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5 Binge-Worthy Reads to Feed Your Reality TV Obsession

by  | September 10

This is the story of what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real. If that sentence stirs a bit of nostalgia within you, then congrats! You’re probably obsessed with reality television. (For the uninitiated, that was the opening line of MTV’s The Real World.) Gone are the days when those of us who could recite the entire Bravo TV lineup from memory did so in secret, lest we be discovered. Reality television has hit the mainstream, with almost every major network airing some kind of “unscripted” entertainment programming. In my experience, fans of reality TV love their shows and love them hard. They host watch parties, listen to recap podcasts, read episode recaps, and sometimes even slide into the DMs of their favorite reality stars. (I am in no way advocating this one.)

Reality shows are produced to be addictive. There’s nothing better than a lazy afternoon on the couch and a few hours of literally any Real Housewives franchise on the DVR. Actually, the only thing better than that would be following up by reading an equally addictive book! Wondering what books go well with your favorite shows? Fear not, reader! I’ve compiled a handy list for you here.

Roomies

Roomies

by Christina Lauren

If you love 90 Day Fiancé...

This pairing might be controversial if you believe the couples on 90 Day Fiancé are there for all the right reasons. But sometimes even the families of the couples think the relationship is nothing more than a marriage of convenience so one party can make it to the United States. Enter: Roomies! Holland Bakker has herself a crush on a talented street musician in NYC, but she’s never been able to work up the nerve to talk to him. That is, until she’s attacked in the subway station and Calvin, her crush, comes to her aid, but then quickly disappears. When Holland tries to get Calvin into her uncle’s Broadway show as a thank-you, she learns he disappeared because he is in the States illegally and is terrified the police will find out his status. Naturally, Holland decides to marry Calvin to protect his status despite her infatuation. But will the two realize that what they thought was just acting was actually a bit more?

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Space Opera

Space Opera

by Catherynne M. Valente

If you love America’s Got Talent...

Competition shows are the heart of reality television, and America’s Got Talent sets itself apart by not limiting itself to just singing or dancing. Anyone with a talent is welcome to audition and prove why they should be crowned the winner. In Space Opera, sentient races compete for glory in a galactic musical contest. Thanks to a galaxy-altering war one century ago, the Metagalactic Grand Prix was formed as a way for civilizations to come together and compete in a Eurovision style competition featuring singing, dancing, beauty, and more. If any new species is discovered, then they need to compete, but if they fail, their entire species will be destroyed. Enter: humankind. Humans discover this universe, and what they absolutely don’t expect to do is fight...via singing. The fate of Earth lies in the hands of Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeros’ ability to rock.

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The Favorite Sister

The Favorite Sister

by Jessica Knoll

If you love UnREAL...

Okay, I cheated a little bit with this one. UnREAL is a show ABOUT a reality show, but since it’s based on BTS shenanigans on The Bachelor, I thought it deserved a mention. Sometimes the most salacious reality story lines are the ones that happen behind the scenes, and that’s true in both UnREAL and The Favorite Sister. The show follows Rachel, a producer on Everlasting, as she navigates the drama behind the scenes (drama that she often manufactures) of the popular dating show. The Favorite Sister also gives a look into reality show life as Brett and Kelly deal with Brett’s newfound success, thanks to a reality show called Goal Diggers. Kelly, with her knowledge of her sister’s secret, manipulates herself onto the show, threatening to topple everything Brett has built.

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Passion on Park Avenue

Passion on Park Avenue

by Lauren Layne

If you love The Real Housewives...

Sometimes there’s nothing better than sitting back with a glass of wine and watching the lives of the rich and semi-famous crumble in front of your eyes. The Real Housewives has given us some of the most iconic reality television moments, from Teresa Giudice flipping a table to Kenya Moore showing us “Gone with the Wind fabulous” to RHONY’s infamous Scary Island episode. Each week, we tune in to get a peek into the fancy and dramatic lives of ladies who lunch in Chanel and party in Dior. That same aesthetic shines in Passion on Park Avenue. Three Upper East Side women become unlikely friends while they struggle to achieve their dreams and find love in NYC. This book addresses class differences, emotional baggage, and the reality of dealing with aging parents in a way that will remind you of...an episode of The Real Housewives.

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Something Real

Something Real

by Heather Demetrios

If you love Outdaughtered...

I find multiples FASCINATING! It Takes Two was my jam growing up, and I was one of millions who tuned in to Jon & Kate Plus 8 every week. Outdaughtered is TLC’s latest show about a lovable family with SIX daughters. Adam and Danielle Busby give viewers a look into the chaos of raising six little girls (including quintuplets) while maintaining humor and relatability. Something Real follows Bonnie™ Baker, a one-time star of a reality show that featured her and her twelve siblings. After the show’s cancellation, Bonnie™ tries to live a normal life, until their show, Bakers Dozen, goes back on the air. Bonnie™ tries to quit, but her mother and producers won’t let her, threatening the life she’s built for herself. I imagine Something Real is what would happen if Blayke (the Busbys’ eldest daughter) decided she had enough of the reality TV life.

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Photo Credit // Bettina Strauss

Categories // TV

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Nicole Sam contains multitudes. She is a huge fan of graphic novels, SFF stories, and reality TV. When she isn’t at the office, you can find her attending cons around the country to experience her favorite fandoms IRL.