Fiction Review: Alison Gaylin’s “Reality Ends Here”

This work was a fun read, perfect for a lazy afternoon or to pass a long ride.

However, don’t misunderstand me,  this is no candy-coated tween novella – the author shares a few darker moments with the reader, dealing with some of the heavier concepts about adolescence and family. The death of a parent, the pressures of perfection and identity from within and externally that young people, especially those in the spotlight must deal with, manipulation and violence – these are all covered in this work. Yet, they are woven so well into the plot that it is almost sneaky, you don’t realized you are having this discussion with the author until later, when you find yourself mulling over the book once you have set it down.

I enjoyed the quick pace of the work as well, not rushed, but kept you turning the pages. And the plot is compelling – I couldn’t pause, I wanted to know what happened next!

Framing the engaging plot were well-crafted setting and tone. All the little nuances were spot on – in this era of reality tv, the reader has a broad knowledge base that the author builds on, but there are small touches and details without which, I feel the story would have not held the same power. Even for such a short story, the characters were real, and pulled you in, made you care, which I thought was well done.

The story is an interesting premise, and the ending had a few details that surprised me, and made me admire the author’s touch. It would be easy to follow the whole “TV show” framework to the “30-minute conclusion” – the one everyone sees coming and makes everyone happy. The author walks that line, makes you feel comfortable, and then steps off into her own plot deviation at the very end, and it is done skillfully.

I definitely recommend this story – it makes for great conversation starters about the deeper parts of life.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley


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