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The Real Real
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The Real Real

4.0 26
by Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus

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The bestselling authors of The Nanny Diaries introduce a new heroine to root for: Jesse O'Rourke, coffee barista, high school senior, and unwitting reality TV star.

Imagine there was never a Laguna Beach, a Newport Harbor, the shimmering Hills. Imagine that your hometown—your school—is the


The bestselling authors of The Nanny Diaries introduce a new heroine to root for: Jesse O'Rourke, coffee barista, high school senior, and unwitting reality TV star.

Imagine there was never a Laguna Beach, a Newport Harbor, the shimmering Hills. Imagine that your hometown—your school—is the first place XTV descends to set up cameras.

Now imagine they've trained them on you.

When Jesse O'Rourke gets picked for a "documentary" being filmed at her school in the Hamptons she's tempted to turn down the offer. But there's a tuition check attached to being on the show, and Jesse needs the cash so she can be the first in her family to attend college. All she has to do is trade her best friend for the glam clique she's studiously avoided, her privacy for a 24/7 mike, and her sense of right and wrong for "what sells on camera." . . . At least there's one bright spot in the train wreck that is her suddenly public senior year: Jesse's crush has also made the cast.

As the producers manipulate the lives of their "characters" to heighten the drama, and Us Weekly covers become a regular occurrence for Jesse, she must struggle to remember one thing: the difference between real and the real real.

Editorial Reviews

Sarah Mlynowski
“Really funny, really smart, and really entertaining. I really LOVED this book!”
Publishers Weekly

Long Island girl Jesse O'Rourke is a down-to-earth Have-Not among the glamorous, vacuous Haves at Hampton High. But all this changes when she's one of the lucky six chosen to star in a reality-TV show called The Real Hampton Beach. From the authors of The Nanny Diaries, this first venture into YA functions as a reality-TV exposé about how the genre corrupts those who play along-even a regular girl like Jesse. For $40,000 toward college, Jesse risks everything-her best friendship, dignity, values, respect from her parents and even getting the right guy-as TV producers stage ridiculous, fake situations for these high school "stars" that lead to humiliation, backstabbing and other shock-value fare. And things only get worse once the show airs ("Must stop looking every time someone calls my name," thinks Jesse after passersby harass her while she's picking up the mail.) Though the endgame payback lacks punch-its purpose is to set up a sequel-with this lighter-than-air page-turner the authors deliver a fast-paced, fun read. Ages 14-up. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Children's Literature - Myrna Dee Marler
The authors of The Nanny Diaries have taken on young adult literature and the world of teen TV reality shows with their first young adult novel. They focus in on the life and trials of sixteen-year-old Jesse O'Rourke, one of the lower middle class people who live in the Hamptons (Her mother is a maid and her father manages a restaurant.), who unaccountably finds herself starring in a reality show about teenage life in the Hamptons. Her reality co-stars are the rich and beautiful (and shallow) people at school, except for the boy Jesse hankers after. This intrusion into her privacy would all be worth it because it comes with a check; but her best friend is furious that she was not cast and when Jesse tries to make it up to her, the demands of what turns out to be a totally false picture of life at Hamptons High, take up all her time. Some of the same confusion and conflict troubles her would-be relationship with Drew, the only other cast member she likes. It turns out that reality television is anything but and, in participating, Jesse has to figure out how to be loyal to herself and her real friends. Celebrity life is not for everyone and fame definitely has its downside. Fun reading, full of current cultural allusions, and snap/ crackle humor. Reviewer: Myrna Dee Marler
VOYA - Jordan Triplett
This touching and funny book is about a girl who ends up on a popular reality show. Along with the stress of being on television, Jesse falls in love with a sweet boy named Drew. But suddenly, she finds herself fooling around with the hottest guy in school named Jase. This book has it all, and the characters are awesome! Reviewer: Jordan Triplett, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Diane Tuccillo
Along with five popular members from her class, high school senior Jesse is picked to take part in a hit new reality show called The Real Hampton Beach. Unlike the other teens whose parents are rich, Jesse's parents are not, so the $40,000 scholarship that comes with her contract is welcomed. Unfortunately when her best friend, Caitlyn, is not picked for the cast, it causes a rift in their friendship. As the show progresses, Jesse realizes that her participation is more like servitude, and she finds herself going places, wearing clothes, and doing things that go against her grain. She also allows herself to get into questionable drinking and sexual behaviors, and between the real situations and those made up by a gossip magazine, she becomes both adored and despised by the public. As the first season of the show comes to a close, Jesse discovers who her real friends are and what is really important in life. The authors of The Nanny Diaries take the plunge into the teen market with a thoughtprovoking page-turner. Most characters, including Jesse and Caitlyn, are well drawn, but a few others could have been more clearly developed. The plot is somewhat predictable, and an important plot hinge, that the teens have been secretly recorded in a variety of compromising settings, is not fully believable. Still the quick pace, interesting premise, and satisfying resolution will keep readers hooked. Reviewer: Diane Tuccillo
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up–Teens will revel in the juiciness of this fictional exposé. In The Nanny Diaries (St. Martin’s, 2002), McLaughlin and Kraus took on the world of the rich and neurotic. In their first novel for teens, they expose the malicious underbelly of the reality-TV industry. When Jesse O’Rourke gets chosen to be part of the cast of a new documentary series, The Real Hampton Beach, about seniors dealing with the real world and real issues, she has considerable reservations, but the offer of $40,000 in college tuition is too good to turn down. It sounds easy enough–pretend to be best friends with people you despise, wear designer clothes you cannot afford, and give up any semblance of privacy–right? If only it were that simple. Between the phony friendships, the staged fights, and the product placements, Jesse can no longer differentiate between what’s real and what looks good on television. She and the other players are just pawns in the network’s moneymaking game. However, that changes when Jesse gets dirt on the network’s president of programming. Now they have the upper hand and can finally regain control over their lives. This book is far more entertaining than most of the so-called reality programs on television. The authors have a natural ability for digging up the dirt and bringing it to the surface.–Robyn Zaneski, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Jesse is convinced her senior year will be nothing short of pathetically normal until she's picked to be one of the six stars of The Real Hampton Beach, a reality show filming in her town. As one of the few middle-class families in town, Jesse's parents can't resist the $40,000 scholarship Jesse gets for being on the show. What Jesse trades for the $40,000, however, is her privacy, her reputation, her best friend and a chance to finally get together with the boy she likes (also in the show). Jesse's narration is mired in tedium, unlike a reality show in its failure to edit selectively for the interesting parts and the juicy storylines. When the show begins to air and Jesse becomes famous and loved, the book picks up steam, but readers might not get that far. Jesse's rich, blond cast mates are interchangeable. Though they have drama of their own, readers never feel much for any of them until near the end of the book. The authors' name recognition (The Nanny Diaries, 2002, etc.) should guarantee some sales. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.84(w) x 11.48(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Real Real

