Publisher: Simon Pulse (US)
Released: July 6th, 2010
Grade rating: B/B+
Ally has everything under control. She's about to move into a house full of strangers and have her life broadcast to the world, but as long as she still has her long-distance boyfriend, Corey, nothing can go wrong. Nothing, that is, until Ally starts spending time with her housemate Drew, the hot and sensitive guy who always seems to be around when she needs someone the most. As suspicions and lies start pulling Ally and Corey apart, she's not sure if she can trust anyone, not even herself. Ally is about to learn the hard way that life is what happens when everyone is looking, and it doesn't always capture her good side?Review:
After hearing such good things about Lauren Barnholdt's 2007 release, Two-Way Street, I was excited to try her books for myself. I think Watch Me was a good one to start with, as I really enjoyed it. The premise reminded me of reality TV show Big Brother which, for the record, I absolutely cannot stand. I'd never watch something like that, but I have no problems reading about it.
I loved the dialogue in Watch Me. It was normal and realistic, and easily something my friends would say (y'know, if I lived in America). Ally was a character I really liked, even though she did whine on about her boyfriend too much, and let her insecurities take over her life. I mean, if you've been with someone for 2 years and you don't trust them, there's something wrong there. Without trust, everything can easily fall apart.
Until I started reading this book, I had no idea it was set around a reality TV show. In the House really is just like Big Brother, but follows the first semester of college freshmen rather than unhinged unknowns randomly plucked off the streets of England (Yeah, I really hate reality TV). Ally's experience with cameras and a house full of strangers is fun to read about, and she learns a lot while she's there. Not just about her romantic life, but about family and friendship too.
Neither boy really appealed to me, as I thought Corey (the boyfriend) was a bit boring, and Drew (a fellow In the House star) never really lived up to his swoon potential. I see why they were both on Ally's radar though, and each to their own and all that. Her gay best friend Grant was my favourite character, with some of the best dialogue. Loved him.
Watch Me was a great introduction to the works of Lauren Barnholdt; I'll probably dig out my copy of Two-Way Street and make that my next of her titles. She has an awesome YA voice, and you should definitely check her out if you like romance with a side of realism.