Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review: What is Real, by Karen Rivers

What is Real is not the book for me. The title is the premise of the book. Throughout the whole book the reader is trying to figure out What is Real?

Dex Pratt is our narrator, and has every right to be a disturbed teen. His once happy family, with a nice house, money, and friends has fallen apart. His mother has left, and remarried, and Dex had moved in with this new family for a while, but after his dad tries to commit suicide and is confined to a wheel chair, Dex is required to go back and help take care of his father.

On top of his emotional turmoil, Dex spends pretty much 100% of his time stoned out of his mind. He lives in a dumpy house, and he helps his father grow pot in the basement. He tries to fit in at his old school, but he’s just faking it. He has a girlfriend, but he’s faking that too—or is he?

There are other characters involved in the mysteries. Dex’s step brother, his sister, his girlfriend, his friend, his dad’s caretaker, Gary, and the landlord, Our Joe all play a part in Dex’s reality. And there’s a character that might or might not be real, Olivia.

The story is very disjointed. Dex lies a lot – I found myself re-reading statements and thinking, “Wait, didn’t he just say the opposite of that on the previous page?” I felt very uncomfortable and confused during the entire book. I have no doubt that this was Karen Rivers’ intention.  That’s why I said the book isn’t for me; I didn’t say it was a bad book.

I wanted to shake Dex. I wanted to yell at his mother, and I hated his father. These parents left so much to be desired that it was pitiful.

There is no big “Aha!” moment at the end. More and more of What is Real is slowly revealed and the ending does leave you with hope.

This is contemporary fiction about a disturbed teen. There may be teens, as well as adults, who relate to this story better than I did, so don’t be afraid to give it a try.

Published by Orca, May 1, 2011
ARC obtained from LibraryThing Early Reviewers
295 pages

Rating: 2/5

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved


  1. This is not a book for me either - I am pretty sure I would be as confused as you with the disjointed storyline.
    Thanks for the honest review! :)

  2. Thanks for the review, Annette! Although I'm sorry you didn't like the book, I really appreciate that you don't discourage other people from trying it. I'll be the first to admit that it's a pretty unique book! (But of course I also hope it finds an audience.)




Thanks for visiting! I LOVE comments! I've received several awards and because of the time involved, I now must make this an award free blog.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...