Chapter One

"Single file! Everyone, line up on the LEFT!" Mrs. Gesop shouts to be heard over the din of students crowding into the impractically narrow hallway between the stairwell and the auditorium. "We will let you in when everyone is lined up neatly against the wall!" It's a physical impossibility for the hundred-plus seniors of Hampton High to fit along the eight-foot stretch of wall, and as more students step off the stairs we're getting packed in here like panicked cattle. Just open the double doors, lady, and let us in.

Caitlyn wriggles into the air pocket at my right, her face flushed and damp. "What's going on?" she pants, tucking her most recent DIY blond streak behind her ear. "I got to bio late because the Camry wouldn't start—of course I get one semester to park at school, and the crapbox dies every time it snows—and run into an empty room with just the chalkboard saying come here. What does it mean? Is it terrorists?"

"It's probably some stupid college thing." I pat her on the shoulder. "And at least you have a crapbox."

Caitlyn snaps her fingers in front of my face. "Okay, focus." She flips open her phone to show me the last text she received before the eight o'clock bell. "Rob says Drew Rudell showed up puffy-eyed to cross-country practice this morning."

"Really. Why?"

"Dumped over Christmas break. One semester of longdistance love was all she could handle."

"She dumped him?" I grab her wrist to steady myself as we sway in the middle of the bovine huddle. "They were practically married last spring. What is Sarah Lawrence, a two-hour, three-hour drive? For him Iwould've Rollerbladed that." We reflexively drop our chins to our chests and try to look out through our bangs to locate Drew, while I furtively brush on some Benetint.

"He's behind you," she says. "And, despite said puffiness, does have a certain. .. available vibe to him. Looks like your year of silent prayers and that Santeria candle we bought have finally paid off."

I turn to her, making full-force eye contact. "Find out everything you can before lunch. Did she really initiate the breakup, was there infidelity, and who got custody of the windbreaker."

"On it."

