Review: For Real by Alison Cherry

For Real by Alison Cherry

No parents. No limits. No clue what they’re in for.

Shy, cautious Claire has always been in her confident older sister’s shadow. While Miranda’s life is jam-packed with exciting people and whirlwind adventures, Claire gets her thrills vicariously by watching people live large on reality TV.

When Miranda discovers her boyfriend, Samir, cheating on her just before her college graduation, it’s Claire who comes up with the perfect plan. They’ll outshine Miranda’s fame-obsessed ex while having an amazing summer by competing on Around the World, a race around the globe for a million bucks. Revenge + sisterly bonding = awesome.

But the show has a twist, and Claire is stunned to find herself in the middle of a reality-show romance that may or may not be just for the cameras. This summer could end up being the highlight of her life… or an epic fail forever captured on film. In a world where drama is currency and manipulation is standard, how can you tell what’s for real?

Title: For Real
Author: Alison Cherry
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Publication date: December 9, 2014

I received For Real from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I love reality TV, so I was excited and ready for this book as soon as I heard about it. Add in the sister angle and I knew I had to read it!

What I Like
  • I liked Claire right away because she’s a big TV fan, and not just of scripted shows but also of reality TV. Claire’s also shy and reserved, but she’s not as timid as her sister thinks she is. The race really helps Claire come out of her shell and grow as a person. It’s fun to watch her overcome fears and gain confidence.
  • Around the World is basically a fictional version of The Amazing Race with a twist. Although I no longer watch The Amazing Race, the best part of the show is watching the racers stumble through the crazy tasks they have to do. For Real goes into detail about the tasks that this version of the race sets in front of these racers and I loved reading about it.
  • My favorite part of the book is the strengthening of Miranda and Claire’s relationship. Miranda has been away at college for the past four years and it’s hard to maintain a close relationship with a sibling when you’re apart. Miranda has missed out on Claire’s teen years, but now it’s time for them to reconnect and get to know each other as adults, not the children they once were.
What I Don’t Like
  • Miranda. Although she improves as the book goes on, my early impression of her is not good. She’s not a fan of TV, but even worse than that, she’s pretty condescending to Claire. She can’t see that Claire’s grown up. Claire still has some growing to do, sure, but most people her age do. Well into the race, Miranda sees Claire as a little kid who can’t do anything for herself. Miranda is only about four years older than Claire, so I’m sure she remembers being eighteen and wanting to be treated like an adult.
  • There’s a twist to the race that changes things up a great deal. I went into For Real expecting one thing and got a very different book.
  • Romance/showmance: I like romance in most books, but reality stars hooking up isn’t very compelling and it’s equally uninteresting here. Claire spends way too much time focusing on Will Divine instead of running her race.
The Verdict

For Real would have been a better book if it didn’t have that twist to the race. I don’t hate what Around the World turned out to be, but I really just wanted what I was expecting. I think Claire could still have had her growth and she and Miranda would still have grown closer in that version.

Fans of reality TV — especially The Amazing Race — will like For Real. People who don’t like reality TV probably won’t find much here for them.

3 1/2 stars



  1. I wanted to read this one, but I might skip it now or wait a while. Thanks for the awesome review! 🙂
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  2. I like reality shows and I’m so curious about that twist! I’ll keep it in mind 🙂
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