Admit it, you love reality TV. Whether it's The Bachelor or The Real World, there's something about reality television that is just. so. addictive. Sometimes we all need an afternoon where we pour ourselves a giant glass of wine and dig into a marathon of Real Housewives or Big Brother. Plus, as a reader, I think it's the same fascination with people that both keeps me turning the pages and glues me to the screen.
Of course, reality television is a multifaceted genre in itself. There are Survivor-style shows, filled with challenges and eliminations. There are shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Real Housewives that are dripping with drama. There are competition shows like RuPaul's Drag Race and So You Think You Can Dance? that showcase people's talents. There are makeover shows like Queer Eye that transform people's lives. Reality television can range from trashy to touching, sometimes just in a single episode.
I'm not here to make friends; I'm here to read books. And the best thing about reading is that you truly have an all-access pass to people's worlds. So here are eight books that you'll love if you can't get enough of the ups and downs of reality television.
'Beauty Queens' by Libba Bray
A plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty pageant contestants on a deserted island. Now, in order to survive, they have to pull together all their wits and talents. This is a thrilling book that demonstrates what girl power really means.
'The Favorite Sister' by Jessica Knoll
This thriller takes you into the cut-throat world of a reality TV show about self-made millionaire women. Five women have just joined the cast, including sisters Brett and Kelly, and they'll do anything it takes to stay on screen. But things take a sinister turn when Brett is murdered.
'Warcross' by Marie Lu
In this thrilling read, virtual reality has transformed the world. Each year the entire globe turns its eye to Warcross, a virtual capture the flag-esque competition in which teams battle each other through a series of challenges. But when hacker and bounty hunter Emika Chen accidentally hacks her way into the opening games, she finds herself on a Warcross team, tasked with a secret mission to uncover a conspiracy threatening to bring it all down.
'Space Opera' by Catherynne M. Valente
What if there was an America's Got Talent for the entire galaxy? Centuries ago, the civilizations of the universe replaced war with the Metagalactic Grand Prix - part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza. This year's competition is the first time humans are aware of life beyond Earth, and they're going to have to sing their hearts out to establish their place in the universe.
'Watch Me' by Lauren Barnholdt
Ally is moving into a house of strangers to be part of a Big Brother-esque show. As every moment of her freshman year of college is taped, she thinks she has everything under control, including her long distance relationship. But when she starts to fall for her housemate, everything changes.
'The Selection' by Kiera Cass
In The Selection, 35 girls have the "chance of a lifetime" to live in a palace and compete for the heart of Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is more like a nightmare, forcing her to leave everything behind for a crown she doesn't want. But things change for America when she meets Prince Maxon and finds herself questioning everything.
'For Real' by Alison Cherry
Sisters Claire and Miranda are about to have the best summer ever, competing on Around the World, an Amazing Race style competition with a million dollar prize. Their mission: defeat Miranda's cheating ex. But their expectations are turned upside down when the show reveals itself to have a dating-show bent. You're not going to be able to put this one down.
'Something Real' by Heather Demetrios
What would it really be like to have your life documented on a reality TV show? Seventeen-year-old Bonnie Baker and her twelve siblings grew up as the subjects of a reality show, Baker's Dozen. Since the show's scandalous cancellation, Bonnie has tried to build a normal life for herself. But everything she's worked for is threatened when Baker's Dozen goes back on the air.