchen! There’s more...
Brown Girl Ghosted
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Violet Choudhury may be part of the popular clique...
Defy the Sun (The Offering Series, #2)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this electrifying YA sequel to Beware the Night,...

Latest Member Reviews

Girls With Razor Hearts
 
5.0
"Now that Mena and the other girls have escaped Innovations Academy, they find their past hasn't left them. Mena vows..."
The Lucky Ones
 
5.0
"THE LUCKY ONES is quite an emotional ride. The book follows May and Zach in alternating first person points-of-view. May..."
 
4.0
"GIRL, SERPENT, THORN is a YA fairytale retelling by Melissa Bashardoust. The story follows Soraya, a princess who is cursed..."
Meet Me at Midnight
 
4.0
"MEET ME AT MIDNIGHT is a book that reminds readers of all the possibilities and freedom of summer vacation. We..."
Sword in the Stars (Once & Future, #2)
 
5.0
"SWORD IN THE STARS is a satisfying conclusion to a delightful YA fantasy retelling of King Arthur in space! Picking..."
The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)
 
4.0
"THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION by Kiersten White is the first book in a YA retelling of the classic Arthurian legend. Guinevere,..."
Crave
 
4.3
"CRAVE is a really engaging new YA fantasy/paranormal romance that follows Grace in the first person. Grace lost her parents..."
Golden Arm
 
5.0
"Lazarus Weathers lives in the Jet City trailer park in Seattle with his mother and half brother, Antonio. He has..."
Ember Queen (Ash Princess, #3)
 
4.3
"EMBER QUEEN is a great conclusion to the Ash Princess trilogy. Picking up right where book 2 left off, Theo..."
Kissing Lessons
 
5.0
"'Kissing Lessons' by Sophie Jordan is a well-written, entertaining story about a variety of main characters, including Hayden Vargas, Nolan..."
Lady Smoke (Ash Princess, #2)
 
5.0
"LADY SMOKE is every bit as addictive as the first in this engrossing trilogy. Picking up where the first book..."
The Queen's Assassin (Queen's Secret, #1)
 
4.0
"The Queen's Assassin is a fantasy romance geared toward the younger YA reader. It is told from the first person..."
Ash Princess (Ash Princess, #1)
 
5.0
"ASH PRINCESS is an engaging YA fantasy that takes us to the conquered land of Astrea. Theodosia's mother, the Fire..."
The Everything I Have Lost
 
4.3
"At age twelve, Julia starts writing in a diary. She writes about what she witnesses in her town of Juarez,..."
Sting
 
3.3
"STING is an intriguing YA dystopian retelling of THE COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO. The world has been ravaged by climate..."
The Paper Girl of Paris
 
4.0
"The Paper Girl of Paris is written by journalist Jordyn Taylor and is set in both historical 1940’s and nowadays..."
The Midnight Lie (The Midnight Lie, #1)
 
5.0
"THE MIDNIGHT LIE is a lush and atmospheric YA fantasy. The book transports us to another world, where people are..."
Defy the Sun (The Offering Series, #2)
 
4.7
"DEFY THE SUN is a fantastic conclusion to this YA fantasy duology. This book picks up right where the first..."
We Unleash the Merciless Storm
 
3.7
"Carmen Santos cover as a La Voz soldier has been exposed. She flees back to the La Voz's headquarters, leaving..."
In the Hall with the Knife
 
4.0
"Blackbrook Academy is an elite school in Maine with rigorous competition. When a storm strikes, a group of students, their..."