Thursday, June 20, 2013


Title: Reality Ends Here
Author: Alison Gaylin
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication Date: June 10, 2013
Genre: YA, Mystery
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley
My smiley rating: 4/5


With a major crush on an adorable pop star, annoying younger siblings, and a mom and stepdad who are too strict, Estella Blanchard is a typical teenage girl-except that her daily struggles are plotlines on the reality show 
Seven Is Heaven, which relentlessly documents her life as the older half-sister of sextuplets. Estella's an Oscar-worthy actress at hiding her true feelings from the camera.

However, she can't outrun the spotlight when she receives a Christmas present from her biological father...who died ten years ago under mysterious circumstances. Blamed for this "sick prank," Estella is placed in an unorthodox support group for troubled child stars-including a twenty-three-year-old has-been, a backstabbing drama queen, and a super-cute (but very off-limits) boy bander. And, as weird as the group is, when a creepy paparazzo starts stalking her, claiming that her dad is actually alive, Estella's going to need their help to uncover the truth and stay alive.


I have so many thoughts – positive and negative – about this cute YA mystery, I don’t know where to start, so I’m just going to throw it all out there in the order it pops into my head. Okay, so first things first. The reason I picked up this book for review is because it sounded fascinating and completely different from the usual YA formula, and indeed this is exactly what it ended up being: different. Suffice to say, I enjoyed it tremendously. The behind-the-scenes parts about what things are like when the cameras aren’t rolling and how staged reality shows really are, was a definite eye-opener for me and a big reason why I enjoyed this book so much. The tongue-in-cheek mention of sponsors providing food to showcase their brands during the filming of each episode of “Seven is Heaven”, was a nice touch, and yet another eye-opener for anyone who thought reality shows are reality. I have to add here that I’m not a fan of reality tv, so naturally, the Kardashians and other such similar shows hold no attraction for me (and also because said Kardashians is a firm favorite with my hubby).

So on to the story. The mystery elements were well plotted and kept me guessing all the way. Most of it was unpredictable and the real culprit at the end was someone I didn’t suspect at all. The little bit of romance there is in this story happens more towards the end and is – thank goodness – not the main focus or the key element driving the plot. I didn’t much care for most of the characters and I especially didn’t like Estella’s mom. The things she and her husband, Barry, made the sextuplets and Estella do for the sake of entertainment was sometimes downright bad parenting. I couldn’t view Estella’s mom as anything other than pretentious and shallow, and even when the cameras weren’t rolling I found her to be cold and distant. A few of the sextuplets got more attention than the rest of their siblings and Estella also seemed to have her own favorites, but overall I found the six younger siblings the most entertaining of the entire cast of characters.  Estella is okay if you add a pinch of salt and I felt as frustrated as she did with all the grown-ups withholding the truth from her and trying to keep her in the dark about her father, but sometimes she annoyed me with her bratty behavior. If ever I came across a contradicting main character, she was definitely it. The one character I did like a lot was Steve. He seemed to be the most balanced of all of them and if I ever need a bodyguard, I would like to have someone like him. Not only did he safeguard Estella and her family, he is also a terrific friend to her and her siblings. There were times though when his evasiveness frustrated me as I felt he could’ve provided some of the answers Estella needed. But that’s neither here nor there and his caginess didn’t lessen my overall enjoyment of the story.

Like I said before, Reality Ends Here is an engaging mystery which made for a fun, quick and fluffy read. The author kept it straightforward and drew me into the world of reality television with a flourish. The ending was good, but rather anticlimactic after all that build-up. Not the exciting finale I had hoped for, but definitely one I didn’t expect. I’d recommend this book for readers aged twelve and up.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. 


Reality Ends Here by Alison Gaylin has 12 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



Alison Gaylin is a journalist who has covered the arts and entertainment for more than fifteen years. Her first novel, HIDE YOUR EYES, debuted in March, 2005 with nearly a quarter of a million copies in print and was nominated for the prestigious Edgar Award for a first novel. The sequel, YOU KILL ME, was published in 2006 to rave reviews. Her first hardcover, TRASHED, out in September 2007, launched NAL's new Obsidian imprint. Alison lives in upstate New York with her husband, young daughter and old dog.
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