on March 7th 2017
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SEEKING THE SMART ONE
Twenty-four-year-old Jen Reid had her life in good shape: an okay job, a tiny-cute Seattle apartment, and a great boyfriend almost ready to get serious. In a flash it all came apart. Single, unemployed, and holding an eviction notice, who has time to remember trying out for a reality show? Then the call comes, and Jen sees her chance to start over—by spending her summer on national TV.
Luckily The Fishbowl is all about puzzles and games, the kind of thing Jen would love even if she wasn’t desperate. The cast checks all the boxes: cheerful, quirky Birdie speaks in hashtags; vicious Ariana knows just how to pout for the cameras; and corn-fed “J-dawg” plays the cartoon villain of the house. Then there’s Justin, the green-eyed law student who always seems a breath away from kissing her. Is their attraction real, or a trick to get him closer to the $250,000 grand prize? Romance or showmance, suddenly Jen has a lot more to lose than a summer . . .
~~Reviewed by Evelyn~~
Who hasn’t thought about going on a reality show? In AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR by Laura Heffernan, part of the Reality Star Romance series, we get to live vicariously through our heroine, Jen Reid. Attractive contestants, interesting challenges, big prizes, behind the scenes intrigue, gossip, jealously, backstabbing and, of course, romance. It’s all there! Grab a bowl of popcorn and get comfortable. It’s time to watch America’s latest craze Fishbowl!
Jen, who lives in Seattle, has a boyfriend that she loves, but her job is just ok, she can barely afford her apartment, and she has medical bills she can’t pay. Scrolling through Facebook, Jen notices a post seeking young, intelligent participants for a new reality show based on trivia games and puzzles. The grand prize is $250,000. On a whim, she applies and is offered a spot on the show. Suddenly watching her life fall apart as she loses her job, gets evicted from her apartment, and finds out her boyfriend isn’t what he seems, she decides that spending the summer on the show would give her a place to live for a few months. Besides, there was another hot contestant that it might be fun getting to know!
I’ll admit to having watched my fair share of reality shows so the premise of this book immediately intrigued me. A cross between Big Brother, Survivor, Jeopardy and The Bachelor, Fishbowl was a lot of fun. There were physical challenges, trivia contests and more than its share of backstage drama. Jen was very likeable as a contestant from the reader’s point of view, but she had her struggles with the other “fish” and the viewing public. I found myself cheering for her all the way! Some of the other contestants were equally as likeable, especially Jen’s potential love interest, Justin. Of course, we had to have the resident villains to round out the fish in the bowl, and these characters were equally well written and just as despicable as you would expect them to be.
While you might expect Jen’s journey through the Fishbowl to be somewhat predictable given that she is the heroine of our story, our author, by telling the story in the 1st person from Jen’s point of view, has done a very good job of keeping Jen’s journey full of surprises all the way through to the end. The story is told more through what happens off screen than on, and while I have no way of knowing how true to life everything is when compared to an authentic reality show, I enjoyed “being in the know” nevertheless.
Some of the challenges and games played as part of the show seemed a little silly to me, and I feel the book would have benefited from more action in that respect. I also felt that the romance aspect of the book could have been ramped up a bit, too, but all in all, a fun read from author Laura Hefferman.
I voluntarily read an Advanced Reader Copy of this book.