"ALL RIGHT, SENIORS! Since we cannot seem to convince you to line up, I only ask that when we open the doors you move in AN ORDERLY FASHION to the front of the auditorium and take seats. In an ORDERLY FASHION!"

The double doors finally give, and everyone flies down the aisles as if cash prizes were at stake.

Caitlyn and I go directly to seats midway in on the left—for no other reason than that's where we happened to sit day one freshman year, so now that's where we always camp—and slouch back for the presentation. Whatever's coming is bound to be tedious—better be comfortable. "I think I'm going to have to pee," Caitlyn leans over to whisper. "I downed a venti latte after I got the car jumped."

"Caitlyn, it's not a high-powered job on Wall Street, it's AP Bio. Why do you need three shots of espresso?"

"It's good for my metabolism."

I roll my eyes. "I will beat you."

"What? I gave up Parliaments and aspartame, let me have the beans—" She cuts off at the sight of Nico Sargossi, Melanie Dubviek, and Trisha Wright coming down the aisle behind us for the First Day Back Big Christmas Loot Reveal—Nico probably has a new Maserati from Santa/Daddy's dealership parked outside. And Melanie and Trisha are both sporting the same fur vest Victoria Beckham wore to the People's Choice Awards.

"Do you have any idea how many shifts at Bambette I'd have to work to afford that?" Caitlyn whispers into my shoulder.

"Maybe the Hampton branch of PETA'll hit 'em with spray cans at lunch. I'll put in a call."

The Three Graces take their seats across the aisle from us next to Jase McCaffrey, still flushed from morning basketball practice, his black hair damp to his forehead. Nico reaches across Trisha to squeeze her boyfriend's hand. At least I think it was his hand. Can't see from here.

"Think they applied to the same colleges?" Caitlyn asks, referring to Hampton High's own Brangelina.

"They only overlap at six out of nine."

"It's sick that you know that."

"You didn't get the flier?" I surreptitiously fold a piece of gum into my mouth.

Also wet-haired from a post-practice shower, Rick Sachs slides into his permanently saved seat on the other side of Jase.

"What if they get to college," Caitlyn asks as Trisha leans forward to talk to Melanie, leaving Nico to kiss Jase over her rounded back, "and there are other couples there that are at least as hot—maybe hotter—and have been together twice as long?"

"Since the womb?"

"Ladies, gentlemen." Our principal walks onstage in front of the slushie-blue velvet curtain, his orthopedic dress shoes squeaking against the polyurethaned wood. "Thank you for joining us this morning." Why is it they always thank us for the mandatory things? "We have a very exciting guest—"

"The president of the New York chapter of Ornithology Today!" Caitlyn whispers with hushed mania.

"Not just to me," he continues into the microphone, his new mustache giving him a certain Dr. Phil je ne sais quoi, "but, I suspect, exciting to you as well."

Caitlyn shrugs. It was a good guess.

"Seniors of Long Island's Hampton High School, please give a warm welcome to Fletch Chapman, president of programming for. .. XTV."

There is an audible ripple of "Wha?" as we turn to one another in disbelief. Not our XTV? This must be some obscure cable channel devoted to xylophones or X rays.

Looking not that much older than us, Fletch ambles onto the stage in Rock & Republic jeans, a black dress shirt rolled up to the elbows, and Prada sneakers. Okay, this might be our XTV. He takes the mike from Principal Stevens and swings it into his left hand Vegas-style. "Hey, guys." He pauses to flash a big Whitestrips smile. "You're probably wondering what I'm doing here and why I've dragged you away from your calculus and history." We are. Yes. "How many of you watch the show Park Avenue Confidential on the CW?" he asks with a swaggering selfassurance that must play well with the ladies.

The Real Real. Copyright © by Emma McLaughlin. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.


What People are Saying About This

Sarah Mlynowski
“Really funny, really smart, and really entertaining. I really LOVED this book!”

Meet the Author

Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus work together in New York City and are the authors of the new novel Between You and Me. They are also the authors of The Nanny Diaries, which was made into a major motion picture, the New York Times bestsellers Citizen Girl, Dedication, and Nanny Returns, and their first YA novel, The Real Real.

Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus work together in New York City and are the authors of the new novel Between You and Me. They are also the authors of The Nanny Diaries, which was made into a major motion picture, the New York Times bestsellers Citizen Girl, Dedication, and Nanny Returns, and their first YA novel, The Real Real.

