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.