Something Real by Heather Demetrios is one of my favorite books of 2014 so-far — so I’m especially excited to have Heather stopping by for an exclusive guest post today, as part of the blog tour for Something Real. The book is in stores now, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, do so immediately.
Well, read Heather’s guest post first — a survival guide to reality TV — then go pick up Something Real and start reading!
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In my debut novel, Something Real, my main character Bonnie™ (or Chloe, as she likes to be called, since her name is trademarked by MetaReel Productions) has to live every high school girl’s nightmare: her entire life is exposed to the whole world (oh wait, that’s everyone’s nightmare). That girl fight she got in with one of her sisters? You can find it on Netflix. That time she swallowed half her parents’ medicine cabinet? Read about it in her mom’s tell-all. Everywhere Chloe goes and everything she does is up for grabs. If it’s not MetaReel sticking their cameras in her face while she tries to eat breakfast, it’s the Vultures—paparazzi that park outside her house and her school, waiting for a shot that makes her look like she has a baby bump. As someone who was literally born on television, Chloe will be the first to tell you: it’s survival of the fittest.
Don’t google yourself—like, ever
This is probably the number one rule for surviving reality TV “stardom.” Anyone who has experienced even the tiniest bit of notoriety—heck, anyone period—knows that the Internet is the high school equivalent of bathroom stall slander. Chances are, someone, somewhere, is writing something that’s either untrue, uncool, or flat-out mean. And instead of it being written in Sharpie on the back of one stall, whatever’s on the Internet is out there for literally the whole world to read. If Chloe googles herself, she knows she’ll see some pretty awful stuff about her past (the infamous Pill Incident) and a bunch of crap about her present (no, for the millionth time she’s not pregnant!). Basically: google at your own risk.
Avoid the Cray-Cray
MetaReel, the company that produces her family’s show, Baker’s Dozen, will do anything for the right shot. Whether it’s staging surprises meant to freak Chloe out or creating drama in order to catch explosive family arguments, MetaReel will stop at nothing to keep the show’s ratings sky-high. If you find yourself in a similar reality TV hell just remember this: you don’t have to play by their rules. Say No sometimes, hide out in places where they’re not allowed to film, and refuse to let them exploit the people you care about.
Stick Close to Your Besties
Here’s the deal: being on reality TV for your senior year of high school (not to mention for most of life) is pretty tough. The only people who are going to help you get through are friends who have absolutely negative zero interest in becoming reality TV stars. Luckily, Chloe has two BFF’s: Tessa and Mer (not to mention her brother, Benton™). Tessa’s no-nonsense outlook on life helps Chloe keep it real while Mer’s all-caps exuberance turns everyone’s frowns upside down. These are the kind of friends that won’t judge you when you seriously consider going homicidal on your TV crew and they’ll be the first to defend you against camera phones and evil talk show hosts.
Find a Janitor’s Closet
…or an equally acceptable place to make-out with your boyfriend. Don’t even think about romantic dinners or trips to the local theater. PDA is all fine and well for people that won’t see their lovin’ on the front cover of a glossy tabloid. But this, unfortunately, doesn’t apply to Chloe and your new book boyfriend, Patrick Sheldon. Let’s be honest—it doesn’t take a genius to imagine all the horrible episodes reality TV could make of your relationship. Imagine the following on camera, and you’ll see what I mean: the first time your boyfriend meets your parents, your first kiss, that hot and heavy make-out session in his car, that really private conversation about really private things that are now no longer really private because it got aired on national television. You catch my drift.
Invest in Good Disguises
They probably won’t work, but it’s kinda fun to get a Groucho Marx mask or a pair of fabulous sunglasses that make you look like a 1970’s movie star. Wigs aren’t a bad idea, either, and it’s even more fun to try them on at a Dollar Tree store with a boy that makes you swoon.
Let Your Inner Anarchist Out
A little subversion never hurt anyone (spray paint, wire cutters, and duct tape optional).
Follow these tips and, like Chloe, you’ll be able to live the life you want, whether or not the cameras are rolling.
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Heather Demetrios, originally from Los Angeles, now lives in Brooklyn and various imaginary locales. She is the recipient of a PEN New England Discovery Award for her debut YA novel about reality TV “stardom,” SOMETHING REAL (Macmillan/Henry Holt), and is the author of the upcoming EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, a smoldering fantasy about jinn in Los Angeles (#1 in the DARK CARAVAN fantasy trilogy from HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray), both out in 2014. She is currently working on her second novel for Macmillan, a love story about a young combat veteran and a girl trapped in their small town, both struggling to escape the war at home. When she’s not hanging out with her characters, Heather is working on her MFA in writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
About Something Real:
There’s nothing real about reality TV.
Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.