The Real Deal: Unscripted
What could be better than getting everything you want in life? Claire is thrilled when everything she ever wanted is handed to her on a silver platter. But Claire quickly realizes nothing in life is that easy, and everything comes at a cost. In her case, the cost is the complete loss of privacy. The Real Deal: Unscripted is the continuing life story of Claire Marangello, whom readers first met in Amy Kaye’s The Real Deal series title Focus On This, a story about a reality TV show in a high school. Unscripted takes us away from the high school and into Clarie’s personal/professional life.
Claire’s dreams have just come true. She is to spend the summer in New York working on a Broadway play. She’ll also get to work with Jeb, a hottie and former boy band member who is trying to break his way into acting. The twist, however, is that she has to live out her dreams in front of the whole world on a reality television. Claire thinks she has it all until the first day of rehearsal, when her dreams are slapped in the face with “reality.”
The director isn’t thrilled that Claire and Jeb are in his cast; he took them on to bring more money and publicity to the production. The director isn’t impressed with Claire’s acting or dancing and she sees rather quickly that she has a lot of catching up to do. Jeb helps her out by letting her work with his trainers. Just as Claire is learning all the right moves – on stage and off – things began to spiral out of control, again. Her relationship with her newfound sister becomes strained as direct result of having cameras following her every move, and her new relationship with Jeb might just be more than she can handle.
Although I liked the book, I had three problems with it, first among them that Claire’s voice didn’t always seem to be that of a young adult. The maturity of some of her decisions and the way she made them felt less like those of a teen than of an adult pretending to be an adolescent. I also found the first-person narrative initially off-putting, but after about a third of the book it became easier to handle. And finally, the book ends on an unbelievable note, with the author wrapping things up just a little too neatly for my taste.
Overall, though, for my first foray into young adult literature, Unscripted was an interesting read. The subject matter was light and the romance between Claire and Jeb was sweet. Kaye’s writing style moved the story along at a nice pace and the characters were interesting enough that I wanted to know what happened to them. Those of you who enjoy YA fiction for yourselves or your kids should find enough to enjoy that I give it a qualified recommendation.