What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this novel by a reality TV star from the MTV show The Hills includes pervasive, extensive drinking by underage young adults; repeated mentions of name brands with an emphasis on having the right expensive clothing; and features some sexual encounters, including one-night stands and two girls making out.
What's the story?
Nineteen-year-old friends Jane and Scarlett move to Los Angeles for a new adventure. Jane plans to intern for an event planner while Scarlett attends classes at USC. When they're hand-picked to star in a new reality show -- described as a PG-version of Sex in the City -- cameras follow them everywhere. As the TV producer tells them, "No one moves here to be a nobody." When the show becomes a hit, the friends have to discover if becoming "somebody" means losing who they are.
Is it any good?
The draw here -- as the book jacket with the author's name twice as big as the title suggests -- is author Lauren Conrad's fame as a star of MTV's reality show The Hills. The entire back cover is a photo of her looking like a model. The book, "loosely inspired by her own experience," highlights the staging of "reality" shots but doesn't dish much insider gossip.
Conrad falls into common new author traps (telling rather than showing, lack of character motivation, caricatured secondary characters) but she's not bad with dialogue. Readers will trust her authenticity in portraying the lives of young adults testing their new independence.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why Jane and Scarlet were so willing to participate in the reality TV show. Would teens want to be followed by cameras documenting their lives?
How "real" is reality TV? In what ways does Conrad show how staging and editing affects what happens and what viewers see?
What does it mean to be "hot"? Scarlet and Jane learn that L.A. clubs are only popular for six months; "most places are in and out faster than Juicy track suits." What do teens think that says about the nature of trends?
Also, what do you think the consequences in real life would be for Scarlet's sexual behavior? See our Sex and Media Tip