What I loved about The Black Sheep was the fact that the protagonist, Kendra Bishop, was unwittingly thrust into the world of reality TV and wasn't an annoying, fame hungry teenager. The main character is really likeable and you can't help but feel sympathy for her as you follow her adventures in California
The Black Sheep portrays reality TV in the worst possible light with probing cameras everywhere and staged plot lines to increase ratings. Instead of showing the 'glamorous' side to reality TV, this book shows the intimidating and intrusion side to it that will hopefully dissuade teenagers who read this from believing everything that they see on their television screens. This book shows the reality of reality TV, if that makes any sense at all. It's definitely not a wishy-washy teen read that makes celebrity status look flashy and the characters are actually people worth reading about. You can really relate to Kendra as she struggles to come to terms with this huge change in life and I love that she's really down to earth. Despite the fact that everything she wrote in her application letter for 'The Black Sheep' was technically true, she is still fully aware that her family situation is no way near as bad as it is for some other children and she isn't changed by the fame or the cameras. Actually, scrap that, she is changed by the cameras - but in a good way. Kendra's character really develops as the novel progresses and she is a really admirable protagonist. The book is written from Kendra's point of view so you read her every thought which makes it all the more interesting.
I do wish that the relationship between Mitch and Kendra had been a bit more developed as I was really looking forward to that part of the story but it didn't really deliver in my opinion. Thankfully, there was lots of other interesting things going on so I didn't particularly mind, but don't expect this to be a full on teen romance or anything.
This book is a great read for any teenage girl, though I think that 'younger' teenagers would find this book more enjoyable. The plot line is interesting and funny; as you can imagine a New Yorker adapting to a hippie lifestyle is a big adjustment to say the least. I wouldn't say that this book is predictable because there were some pretty surprising turns of events along the way that prevent you from seeing too far ahead. Most teenagers will be able to relate to Kendra's parental issues as just about every child goes through the phase of hating all the decisions that their parents make for them. This book is a really quick and enjoyable read that I highly recommend for teenagers to end their summer reading with.
The only thing Kendra Bishop wanted from her parents was for them to accept her the way she is. Kendra is just not the workaholic, marathon-obsessed, art freak like her parents. She wanted them to notice her a little. But who knew that her wish would sort of come true, when a TV crew shows up on her doorstep, congratulating her for being picked for the new reality show Black Sheep, which takes two unhappy teens and then makes them live with the others' family. So now instead of just her parents noticing her, the entire world will.
But Kendra doesn't even know how she got selected. Okay, maybe she does, but it was only a mistake. She didn't mean to write a long letter about her horrible life and the bad way her parents treat her. She didn't mean to make them sound like they were crazy and then send it in to the show. She didn't mean to make her letter sound so dramatic, but that's the only thing reality shows thrive on--DRAMA. Of course her parents wouldn't go for it, right?
Kendra should already know to expect the unexpected, because now Kendra is on her way to Monterey, California, to switch lives with Maya Mulligan, who is tired of her spirit-loving, animal-saving, hippie parents. Now Kendra's new world is just too much to handle, living with Max and Mona, her new parents, a stealing ferret, and five kids. It's not exactly what she's used to.
To make matters worse, she meets Mitch Mulligan, the oldest son in the Mulligan family. The very hot guy that Kendra now has to live with, the guy that wants nothing to do with the show, since he thinks it is ridiculous, which also drags Kendra along with it. It's bad enough that Judy Greenberg, the crazy producer that talks in third person, is always tailing Kendra, making sure she gets all the problems that Kendra has to face on camera, and sometimes even making problems when there aren't any.
But there is one good thing that comes out of this reality show. His name is Maurice and he is an otter. He's not just any ordinary otter, either--he is the only thing that actually keeps Kendra sane and maybe even changes her life.
Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout, best known for their VIVIEN LEIGH REID series, takes us into the world of celebrities, the one where it's all reality and not just some script. THE BLACK SHEEP is not only funny but also heartwarming. The characters are as charming as the ones you see on actual reality shows, and Kendra Bishop is that one person that everyone loves, roots for, and hopes to see succeed. After reading THE BLACK SHEEP, it just makes me wonder if reality TV is really that spontaneous and if the cameras are actually that annoying.