Free On KU

Free On KU

Free On KU

Free On KU

Free On KU
Free On KU

Reality Check by Nicole Pyland


Set in the close confines of a reality TV show (which seems like a mash-up of Big Brother and Fear Factor with less ‘fear’ in the tasks) this is an opposites attract romance.

Cali Banks is in the midst of a rough patch in life. Laid off from her marketing job in a downsizing exercise and broken up from her can’t-stop-flirting-with-everyone-else girlfriend, she is not having any particular luck with any of her job applications either. Her only beacon of light in the dark time is her bestie, Megan. Desperate, she signs up as a driver with Uber (and/or Lyft) hoping to land a real job soon. Meg sends Cali’s application for a reality show, Berserk, and much against all possibilities, Cali is selected. She goes with the game plan of keeping her head down, being boring enough to not merit screen time and staying on for as long as she can so that she can at least start making a dent in her piled up student loans and hopefully return to her Masters’ programme which she’s had to abandon because of her job loss.

Dayton Maine, with appearances in three seasons, is a Berserk veteran. She is even more of a hook-up and casual relationships veteran. In fact, she’s hooked up with two other contestants from the show. She has also spun off her fifteen minutes of reality show fame and fashioned herself into a fairly successful vlogger and blogger. As things stand, she’d not thought much about the future and is happy to ride the easy life carousal she is on.

Dayton and Cali surprisingly form a tentative friendship on the show which morphs into more.

The author takes great pains at the start to draw out the personalities of the two ladies to ensure that there is no doubt that they are opposites. Cali’s non-risk-taking + burnt by a player personality versus Dayton’s lack-of-planning + sex obsessed (almost) player personality. Cali is fairly likeable and understandable, but Dayton is actively unlikeable (in fact actively dislikeable – which is a stronger negative feeling). The way the relationship between Cali and Dayton develops is rather nice (even when it is hard to swallow Dayton’s completely out-of-character behaviour with Cali).

Not wanting anything serious is a person’s choice, but Dayton is callous, harsh and cruel with her women. She is also utterly devoid of an ability to extend the kindness of extricating herself from a situation when the other lady seems to be getting more serious happily justifying her awful behaviour with the platitude that she’s never told the other lady that she is willing to get any deeper into the relationship. Just when we begin thinking that she’s not all that bad (thanks to her interactions with Cali) she once again does something terrible with someone else. So, one MC is totally off-putting.

If you can keep all disbelief at bay, overlook Dayton’s unforgiveable behaviour with anyone who isn’t Cali and read this one as a mindless chicklit, it can work. 


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