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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Reality Ali

Reality Ali by Christine Marciniak. Zumaya Thresholds, 2012. Personal copy.

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From the publisher’s website: “The only thing real about reality TV is the camera.

“Fourteen-year-old Ali Caldwell’s father keeps her privacy so secure none of the kids at boarding school believe she has a movie star for a mom. Sick of hiding in the wings, Ali decides to orchestrate her own fame by posting videos of her and her friends on YouTube. Suddenly, she’s the new Hollywood buzz, and her mom wants Ali on her reality show.

“Now Ali’s in the middle of a media firestorm. The paparazzi have tracked her down, interview requests are coming from all over, and the hottest star in Hollywood asks her to the school dance. To top it all off, some stranger is following her around and sending flowers. It’s really starting to creep her out. But is he really a dangerous stalker, or just another cog in her mother’s publicity machine?”

As I explained when I blogged about Christine’s earlier book, When Mike Kissed Emma, as well as here, Christine and I have been friends since fourth grade. I know!

And, as I explained then, that friendship makes it pretty impossible for me to review her books objectively. Also, I’ve seen various drafts of her books — when reading Reality Ali, for instance, I was noting what was new and what was based on some earlier version of the story. It was a bit hard to read it as it is because of all that history!

Back to the book: Ali is a young freshman: over protected by her father, neglected by her mother, and desperate for attention without quite thinking things through. For example, Ali doesn’t seek out attention in some areas (where she sits in class, what she wears, what she’s involved in doesn’t scream “look at me”), yet she thinks she wants to be on her mother’s reality TV show. What she wants, though, is not to be on any TV show: she wants her divorced parents’ attention. Of course, when she gets their attention, it’s not quite what she wanted.

Other reviews: Young Adult Books Central; GoodReads.

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About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is lizzy.burns@gmail.com.

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