Brief Biography

New York, New York
Place of Birth:
McLaughlin: Elmira, New York; Kraus: New York, New York
B.A., Gallatin School of Individualized Study, NYU (McLaughlin, 1996; Kraus, 1995)

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The Real Real (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey guys just want u to know that God loves you more than you know and he cares about u more than you know! He created u and u r His! Never forget it!! If uwanna tk about God or are havin struggles in ur life and wanna talk go to girl talk result seven!
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Red-SoxGirl More than 1 year ago
this book was very good and left you rthinking about it forever
Cole Kubisiak More than 1 year ago
great book! i loved it. read it in like a day. definitly get this book. you wont regret it.
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
The writing duo that brought us THE NANNY DIARIES have ventured out into the young adult genre. And the two have written a hit. Jesse goes through the motions of the interview that all the students at her high school have to sit through. The hot TV channel XTV wants to film a documentary of life in a typical high school. XTV wants to select a core group of students to be the focus of the documentary real-life series. Jesse knows that the A-list crowd including Nico, Jase, and their gang are the sure picks. So when XTV comes knocking on Jesse's door, no one is more stunned than she is. And when the $40,000 scholarship check is waved in front of her parents, they quickly agree to let Jesse sign on. Little does anyone in their small town realize how quickly things will get out of control. Everything that Jesse considers important is thrust aside by XTV under the guise of filming. Jesse loses her best friend. Her parents no longer know what to believe. She gets yelled at and called obscene names. When a photo spread in OK hints that Jesse may have done more with Jase then she is letting on, it's the last straw. She's lost her chance at the one boy she was truly interested in, and she'll do anything she can to just graduate and get out of there. THE REAL REAL is the perfect book for a summer read. You can easily get lost in the fancy world that Jesse is paraded around in. THE REAL REAL shows what can happen when what you think you want turns out to be a total nightmare and reminds you what your real priorities should be.
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TheBookResort More than 1 year ago
Let me start off by saying I am not really into reality TV @ all! I find it to be a tad torturous. I do watch The Real Housewives in all its incarnations & The Real Housewives of Orange County is my fave! Hands down The Real Housewives of Orange County is a guilty pleasure. I don't consider it reality foolishness, I rather think it is me hanging out w/ older galpals. I don't give a hoot about The Hills unless they have eyes. I only want to lounge @ a beach -- Laguna or Jones! I do believe that Lauren & Kristin were the most promising to emerge from fakeality TV. I am a real television lover & think there is way too much "reality" on the small screen & miss the days of must see TV. I do tune into DWTS while channel surfing. Idol - fugetaboutit! So, imagine my surprise when I found myself loving Emma Maclaughlin & Nicola Kraus' The Real Real! I wondered if the fact that it was set on Long Island played into my adulation. Hmmm. What about the fact I am 20-25 mins from the coveted Hamptons. Nah! I was raised on the Island & I'm not impressed. So, what was it that had me enjoying my time w/ Jesse? Jesse! Emma Maclaughlin & Nicola Kraus' YA debut is a winner! The Real Real is real real impressive. Emma Maclaughlin & Nicola Kraus skillfully advoided getting caught up in a cache of redundancies & over the top histrionics! Brava ladies! Brava! The Real Real is the perfect beach read but make sure to set a timer to roll over & slather on the SPF because you will definitely become part of The Real Hampton Beach happenings. I loved how Maclaughlin & Kraus mentioned the CW when mentioning the fictitious Park Avenue Confidential -- juicy goodness like a crisp, succulent gala apple. Delish. Maclaughlin & Kraus created characters that are genuine -- whether they are genuinely good or greedy fame & fortune seekers. Jesse is an amazing, caring & intelligent young adult who has integrity. She has morals - yep, imagine a reality star that isn't caught up w/ the fake fake! Yippee! Hats off to Maclaughlin & Kraus for this endearing quality in the delightful Jesse! Drew is also a refreshing addition who is charming & diverting. Toss in the wicked fame & fortune hunters & you've got a spectacular read. The Real Real isn't brimming w/ mindless fluff & senseless drivel. The Real Real delivers a message behind the tantalizing tale. Maclaughlin & Kraus penned an edgy, entertaining & savvy look into the world of reality TV w/ The Real Real. The Real Real is not to be missed missed. Grab a copy of The Real Real & enjoy the dog days of summer!
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Does any1 think this book would be good 4 6th graders?!? Ps i just put 5 stars 4 it 2 post. And i just wanna tell every1 i post alot of comments and updates and questions. So keep lookin 4 me!