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The Real Real [Hardcover]

Emma McLaughlin , Nicola Kraus
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 10.14 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Teen; 1 edition (Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061720402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061720406
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 15.1 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,784,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 9 Aug 2009
By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER
The writing duo that brought us THE NANNY DIARIES have ventured out into the young adult genre. And the two have written a hit.

Jesse goes through the motions of the interview that all the students at her high school have to sit through. The hot TV channel XTV wants to film a documentary of life in a typical high school. XTV wants to select a core group of students to be the focus of the documentary real-life series.

Jesse knows that the A-list crowd including Nico, Jase, and their gang are the sure picks. So when XTV comes knocking on Jesse's door, no one is more stunned than she is. And when the $40,000 scholarship check is waved in front of her parents, they quickly agree to let Jesse sign on.

Little does anyone in their small town realize how quickly things will get out of control. Everything that Jesse considers important is thrust aside by XTV under the guise of filming. Jesse loses her best friend. Her parents no longer know what to believe. She gets yelled at and called obscene names.

When a photo spread in OK hints that Jesse may have done more with Jase then she is letting on, it's the last straw. She's lost her chance at the one boy she was truly interested in, and she'll do anything she can to just graduate and get out of there.

THE REAL REAL is the perfect book for a summer read. You can easily get lost in the fancy world that Jesse is paraded around in. THE REAL REAL shows what can happen when what you think you want turns out to be a total nightmare and reminds you what your real priorities should be.

Reviewed by: Jaglvr
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Infinitely Better Than Reality TV 5 July 2009
By Rachel Kramer Bussel - Published on
There are certain cliches one comes to expect after reading YA novel after YA novel: the gay best friend, the designer labels, the outcasts and mean girls. The Real Real takes a topic that is perhaps too ripe for satire (and is now getting play in real life with NYC Prep) and lends it an edge, humor and heart that makes it worth picking up and taking to the beach, Hamptons or not. There are, of course, some things I've seen before (the autistic brother, the housecleaner mother), but there's plenty here that makes The Real Real deliciously dishy.

Jesse is one of six high school seniors cast for XTV's The Real Hamptons Beach. She is not exactly classic reality TV material (she's not part of the It crowd, she has a boring part-time job at a muffin shop, she doesn't wear the latest designer gear), and had never expected to be chosen, but her and Drew are the non-wealthy cast members, lured in by the $40,000 scholarship being dangled before them. She's thrilled to have the chance to be alone with her crush, but not so thrilled when her best friend Caitlyn doesn't get cast and she quickly finds that she's signed over a lot more than the right to film her. Instead, "reality" becomes a carefully scripted fiction that McLaughlin and Kraus coyly nail, especially the sleazy, over-the-top producer, Fletch and his beleagured assistant, Kara.

The XTV overlords give these high school students the star treatment, including luxury meals and trips and glamour, but it all comes to a head on their big pre-spring break spring break. Yes, some of the characters here are little more than caricatures of high school types, like Jase, the annoying frat boy, and Trisha, the overly plastic surgeried young starlet, but they are so fun to hate that the authors are forgiven. The twists and turns of friendship, not to mention the lengths XTV will go to make their show a hit, or the lengths Jesse will go to win back her reputation, make this a winner that manages to indulge a bit in the flashy materialism of Gossip Girl and its ilk but also stand above it.

The ending is especially divine, and offered one of my favorite lines, with Nico, who starts out a spoiled brat but winds up being more than just a pretty, label-clad clone, exudes her charm. "'Oh, look!' she says, pointing at the poster like it was a kitten wrapped in puppies sprinkled with ducklings." These kinds of witticisms, mostly aimed at skewering the supposed glamour and hype of reality TV, make The Real Real a cut above the average teen chick lit. I hope there are more YA novels in McLaughlin and Kraus's future.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book 19 Sep 2009
By Cynthia Hudson - Published on
Jesse is a senior at a high school in the Hamptons where she sees lots of celebrities and other wealthy people drop in for vacation. Life for most of the locals is anything but glamorous, that is until TV network XTV decides to train its cameras on the students in Jesse's high school. What they want is real teens, doing real things in their real lives. Everyone at the school tries out, but Jesse is sure that she won't be among the chosen ones.

When the line-up is announced, there's no surprise that the school's hottest teens made the list--Nico, Jase, Rick and Melanie--but Jess is surprised to find that she's been picked too. While none of Jesse's friends made the list, she's excited that the guy she has a crush on, Drew, did.

While having the cameras film her every move is kind of a pain, it's also kind of glamorous and at first everything goes well. But when real teens doing real things in real life proves to be really boring, the producers at XTV decide to shake things up by orchestrating real drama. The ensuing events may make for interesting television, but the effect they have on Jesse and the other stars of the show are anything but expected

Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, the bestselling authors of The Nanny Diaries, have written a book that should resonate with reality TV viewers, and it feels as though we really are behind the scenes of a show. The teens in this book aren't perfect, in fact it can be frustrating to watch as some of them make some pretty big mistakes. But then you realize just how much the adults in the equation fail them and contribute to the mistakes in so many ways. Recommended for mother-daughter book clubs with girls 15 and up.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting Review: The Real Real 31 July 2009
By Enchanting Reviews - Published on
Contemporary YA

Rating: 5 Enchantments

Jesse O'Rouke is the typical average girl at her Hamptons high school. She's not the most glamorous or the most beautiful and she definitely doesn't hang out with the A-list crowd, but her and her best friend Caitlin really don't care that much about any of that. Then suddenly XTV shows up at school, auditioning every single student to be one of the stars for their soon-to-be hot new reality hit, and Jesse gets cast as one of the leads, leaving her in the bright glare of the spotlight with her best friend on the outside looking in.

