Flash Reviews: The Reality Edition

*Two more flash reviews for you today!    Both of these books feature the element of Reality TV!

Author: Kathryn Williams
Release Date: Out now (Aug. 21, 2012)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. / MacMillan
Received: Borrowed


Can a spot on a teen reality show really lead to a scholarship at an elite cooking school AND a summer romance?

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Nicolaides was practically raised in the kitchen of her family’s Italian-Greek restaurant, Taverna Ristorante. When her best friend, Alex, tries to convince her to audition for a new reality show, Teen Test Kitchen, Sophie is reluctant. But the prize includes a full scholarship to one of America's finest culinary schools and a summer in Napa, California, not to mention fame.

Once on-set, Sophie immediately finds herself in the thick of the drama—including a secret burn book, cutthroat celebrity judges, and a very cute French chef. Sophie must figure out a way to survive all the heat and still stay true to herself. A terrific YA offering--fresh, fun, and sprinkled with romance.

I wasn't expecting much going into this novel, and so my expectations were on par with my reading experience.  The book has the same strain of cuteness as its adorable cover, though never deep and meaningful.  It's a good light summer read, and clean enough for even tweens to pick up and read.

The novel centers around a girl named Sophie who has grown up in the restaurant business, but wants more for her own career in food services.  Her friend helps her get onto a reality TV show called Teen Test Kitchen, which has the ability to jumpstart her career.  Her family isn't necessarily thrilled with Sophie's decision, but they support her, and it was nice to see such a strong support system in the novel.  The book was more concerned with going through the motions of Sophie's Reality TV experience than it was fleshing out all of the characters, so it was hard to get into everyone's head and truly care about them and their ambitions.  At the same time, it felt like what goes on behind the scenes at a Reality TV show, so the book succeeded on that front.

I loved the inclusion of various recipes with Sophie's scribblings on why she included it.  It really added a personal touch.  Speaking of food...

Be forewarned to have some food on hand when reading this one:  It will make you hungry!


This cover is so stinking cute, and a large part of why I had this one on my radar.  It just reeks of cuteness, don't you think?  I just want to pick this book up and hug it!  I love the food theme and the way the title is written on the apron and the words "A Novel" on the wooden spoon.  So cute!

Author: Kiera Cass
Release Date: Out now (April 24, 2012)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Received: ARC from publisher


For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

I wanted this book shortly after the publishing deal was announced.  It sounded so intriguing.  Months and months later, the cover released, and I only coveted the book more.  By wanting this book so fiercely and for so long, it was impossible for it to completely live up to my expectations, but the book made a decent start.  I feel as though a lot of the first book is build-up for the rest of the series, so I'm expecting a lot of evolution and character growth in the next novel.

The book centers around a girl named America who is chosen to go on live TV as a candidate to become Prince Maxon's wife.  She dreads being chosen because she's secretly in love with someone else, and decides to sabotage her attempts at winning the ultimate prize.  Once at the competition, however, she realizes there's more going on than what initially meets the eye and is forced to re-evaluate everything she thought she knew.

The concept of choosing a nation's princess on live TV Bachelor-style is interesting, especially when you throw a dystopian regime into the mix.  THE SELECTION is like nothing I've seen before in this aspect.  While it took me a while to get used to the character names, there's actually a reason behind them which makes them much easier to digest.  There's also a bit of a love triangle in the novel, as seems standard these days in YA.  Plus, I totally called the ending.  There were also scenes I didn't see coming, however, so it was a nice mix.  While it was a bit predictable at times, the story picked up enough to compel me; I'll definitely be picking up the next book to see how Kiera Cass opens up her world and brings out her characters.


This cover is so, so pretty--and it knows it!  A lot of the hype for THE SELECTION picked up when everyone saw the gorgeous cover.  I love the coloring; icy blue is a favorite of mine.  I can't wait to see what THE ELITE looks like!