Reality TV has a dark future in this thought-provoking thriller
To the people suffering on the war-torn mainland, Bliss Island seems like an idyllic place. And it is: except for the fact that the island is a set, and the islanders’ lives are a performance. They’re the stars of a hit TV show, Blissful Days—Characters are adored by mainland viewers, yet in constant danger of being cut if their ratings dip too low. And no one really knows what happens to cut Characters.
Nettie Starling knows she’s been given the chance of a lifetime when a producer offers suggestions to help her improve her mediocre ratings—especially when those suggestions involve making a move on the boy she’s been in love with for years. But she'll soon have to decide how far she's willing to go to keep the cameras fixed on her. . . especially when she learns what could happen to her if she doesn't.
Nettie has always lived on Bliss Island, where she and other "Characters" are filmed for a reality show that has gone on for generations. She knows that the powerful production company Media1 manipulates her world: the weather is often fake, she must occasionally reshoot scenes, and when Media1 removes Characters with poor ratings, no one is supposed to speak of them again. When Nettie gets a new producer, he bribes her with ways "to provide the Audience with the captivating entertainment it craves," but when his suggestions become mandatory, Nettie must learn to do her own plotting, especially as she starts piecing together what happens when Characters are cut from the show. As a protagonist, Nettie feels underdeveloped (while she says she likes "building gadgets," this detail scarcely figures into the story). But debut author (and former literary agent) Rock has both an unsettling, thought-provoking premise and a way with details, such as the "style motifs" Media1 announces ("The motif for the seventy-third season of Blissful Days is voxless.... Voxless is delicate yet strong"), forcing Characters to change their fashions, furniture, and more. Ages 12-up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Hm....so I liked the book but I didn't love it. It's dystopian. Time is kinda up in the air, I didn't get a big futuristic vibe either. The story lacked world build I guess. I liked the idea of it but I never truely felt scared of worried for any of the characters, I never really felt attached to any of them, but at the same time I wanted to finish the book, I wanted to know how it ended.
Reality TV. Multiple reality shows. War. Perfection. Scores. Survival of fit/popular. Armies. Knowing vs unknown.