Thursday, March 17, 2016

Scripted by Maya Rock

Nettie lives on Bliss Island, and her life is pretty idyllic... except for the fact that every move she makes is filmed for a reality TV show.  Media1 entered into a deal w/ the islanders' ancestors to give them a good, safe life in a world of uncertainty.  The only thing was that they had to agree to be filmed, and if their ratings get too low, they can be cut.  What happens to the Characters that are cut?  According to the Contract, they're supposed to be taken care of for the rest of their lives.  Given training and jobs out in the Real World.  But is that what really happens?

Nettie's always wondered about the Patriots (what the cut characters are called) because her father is one of them.  When her ratings get low, she's worried she could end up cut.  But soon her producer starts giving her suggestions to bring them up.  At first, this is awesome... but soon the "suggestions" start becoming demands.  Media1 has always stayed mostly hands-off with the Characters, so this new turn of events is frightening... especially when the demands become things Nettie is unwilling to do.

What would you do if your life was a reality TV show?  Not only that, but there's no down time.  It's The Truman Show, except you KNOW about the cameras, but you can't acknowledge them.  Living your life worrying about ratings, having people you know get "cut" and not even being able to mourn them because you can't talk about or even really acknowledge that they ever existed?  This is the life Nettie is born into.

I don't read a lot of Dystopian, but I had a lot of fun reading this book.  I thought it had an interesting premise, and the right kind of characters to back it up.  There isn't a lot of world-building, which I could see being a turn-off for some people.  I didn't have issue with it.  I thought it was kind of fun that everything wasn't defined right in the beginning.  For example, there are a lot of terms the characters use like- Crickets, plus ten, Patriots, fralling, close up, and weird show themes like liberato/voxless/etc.- and the narrator doesn't go out of her way to explain what it means.  It's easy to figure out as you read on though.  There also isn't a ton of backstory ever revealed.  There was enough for the story to make sense, but we never really find out how everything really got to be this way.

It infuriated me that these people were not allowed to ever mention the cameras, break fourth wall, or talk to family/friends about any issues they may have with being on this show.  I can't imagine growing up and NOT being able to even mention my father- or other people that I knew who were cut.  Or to voice my concerns to my own mother about what the producers were telling me.  It was an intriguing part of the book to watch how the Characters adapted to that... because really, people are going to find a way to talk.

I loved Nettie and her group of friends.  For being on a reality show, they lived pretty mundane lives.  I thought they would be doing all kinds of crazy stuff for ratings, but they really lived completely normally.  It took the producers stepping in with their "suggestions" to get the Characters to do anything outside of their norm.  And when the "suggestions" started going too far, I was riveted.

A big part to the book centered on Nettie's friendship with Lia- a girl with high ratings.  It was one of my least favorite parts.  I know that Nettie felt as if she was cast as the "sidekick" to wonderful, perfect Lia and she wanted to breakout of that, but I kind of didn't want to read about another girl "frenemy" relationship.  On the other hand, her friendships with Selwyn and Scoop seemed really genuine.

The Boy: of course there's a boy in this book!  I did like Callen and thought he made an awesome love interest, I just wanted MORE from him in the end.  He always felt out of place in the Blissful Days world (which is what I liked most about him), but when things came down to it, he never really vocalized his feelings all that much.

I'm really happy that a book out of my comfort zone got me hooked so completely.  I didn't think it was perfect, but I could not stop reading.  I could definitely read more books like this!  And YAY for the open ending.  I like it when the reader gets to imagine a future for the characters instead of everything being spelled out to a T.

OVERALL: I super enjoyed this reality show dystopian.  I don't read a lot of this genre, and found it really fun and drama-filled enough to keep me reading and reading and reading.  I don't know if everyone would like this, and it's not the deepest dystopian in the world, but I found it entertaining and full of endearing characters.

This Book Includes:
  • Friendship
  • Romance
  • No swearing
  • Little to no sexual situations
  • A media conglomerate as the government
  • A bit of a love triangle
  • Reality TV
  • An unknown dystopian world

My Rating: 3/4

Date Published: 2/5/2015
How I Got This Book: I bought the paperback
Publisher: Penguin Putnam

Character: Nettie
Book: #Scandal by Sarah Ockler

  • I think Nettie could relate to how Lucy's biggest mistake is broadcast on the Internet to the entire school & also the- being in love with your best friend's boyfriend- thing.

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  1. This sounds like a book I would really like! Great review!

  2. It sure sounds like an original concept with the reality show thing and they can't escape and how they can't think or talk about the cut characters and mourn them. The not being able to talk about the camera's or talk about the show does sound very annoying, and I guess that's where the dystopia feel comes from.
    As long as the new words that are used in a book their meaning becomes obvious from the way they are sued I don't mind too much and usually that is the case. It often feels more natural to not have every word get's explained.
    It's nice to step out of your comfort zone now and then and find books you enjoy. I am not a fan of open endings though, although it depends on how they are written. Great review!