I just finished Something Real last night and I can't stop thinking about it. Before I even start talking, I feel like I need to mention how surprised I was by this book. This is NOT a light and fluffy piece of fiction. The cover might look it, but it's really dark. It's unsettling, it's depressing, and at times VERY difficult to read. There were times when this book literally made me sick. It's not often that a book makes me sick to my stomach, but this one did. Topics like this are very hard to read for me because I get a bit claustrophobic at times. I hate feeling trapped, and there were many times where I did as a teenager so it takes me back to a time I would rather not reflect on. That is not to say I didn't enjoy it though because I blew through this book in record time.
There are some interesting elements in this novel that aren't usually present in other works of young adult fiction. For one, there is a really motivating relationship between Bonnie and her brother Benton. And I was actually surprised by the portrayal of her parents and stepfather. I don't want to spoil anything so you are just going to have to wait and see. This book pushed some boundaries and I really LOVED that it did. Not only that, but there was a completely healthy relationship between two gay teenage boys and that was wonderful also.
As for the writing itself, I loved it! I loved the little snippets in between chapters of conversations, articles and different things to break up the monotony. I love the way the chapters were titled, but most of all, I loved Bonnie's voice. I fell in love with her as a character and I related to her so much. Not because of her situation, but the way she DEALT with said situations. She is a normal, flawed teenage girl with a huge heart and a large personality. I'm an adult now but that doesn't mean I don't remember what I was like as a teen, and I do think that there is no other character I have had the pleasure of reading that comes as close to what I was like as Bonnie.
Also, everyone that knows me knows how much of a sucker I am for reality shows. My FAVORITE is Big Brother, and amusingly enough, there were quite a few references in here to the infamous show that I adore so much. The difference between that show and the one presented in this book though, is that the housemates CHOOSE to be observed 24/7. Bonnie had that choice made for her by a very fame greedy mother. There is only one question I would have liked answered that I never did get an answer for, and that was her family's real reason for doing the show again. Was it finances like they said, or was it something else? Maybe I will just ask the author since she's on the blog today. :D