DISCLAIMER- I WAS SENT A FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK IN EXCHANGE FOR A FAIR REVIEW
‘Did you ever wonder why God didn’t just erase Satan when he and his followers rebelled against heaven?’
Lyric is 21 years old and bored with the inhibited lifestyle of endless church activities she’s been forced to participate in since childhood. When she is offered the opportunity to be on a reality show, she jumps at the chance to move in with five strangers under the premise of pursuing further education. However, a surprise pregnancy causes her life to take an unexpected turn. Being overlooked and pushed to the side by her child’s father coupled with his lack of consideration cause her insecurities to deepen, while her pains and humiliation are documented for everyone to see. The show becomes a hit and she a star but now she has to find a way not to let the pain she feels destroy her heart and poison her soul.
Imagine the most embarrassing and hurtful moments in your life being put on display for the entire world to see. You’re trying not to lose your mind and keep your composure while your social media is flooded with criticisms from people who have no idea what you’re really feeling but only know what they see on TV. The people who do know the people who are there with you every day offering “support” consistently invalidate your feelings. You’ve heard of the Kardashians now meet Lyric.⠀
What I thought
I fell I should start this review in saying that although the idea really intrigued me I’m not the target market for this book; I don’t watch reality TV (apart from ‘Yummy Mummies Australia – because that show is utterly mental), I just don’t ‘get’ it. However this idea is genius and I haven’t read one like it. The idea of a reality TV set in a college shared house makes sense, people want to see ‘normal’ lives of others. Older generations want to scorn the drinking culture whilst the younger ones want to watch people having a good time just like them. (I’m aware that’s a vast generalisation). Honestly I’m surprised that there isn’t already a reality show like it to my knowledge.
The talking head inserts were really well done and matched how they are done on TV, mid scene there is a break for what the characters are saying in the green room later – it gives a real insight into the other characters and is clever way of letting you inside other people’s heads.
My uni years were VERY different, and would have led to a different kind of TV show. It was a town in the middle of Wales with buses once an hour and twice a day on Sundays. Most people were much more interested in LARPing/board games/cosplay/spending time in one of the 7 small town pubs than raving; the only nightclub was the uni one. It couldn’t have been more different to Lyric’s college years if I’d tried and yet there were still things I recognised. The instant labelling, the cliques forming quickly and moving just as quickly as they first settle in, the partner swapping. When you put that many people that age together things are always going to go mad, with hormones running wild and brains still not fully formed, and adding in alcohol – utterly insane. Which makes unmissable TV.
Lyric’s a really interesting character, with one hell of a temper problem. That one sentance sums her up really well, she’s really fiery to a dangerous level. If she’s angry with you she will attack you, I lost count of the amount of times she hit/abused other people. Which is really uncomfortable reading – it wouldn’t be okay if it was a man attacking someone, but when it’s a women as a society we tend to overlook it. It’s a major character flaw of Lyric’s but it fits her character – she’s really passionate and loves deeply, the flipside means she flare in anger equally deeply. We wouldn’t be friends but I would probably be unable to tear my eyes away from her on the TV. That’s what you want in reality TV, it’s not necessarily about them being someone you like it’s about someone you can’t stop watching (see my point in the first paragraph about Yummy Mummies – I would get angry with all of them and I regularly shout at the TV at their insanity but I’m still watching).
The ‘relationship’ between Lyric and Antony is a really bad one and borders on abusive – physically from Lyric to Antony and emotionally from Antony to Lyric. It’s not at all healthy but at least Lyric knows that and keeps trying to pull away. It’s the way that the people around her – especially her friend Christopher – back Antony and keep pushing them together that makes her second doubt herself. Especially because this is all happening in the public eye and there are ‘teams’ forming with various merchandise. Plus the producers want to make good TV they don’t necessarily care about the people on the TV, the Lyric/Antony relationship is the ‘best story line’ so why would they want to stop that. The undercurrent is a really dark look at what being famous for the sake of being famous really costs you and how little you’re valued.
Why I read it
I was sent a free copy for review but I was interested because of the idea of a reality show as a book and seeing how that would work – it worked really well and I’d definitely be interested in reading more like this even if I don’t like the characters.
This is a really scathing look at the reality TV industry and what being at college/uni is like. I also think it’s a real representation if it, it doesn’t hide from how relationships are constantly changing when you’re that age especially when fame and money is involved. Like I said my experiences were very different but I know that mine is the rare one (TV cameras following you aside)
Did I enjoy it? In the same way I enjoy watching Yummy Mummies – I couldn’t tear myself away from the insanity but I don’t understand any of the logic from the people involved.
Am I glad I read it? Yes, it’s a really interesting take on the ‘normal’ college coming of age/gaining independence story.
Would I read again? Maybe but probably not
Would I recommend? I’ve got a few friends who love reality TV so I’ll definitely be suggesting this one to them