Sunday, January 8, 2017

Book Review: Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos

Life in a Fishbowl
By Len Vlahos
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Source: ALA
Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.

Gone is her mom's attention and cooking and parent-teacher conferences. Gone is her sister's trust ever since she's been dazzled by the cameras and new-found infamy. Gone is her privacy. Gone is the whole family's dignity as ATN twists their words and makes a public mockery of their lives on Life and Death. But most of all, Jackie fears that one day very soon her father will just be . . . gone. Armed only with her ingenuity and the power of the internet, Jackie is determined to end the show and reclaim all of their lives, even in death.

When I saw this book at ALA, I didn't really think much of it. But when I read the synopsis, I thought this book sounded so cool. As a reality TV junky, I could not wait to see how this girl went through a reality show documenting her dad dying from cancer. 

Jackie Stone's life is turned upside down the moment she learns her father has cancer. To try to save the family, her father auctions his life off to the highest bidder and their family finds themselves the center of a new reality show following her dad's descent to death. The TV producers are ruthless and Jackie starts to feel like a prisoner in her own home. Jackie hates her life now, but the thing she fears the most is losing her dad once and for all. 

Like I said, the premise of this book sounded so good. From the start, though, I found it hard to get into and I really did not enjoy this book. First off, Jackie isn't even the main character. This story follows around many characters, including the tumor in her father's brain, which I found weird. I couldn't connect with any of the characters and I got bored a lot. The family didn't even become a part of the reality show until about 100 pages in. So to me, the summary was misleading and I didn't get exactly the story I was expecting to read. 

Not only could I not connect to the characters, but I also did not enjoy all of the language in this book. As a YA book, I was surprised by how many F words were thrown in for, what I felt, no reason at all. Also, this book deals heavily with euthanasia, which is not mentioned at all in the synopsis. I just didn't get what I wanted out of this book and found myself skimming the end just to finish. 

While this book held a lot of potential, I did not enjoy it at all. I tried to like the characters, but even Jackie was hard to like and I didn't care at all for the characters. If you're interested in this book, just know that you do not get what you're promised in the synopsis.

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