Contemporary / Contemporary / Lauren Barnholdt

Watch Me by Lauren Barnholdt

watch meTITLE: Watch Me (previously published as Reality Chick in 2006)
AUTHOR: Lauren Barnholdt
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse
PAPERBACK: 270 pages
GENRE: Contemporary

SYNOPSIS: All-hour study fests . . . all-night parties . . .

Going away to college means total independence and freedom. Unless of course your freshman year is taped and televised for all the world to watch. On uncensored cable.

Sweet and normal Ally Cavanaugh is one of five freshpeople shacking up on In the House, a reality show filmed on her college campus. (As if school isn’t panic-inducing enough!) The cameras stalk her like paparazzi, but they also capture the fun that is new friends, old crushes, and learning to live on your own. Sure, the camera adds ten pounds, but with the freshman fifteen a given anyway, who cares? Ally’s got bigger issues — like how her long-distance bf can watch her loopy late-night “episode” with a certain housemate. . . .

Freshman year on film.

It’s outrageous.

It’s juicy.

And like all good reality TV,

it’s impossible to turn off.

(Source: Goodreads)

3.9 stars

3.9 stars


This novel mostly focused on Ally reinventing herself. Readers see all the changes that occur in Ally’s life and how it affects her and her relationships.

Overall, I will say the main theme was change. We see how Ally handles the trials thrown at her in her first semester of college.

This contemporary novel is about a recent high school graduate Ally Cavanaugh, who decides to audition for a reality TV show. She needs a distraction while her boyfriend is away, so she figured broadcasting her life on air would be a fun way to go.

Now, let’s stop right there.

Ally wants to be on a reality TV show just because her boyfriend “Corey is going to be far, far away” (pp. 25)? Like, really? No, no, no. Ally disappointed me from the start.

Okay, back to the plot:

So now, Ally must broadcast all of her problems about college, Corey, and her crush on Drew (her roommate) on national television for everyone to see.

The exciting parts came when I was more than halfway done with the book! The beginning was slow and I was already annoyed with Ally before I was even a quarter into the novel.

Oh, and there aren’t many romantic scenes in this novel either. *sad face* 😦

All the characters have unique and realistic personalities, but I think Ally was a too paranoid. Her and Simone are the most developed characters that experience change throughout the book.

I wish there was more scenes with Drew and Ally.

Ally→ I will say I saw a difference in the Ally BEFORE the reality TV show and the Ally AFTER the reality tv show. I understood why Lauren Barnholdt showed how Ally was dependent on other people at the beginning the book.

Corey→ I personally did not like Corey. He was so full of himself since he got a basketball scholarship to go play in Florida.

I don’t know, but to me, there were many cliché character personalities: the shy girl, the wannabe gangster, the slutty friend, and the jock. This furthered my boredom as well.

The imagery was strong and I could clearly picture the scenes.  The outfits and slang seemed so out-of-date (90’s style), and the characters were constantly focused on looks and tips in magazines. Unfortunately, this was a turn-off for me. 😦 I didn’t want it to be, but it was. Eventually I got used to it, but reading it at the beginning? No.  Just, no. I did NOT. like it. at.all.

Lesson Learned? Change can be a good thing.

For readers who enjoy reading stories
set in the 90’s.**

Book Cover: .5
Character Development/Plot: 2.1 out of 3
Interest: .4 out of 1
Imagery: .9 out of 1
Total: 3.9 stars

What’s your favorite reality TV or 90’s show?


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