Even though reality television is still alive and well, there is something about the whole genre that feels very nostalgic to me. I don't watch many shows that would be considered part of the reality genre today (except the Queer Eye reboot, of course, because I want to be happy) but back in the early to mid-2000's? Oh, yeah, I was hooked on reality TV. So whenever I think on some of my personal favorite reality series, they're all definitely throwback status. There are the supremely underrated shows — like MTV's The Paper which aired in 2007 and played no small role in my decision to study journalism in college — and the mainstays like Laguna Beach. They all hold a special place in my pre-teen heart.
If you also find yourself thinking wistfully about the earlier days of reality shows, you're going to love the reading list below. I've put together a few of the best throwback series and paired them with a book you should definitely read if you want something that gives you the same vibes. You might never be able to recapture the wide-eyed youth of 2000's MTV, but these novels are the next best thing.