Reality television has taken over, and it’s about time we all embraced it. Between Dancing With the Stars, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, Catfish, The Circle, Love Island, Project Runway, and all of the other reality TV programming, I personally have always got at least four reality TV shows on my “currently watching” roster.
But why are we all so obsessed with reality TV? I think we as human beings love feeling connected to other people, and in these increasingly disconnected times, it’s sometimes nice to feel like you’re getting to know real people on your TV every week. And now with the rise of Instagram fame, you can continue to follow these people and their stories long after their time on the screen is over. It’s also just nice to see normal people like us on TV. It bridges the gap between our lives and the celebrity lifestyle. On top of that, we enjoy watching the drama of it all. Even if it’s somewhat manipulated, we know it’s more real than a scripted television show, and that makes it fun. It appeals to our natural love of gossip and getting into other people’s business — and don’t lie. We all love this.
Regardless of what draws us all to reality TV, we’re watching every week. Apparently writers everywhere are watching too, because there are lots and lots of fiction books out there that are written about and/or inspired by reality TV. Not just in one genre, either. There are romance novels, thrillers, horror novels, young adult titles, science fiction, and more that all capture the intrigue and drama of reality TV. Here are eight of the most exciting and dramatic books about reality television.
Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
A horror novel about reality TV? Yep, and it is truly scary. When the Barretts’ daughter Marjorie begins showing signs of schizophrenia and no amount of therapy seems to help, a local Catholic priest suggests an exorcism. And since the Barretts are short on money and drowning in medical bills, they agree to allow the whole thing to be filmed for a new reality television series called The Possession. The show becomes a huge success, and 15 years later, people are still talking about it, even Marjorie’s younger sister Merry.
This is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey
How would you feel if your entire life was being filmed, from birth to the age you are now? How would you feel if everyone in your life was lying to you about it? That’s exactly what happens to Jess in Anna Carey’s This is Not the Jess Show. Jess thinks she’s just a normal teen leading a normal life, trying to make good grades and catch the eye of the boy she likes. But the older she gets, the more she realizes her town and the people in it are really strange, and everything isn’t as it seems.
Everything You Ever Wanted by Luiza Sauma
Wanting to escape your boring, humdrum life? Tired of social media ruling your life? Maybe you should apply for Life on the Nyx, the new reality TV show in Everything You Ever Wanted. Nyx is another planet, one without all the trappings of our contemporary world, like Instagram and online dating. The only catch? The whole social experiment is being broadcast back to Earth. And once you enter the Nyx, there’s no way to get back home.
Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke
Seventeen-year-old Jane Sinner is a bit of a mess. She’s just been expelled from school, and her parents are pushing her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College. So Jane moves out of her house to attend this school and moves into House of Orange, a student-run reality show. It’s basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River students. But for a student-run show, House of Orange quickly gathers quite a following, complete with T-shirts and everything. And Jane is ready to prove to all of them that she has what it takes to win.
The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir
The Book of Essie is the story of a fictional reality TV show called Six for Hicks. The reality show follows an evangelical family. Unfortunately, Essie, the youngest child in the Hicks family, has just become pregnant, and this doesn’t fit with the television show’s squeaky clean image. As Essie’s parents consult with the show’s producers about what to do (plan a wedding? sneak Essie out of the country?), Essie starts questioning everything she once believed about her family and her faith.
Reality and Romance by Erica A. Davis
Ever dream of dating a reality TV star? Libby had never thought of it, but then one day she runs into Andrew from the hit reality TV show StarGazing, and the two hit it off immediately. At first, they keep their relationship a secret, but when the media discovers they’re dating, suddenly Libby finds herself in front of the cameras and in the middle of the StarGazing drama herself. Will this romance survive the pressures of reality TV and the eyes of the world?
The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll
Jessica Knoll’s The Favorite Sister is a thriller about two sisters with very different lives. Kelly is a struggling single mom, and Brett is the star of a reality TV show called Goal Diggers. But when Kelly makes her way onto the show herself, Brett feels threatened. After all, Brett has secrets, and Kelly could destroy everything by revealing the truth. Still, no one could have predicted that the final reveal in the finale of the sisters’ reality TV show would end in murder.
I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee
If you watch reality talent competition shows, you’ll love Lyla Lee’s debut novel I’ll Be the One. Skye Shin dreams of becoming a K-pop star, so when she has the opportunity to participate in an internationally televised competition to find the next K-pop star, she know she has to try out. Even though no one in her life believes in her, she’s determined to prove them all wrong. Skye will defy the fatphobic and impossible beauty standards of the K-pop industry to become the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star. But can she win the competition without losing herself?
Craving even more reality TV? Here are 15 Bachelor-related books that may or may not be here for the right reasons. We’ve also got some suggestions for 9 reality TV romcom reads. And here, we pair your favorite reality TV show with a romance novel you should read. And now that we’re all on the same page with reality TV books, I’ve got to go catch up with the latest episode of The Bachelorette! Keep on reading/watching, everyone.