OZ LIT REVIEW #8 – Loathing Lola

Loathing Lola by William Kostakis Pan Macmillan Young Adult, Fiction Paperback rrp A$16.99

You’ve watched at least a dozen reality shows on television. Now it’s time to read the book.

Fifteen-year-old Courtney Marlowe doesn’t even like reality shows. She only auditioned for ‘Real Teens’ to prove to her boyfriend Liam, that ordinary kids don’t get selected. Liam loves reality shows and wagers that Courtney is just the type of girl this new show is looking for.

But by the time Courtney is called for an interview and subsequently chosen, Liam has been killed in a tragic accident. It’s the stuff reality television is made of.

Everyone wants to be part of Courtney’s new ‘real life’ on film as the cameras follow her around – from her boyfriend’s jealous friend Chloe, to her best friend’s twin sister, Kate, who automatically styles herself ‘second best friend’. Courtney didn’t even know she had a stepmother until Lola appears, confessing a heart’s desire to ‘one day be on TV’.

Courtney quickly loses control of her life. What is real and what isn’t? Who is a real friend and who is a pretender? No wonder Courtney doesn’t know. As the reader, I too found it impossible to tell. This is a book that drags you neck deep into the drama. And there’s lots of it.

The title is ironic. Much as I wanted to hate many of the characters, including Lola, I couldn’t. Each had a reason for what they did and those reasons were all too familiar and human. The author has cleverly made each person so real to the reader that they empathise rather than criticise.

This is a contemporary young adult book which explores the phenomenon of reality television and the far reaching effects it has on all involved. Ultimately we must make our own decision about what is real and who is faking it.

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