Teen Reads Review of Reality Gold
REALITY GOLD, written by Tiffany Brooks, is a novel about Riley Ozaki, a senior girl who was a normal teen up until a year ago, when an ill-conceived article in the school paper brought a rush of public shame. Her whole community turns her into the local “meme”; her life reduced to a joke. She yearns to redeem herself from her past and prove to the world that she is much more than what the Internet says.
As her redemption, she decides to join a reality TV show. The Internet’s attention was what got her into her mess, and it was the only way to get her out of it. She is dropped onto a deserted island with 19 other teens to compete and hopefully not be eliminated until the very end. However, her summer spirals out of control as the teens discover there is a priceless treasure to be found on the island. She will soon discover that there are some who take desperate measures to find and keep that gold. The novel is a mixture of romance, action, and dramas that will drop readers into a world of lies, trust and riddles.
"There’s a point in the book where you aren’t sure what’s fake and what’s real...the author did a fantastic job incorporating the elements of a reality TV show and a treasure hunt into one."
Brooks manages to fabricate the setting of the island, Black Rock, and tie it into the story fairly well. The grounds where the players sleep, the locations for each of their challenges, and the vast forest is well described. It seems pulled straight out of a fairytale --- the maps, the hidden treasure, the challenges and the people --- except there’s always a camera crew following the characters around. There’s a point in the book where you aren’t sure what’s fake and what’s real anymore and the author did a fantastic job in incorporating the elements of a reality TV show and a treasure hunt into one.
There are many characters in the novel, yet Brooks’ story manages to interact with every one of these characters in their own unique way. However, I feel like she could have gone into more depth with some of the characters. Their actions, at times, are unbelievable and can be stereotyped into different categories from jocks, to preppy cheerleaders, to quiet observers. In short, most of the characters are plain. However, our main character is pretty complex and the author manages to relate the emotions of a teenager into Riley. The plot, although unique and creative, is a little unbelievable with the characters given.
The book delves down a path you would have never seen coming. It is an unpredictable and an ever-changing story that will surprise you at every turn. I loved the concept of this book and I could definitely see it as an actual reality TV show. In the novel, Riley develops a relationship with Porter, a guy on the other team. Although it was enjoyable to see their interactions at times, it seemed out of place during some of the novel.
Overall, REALITY GOLD is a quick, fun, fast-paced read that fans of the TV show “Survivor” will definitely enjoy.
Reviewed by Jeremy H., Teen Board Member on July 10, 2018