This chilling satire follows one teenager’s efforts to escape from the reality TV franchise financially supporting her large family.
Chloe’s suicide attempt abruptly ended her family’s 19 Kids and Counting–style reality show. During the following four camera-free years, she changed her name and overcame debilitating panic attacks, successfully concealing her fame. Now a high school senior on the cusp of a new romance, Chloe panics when an invasive new reality show contract exposes her identity. Genuinely terrified of exposing herself and her friends to public criticism and humiliation, Chloe begs for privacy. The convincingly malevolent program producer responds with threats of financial ruin for the entire family, and Chloe’s monstrous mother dismisses the requests as selfish teen rebellion—even implying that Chloe’s suicide attempt ruined the family. In her real life, Chloe longs for her family’s acceptance, but their continual refusal to consider her needs leads to periodic outbursts of frustrated rage—which are then cited as evidence of her instability. Throughout the frustrating cycle of absurdity, Chloe’s unflinchingly raw voice avoids didacticism as she grapples with privacy in the modern age. Discussions of Orwell’s 1984 in her civics class also provide surprisingly natural opportunities for readers to consider how their own media-consumption habits may be contributing to a culture that seems disinclined to value others’ right to privacy.
Sobering and thought-provoking ideas wrapped in an engaging plot. (Fiction. 12 & up)