Reality Gold by Tiffany Brooks– Review

realitygoldSummary: High school senior Riley Ozaki is desperate to change her reality after an avalanche of Internet shaming ruined her life. With her reputation and self-esteem at rock bottom thanks to cyberbullying, Riley needs to do something drastic to repair her social standing—which is why she decided to try out for a reality TV show. Suddenly, she’s dropping onto a deserted tropical island with nineteen other teens for a Survivor-style competition that she hopes will be her redemption.

With a cast of vivid characters who will stop at nothing to win the show, a cursed island setting, and a priceless treasure waiting to be discovered, Reality Gold pitches readers right into scheming web of lies, love, and betrayal. This novel is a fast-paced journey where allies may not be who they say they are, and legends abound. Riley must embrace all of life’s realities, including loss and deceit, in order to discover who she truly is.

Review: 4 stars

I’ve had a review copy of this book for a while now and have put off reading it until now. I don’t know if it was the cover or the fact that I knew this book was about a reality show that made me think it would be lame, but I was very wrong about this one. Right off the bat the writing grabbed me, I don’t know if I forgot that a treasure hunt would be involved, but I certainly didn’t expect the book to be so interesting. The psychological games of reality shows combined with a competition to find the real treasure made for a great plot from the very beginning.

The writing was fantastic. The plot was very well thought out as well. The treasure hunt had many layers to it, the map, which had clues that you had to decipher lead to clues and markers which then lead to more clues. The treasure hunt made for an extremely interesting puzzle to try and solve, and combine that with the reality show competition and it was a captivating novel. The writing pulled me in, but the plot kept me up late reading.

Each contestant on the show had their own reasons for being there. Some were actually interested in the treasure, others wanted the prize money, some wanted to be on the show for fame or to add to their college applications. The wide array of personalities and the game show competitions made for a tense dynamic. Alliances were made and secrets were brought out of the dark as each person fought not to be voted out.

The characters were pretty well done. Starting out the show had 20 contestants, yet the key contestants were given enough personality that I didn’t get confused with who was who. Obviously some of them weren’t focused on and some of them got voted out, but it is often hard to keep that may characters straight when reading a novel. Riley was an interesting main character. She had background knowledge on the gold which made the treasure hunt more interesting. The other contestants added a lot to the story as well.

I really didn’t think that a book about a reality show would captivate me the way this book did. I think a part of the reason I was so interested was because of the treasure. I’ve always romanticized pirates and treasure, I loved The Goonies growing up and later I was a big Pirates of the Caribbean fan. The intrigue of a treasure hunt combined with amazing writing and the drama of a reality show made this book one that you really don’t want to miss. The cover doesn’t do it justice at all. I can’t believe I put off reading this one and nearly passed it by completely. I will be on the lookout for anything else Tiffany Brooks writes, because she truly is an incredible story maker.


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