DISCLAIMER: I received a complementary ebook copy of “Reality Natalie” as part of a Book Blitz hosted by Renee at Mother-Daughter Book Reviews, in exchange for an honest and original review.
I am fortunate to have participated in my first Book Blitz, and am excited to post this review of Katie Sparks’ debut middle-grade book “Reality Natalie”.
Honestly, I loved reading a book for this age level. It gave me insight into what preteens and teens experience today, their interests, and how they speak! I expect to review more books geared to this age group, especially as my children grow and they become interested in reading such books themselves. One thing I learned from my mom and friends who have grown children – read what your kids read, watch the TV that your kids watches. I plan on doing the same.
Natalie Greyson, the protagonist in this book, is a an eleven year old girl who wants desperately to audition for a guest spot on her favourite TV show “Kidz Konnection”. The only problem is her parents have already booked her for a family event, and one of her BFFs, Kailyn, wants to audition as well. What’s the problem, you might say? A little competition never hurts anyone. However, in Natalie’s eyes Kailyn is fantastic at everything she does, and already a winner of the talent show many years over, Natalie worries she won’t have a chance against her best friend. However, they continue to work and practice together until they have a falling out.
The plot of this book was really exciting and sure to appeal to its readers. Kids today are immersed in social media and likely grew up with “American Idol” and the like. Striving to be a TV star is not an unlikely goal. But, I really liked how the author showed that it’s not always easy reaching for the top. Natalie encounters some obstacles along the way and tries her best to overcome them. However, some of the obstacles she set herself, so how can she find a way to fix things, mend relationships and still get what she wants?
Readers will enjoy Natalie’s commitment, but also applaud her for doing what is right. The book offers lessons and moral values but it’s not delivered in a preachy way. I appreciated that and I’m sure readers will, too.
I also liked the supporting cast of this book, from Natalie’s two BFFs, the class clown Robbie, and Natalie’s family including her two younger twin siblings, Chase and Sydney. Many of these characters provide the comedy for the novel, something that needs to be incorporated in a book for this age level. Natalie herself is something of a klutz, so she definitely has her humorous moments, too.
At just 145 pages, “Reality Natalie” is a fast-paced read for its readers with lots of dialogue. I found the action started from the very first page – what a way to draw in your readers! I really loved that 🙂
And finally, I appreciated that this book was appropriately geared toward its audience in that there wasn’t any objectionable material and would be considered a “clean” read. I think that’s important for parents to know, since the recommended age group for this book are ages 8-12.
As a former Children’s Librarian, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to upper middle-grade and tween readers.