Sunday, April 8, 2012

Review: Watch Me (Previously known as Reality Chick) by Lauren Barnholdt

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Simon Pulse)
Spoilers?: Minor

Goodreads Synopsis:

 She thinks she has nothing to hide…

Ally has everything under control. She’s about to move into a house full of strangers and have her life broadcast to the world, but as long as she still has her long-distance boyfriend, Corey, nothing can go wrong. Nothing, that is, until Ally starts spending time with her housemate Drew, the hot and sensitive guy who always seems to be around when she needs someone the most.

As suspicions and lies start pulling Ally and Corey apart, she’s not sure if she can trust anyone, not even herself. Ally is about to learn the hard way that life is what happens when everyone is looking, and it doesn’t always capture her good side….

I've read two other books by Barnholdt, and enjoyed one more than the other. And still enjoy that one over this one. (It was Two-Way Street, and am I excited for the companion novel? Yes!) This one wasn't bad, though. It was probably better than the second one I read, but not amazing.
Watch Me is about Ally, who is starring in a reality show with other college freshmen. She has a boyfriend of two years, who is going to a different college in another state, but believes they'll stay together. She starts growing closer with her roommates, two of which are girls, and one of the two boys, while growing a little distant from her boyfriend. And, of course, learning to deal with a camera always following her around and not knowing what is going to be shown on television, while also trying to make other friends.
Ally was alright. She wasn't dumb, but was a little naïve, and not one of my favorite characters. I did like her gay best friend, Grant, and I liked her girl roommates. I also liked Drew, the nice boy roommate, and thought things moved along nicely between them, especially with how things were at the end. The ending of the book was good, though, what with none of them jumping into anything, just taking it all slowly.
Her boyfriend, Corey, I think could have been nicer. He started becoming a bit of a jerk, and I don't think the cheating thing was really expanded upon as much as it could have been. But maybe that was because, at that point, it just wasn't as important to her anymore as everything else? And James, her other boy roommate. He was a jerk, and I was thinking that we would see some actual likable things about him, but we didn't. Which is alright, I guess.
I like how Barnholdt wrote out with the Then and Now parts, but feel that I would have liked having multiple points-of-view. With only being in Ally's head, it made it seem like the whole show was about her, but there were several other people cameras on them, and I would have liked to know what they were doing and taking things.
I liked seeing what Ally thought in the present, as opposed to during the filming, but it made everything seem worse than it was. For certain points, like when she was being dramatic, it was nice, but other times only made it seem more ominous than was needed. The beginning, for instance, made it seem like some big tragic thing was going to happen, but it didn't. There was some drama, but not as much as it made it seem like there would be.
And, while I do like Barnholdt's writing, which makes her books easy to get through and interesting, it's a little repetitive. She used phrases/words like 'I mean' and 'sketch' several times, which bothered me a bit. And she uses a bit of stereotypes in her stories, what with being popular and not and making that into a big deal with her characters and the people around them. She uses it in a couple of her books, not just this one, which bothers me a bit.
I did enjoy the book, though. It wasn't amazing, but it was good, and I am planning on reading her other books.

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