I loved Jesse, finding herself thrown in with the kids who've always been more popular then her. While her and Drew are the outsiders in the group, they're forced to play friends with the others in front of the cameras, following the directions of a crazed cinematographer which results in some truly hilarious scenes. All the while, Jesse's `reality' is anything but as they shoot a Saturday at the spa in the middle of the night and her friendship with Caitlin starts to fade as the two barely have any time together. Soon, Jesse finds herself trying to wrangle a deal to get her best friend on the show...something that doesn't turn out how she expected.

Hands down, my favorite scene is when the cast is whisked away to Mexico to film the spring break episode, a week before the actual spring break and are surprised to find themselves almost the lone inhabitants of the hotel. Everything is perfectly choreographed on film, while off camera, things get chaotic, leading to a scene where a drunk Trisha brings the party downstairs up to the penthouse where things get quickly out of control, leaving the entire cast huddled together in the bathroom trying to keep the partiers out.

What didn't I love about this book? If I could have given more then five enchantments, I would have. THE REAL REAL is the perfect summer read. From the moment I picked it up, I was immediately pulled into Jesse's world and didn't stop till I reached the final page, where I seriously hoped there was going to be a teaser of a sequel. Trust me, once you get to the end, you want to know there is more of Jesse and these characters in your future.

Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus are the authors of the New York Times bestsellers The Nanny Diaries, Citizen Girl and Dedication. They live and work in New York city. [...]

Enchanting Reviews
July 2009
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! 28 July 2009
By Avis Stowe - Published on
The book "The Real Real", in my opinion, is a great book. Its about a senior named Jesse who's life takes a total turn when she is cast on XTV's "The Real Hamptons Beach". (Think Laguna Beach, The Hills, etc.) At first everything seems to be going good, she gets a $40,000 scholorship, her crush [Drew] made the cast and they seem to be hitting it off. But then as she starts to really know what it feels like to be filmed and never get a chance alone, things start to go downhill from there. Everything thats filmed is always staged, even a date with Drew is staged until everything gets ruined. Whats a girl to do?

- I thought the book started out really rough (hence 4 stars). At many times I couldnt tell who was talking and somethings they said were just really random. But once the book starts rolling its really good and it starts to roll alot better. I would definately recommend this book! Very cute and had a great ending! Makes me hope for a sequal!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Statement About Being Yourself and Being Real 29 Jun 2009
By Teen Reads - Published on
When XTV picks Jesse O'Rourke as a teen star for their new reality TV series, she can't believe it. Her best friend Caitlyn might have been expecting to get the part, but she wasn't. Suddenly Jesse's job at the Prickly Pear serving muffins and ice cream seems to be only a temporary reality, and she can actually envision herself as the first person in her family who will get to go to college. Her parents can't be more excited, but not all of Jesse's friends and classmates seem to share that enthusiasm. The other stars of the show don't think that Jesse and Drew are worthy of stardom or any sincere attention from the elites. And Caitlyn feels very hurt to be overlooked and needs the scholarship just as badly as Jesse does.

Once Jesse is thrown into filming, she finds that the whole experience is a lot of hype and hassle. Unlike the other girls on the program, Jesse isn't the type to wear four-inch platforms, furs and loads of makeup. But they want her beautiful, so the old Jesse is gone in a heap of cosmetics and used designer clothes. After a mere six hours in the XTV trailer, a whole new Jesse is revealed to the world; she doesn't even recognize herself.

On top of all that, her former life has completely disappeared, especially all the parts she really liked. She has no free time to hang out with Caitlyn anymore because she must spend every free minute being primped and glammed in a network trailer or on set in all-night filming sessions. XTV even quit her job for her without asking. The idea in the beginning that she would live her regular life and they would just film alongside her isn't the reality Jesse is living; the only reality left is what the producer picks for the show.

A major perk to the deal, though, is that Drew is also on set with Jesse a lot, and she likes him more and more all the time. One day when Drew asks Jesse out, he leaves her breathless. Could there be any other guy for her? Fletch from XTV seems to feel that Jesse has more heat with Jase than with Drew, who happens to be another star's boyfriend, and does his best to cause a spark between them. Jesse begins to wonder how on Earth she'll manage to get to know Drew, and he to know the real Jesse, in the middle of this alternate reality made up by XTV. And, even worse, is Fletch right about her and Jase?

Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, bestselling authors of THE NANNY DIARIES, has written a fabulous book with a superb story. I loved Jesse and Drew as characters and felt that the message behind the tale was impressive and well-spoken. The novel gets into the personalities of all the teen stars and shows the consequences of their actions. It also sheds light on those who act so superior, but in the end are more insecure than Jesse ever was. It's a wonderful statement about being yourself and being real. Jesse and Drew are funny and great together, and their romance --- although tentative --- takes center stage. Highly recommended.

--- Reviewed by Melanie Smith
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