Review! The Black Sheep

1001004006096334Authors: Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout

368 Pages–Ages 12 and up

Published by: Disney-Hyperion on May 1, 2007

Summary (from author’s website):

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, led by brash TV producer Judy Greenberg, shows up at her Manhattan apartment, Kendra starts to have second thoughts.

Too late. Kendra is whisked away to Monterey, California, to live with the Mulligan family in a household that couldn’t be more different from her own—complete with hippie parents, their five kids and a pet ferret. Of course, when Kendra falls for Mitch, the Mulligans’ seventeen-year-old son, it only complicates things further, especially since Mitch despises the reality 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 producer who will stop at nothing for higher ratings.

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

My Thoughts:

I picked up this book because I wanted a cute romance read for a younger audience (part of my ‘phase’–see Stealing Parker Pre-Thoughts). This book was not really the kind of book I was in the mood to read. It’s more of a coming of age story than a romance. The romance was, in fact, just a side-plot.

The UK edition cover

The UK edition cover

Even though the romance was a side-plot, I’m going to rant a little bit about it. First of all, there was very very very little development of the romance. At first Mitch hates Kendra and the TV cameras that are constantly following her and then BAM! without any warning, he suddenly is so attracted to her. I wasn’t sure where the turning point was or where the development of the romance was. But, I went with it because, for heaven’s sake, I needed a romance. Then after Mitch and Kendra got together they spent very little time together and when they were together their scenes were lacking something, mostly romance. They barely had any moments that I would consider cute/romantic. When they broke up all I could think was “meh” and when they got back together it was still just “meh.”

Enough about the romance though. The majority of this book was focused on how Kendra was on a reality show that caused a whole bunch of problems for her. The show’s producer, Judy, was completely unbearable, just as she was meant to be. Basically, Judy’s job was to make Kendra’s life as miserable as possible and Judy was incredibly good at it. Kendra was constantly in trouble because of Judy’s meddling and Kendra, on multiple occasions, was fed up with Judy’s antics. I felt that Kendra could have played her cards better to fight off Judy. Most of the time, I felt that Kendra just let herself be manipulated by Judy, which (at least for me) didn’t make her to seem like a sympathetic character at all.

An alternate cover

An alternate cover

The secondary characters weren’t really all that appealing to me either. Maya was absolutely abhorrent, the twins and Egg (Max’s and Mona’s other children) didn’t seem to play much or a role and could’ve easily been not there at all, and Lisa seemed to be there only to give academic people a bad name. In short, they all stunk.

The ending was…I don’t even know how to describe it. Predictable? Cheesy? Cringe worthy? Needless to say, I didn’t like it, but at that point in the book I was just ready for it to end. A meteor could have flown down from the sky and destroyed the golf course and the TV station and I would’ve been like “Oh, okay. The book’s over.” There just didn’t seem like there was any climax and the ending, which was actually kind of predictable, fell completely flat.

Okay, I know that above all I talked about were what I didn’t like about the book, so I should probably talk about some of the stuff I did like. The problem is that I can’t really pinpoint anything specific that I liked about this book. I guess it’s one of those examples where the whole is more than the sum of its parts (although not much more in this case). The plotline was mildly entertaining (if not unbelievable) so I guess there’s that.

Overall, this book is really just average to me. It’s an incredibly light and fluffy read. It kept me mildly entertained, but I can’t say that I was attached to Kendra (or any of the other characters). Doubtful I will ever pick it up again. Would I recommend it? Only if you have nothing better to read. It was able to keep me entertained while I was reading it, but upon closing the book the details are already starting to fade.

Link to an excerpt from the book (from author’s website):  http://www.collinsrideout.com/sheep1.php

A Book Trailer

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