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Book Review: The Black Sheep By Yvonne Collins

Book Review: The Black Sheep By Yvonne Collins

Title: The Black Sheep
Author: Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Allison and Busby
Publication Date: 27th August 2012
Goodreads Summary: Fed up with her parents and all their ridiculous rules (they keep a binder full of them), fifteen-year-old Kendra Bishop writes away to The Black Sheep, a reality TV show that offers the chance to swap families with another teen. But when the camera crew shows up at her Manhattan apartment, Kendra starts to have second thoughts. Too late.

Kendra’s whisked away to Monterey, California, to live with the Mulligans. The carefree household that couldn’t be more different that her own–complete with hippy parents, their five kids, and a pet ferret. And falling for Mitch, the Mulligan’s seventeen-year-old son, only complicates things further, especially since Mitch despises the TV show and everything it stands for. But given the chance, Kendra might just be able to juggle first love, her new stardom, and a pushy TV producer who will stop at nothing for higher ratings.

In this hilarious and touching YA novel, Kendra learns to live under a new roof, but finds true refuge in the unlikeliest of places–her own family.

Book Review

I was immediately interested in The Black Sheep because it sounded like a funny version of Wife Swap for teenagers. Reality TV is becoming huge all over the globe and whilst I’ve scorned these programmes for years, I can no longer deny the fact that they are incredibly entertaining.

What I loved about The Black Sheep was the fact that the protagonist, Kendra Bishop, was unwittingly thrust into the world of reality TV and wasn’t an annoying, fame hungry teenager. The main character is really likeable and you can’t help but feel sympathy for her as you follow her adventures in California

The Black Sheep portrays reality TV in the worst possible light with probing cameras everywhere and staged plot lines to increase ratings. Instead of showing the ‘glamorous’ side to reality TV, this book shows the intimidating and intrusion side to it that will hopefully dissuade teenagers who read this from believing everything that they see on their television screens.

This book shows the reality of reality TV. It’s not a wishy-washy teen read that makes celebrity status look flashy and the characters are actually people worth reading about. You can really relate to Kendra as she struggles to come to terms with this huge change in life and I love that she’s really down to earth.

Despite the fact that everything she wrote in her application letter for ‘The Black Sheep’ was technically true, she is still fully aware that her family situation is no way near as bad as it is for some other children and she isn’t changed by the fame or the cameras.

Actually, scrap that, she is changed by the cameras – but in a good way. Kendra’s character really develops as the novel progresses and she is a really admirable protagonist. The book is written from Kendra’s point of view so you read her every thought which makes it all the more interesting.

I do wish that the relationship between Mitch and Kendra had been a bit more developed as I was really looking forward to that part of the story but it didn’t really deliver in my opinion. Thankfully, there was lots of other interesting things going on so I didn’t particularly mind, but don’t expect this to be a full on teen romance or anything.

The Black Sheep is a great read for any teenage girl, though I think that younger teenagers would find this book more enjoyable. The plot line is interesting and funny; as you can imagine a New Yorker adapting to a hippie lifestyle is a big adjustment to say the least. I wouldn’t say that this book is predictable because there were some pretty surprising turns of events along the way that prevent you from seeing too far ahead.

Most teenagers will be able to relate to Kendra’s parental issues as just about every child goes through the phase of hating all the decisions that their parents make for them. The Black Sheep is a really quick and enjoyable read that I highly recommend for teenagers to end their summer reading with.

Many thanks to Allison and Busby for providing me with a review copy!

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Laura is a culture and travel blogger based in London. She studied French at Oxford University and now studies Law in London. She’s an avid reader and traveller and loves to combine the two with literary travel. Find her tips and reviews on the best reads, eats and destinations on whatshotblog.com.

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