Review: The L.A. Candy Series by Lauren Conrad

Lauren Conrad – reality television star, fashion designer and now author?

 

Los Angeles is all about hot clubs, cute guys, designer … everything. Nineteen-year-old Jane Roberts and her BFF, Scarlett, can’t wait to start living it up. And when a TV producer wants them to star in a “reality version of Sex and the City,” they can hardly believe their luck. Their own show? Yes, please!

Soon Jane is television’s hottest star and she’s lapping up the VIP treatment with her entourage of new pals. But those same friends are also angling for a piece of her spotlight. In a city filled with people chasing their dreams, it’s not long before Jane realises that everyone wants something from her and nothing is what it seems to be.

Any regular readers of this blog will know I’m a fan of reality television, so when I found out Lauren Conrad, star of my favourite reality shows Laguna Beach and The Hills, was releasing a fictional book series based on a group of girls who are discovered in LA to star on new reality show LA Candy I had to try it out.

Sure, she claims it’s fictional, but the girls in the book share very similar characteristics to those that have appeared in the shows’ with Conrad and she has admitted herself she “relates” to lead character Jane Roberts. Surely then, it’s not a coincidence that the character Jane is featured in many situations and scenarios that have been encountered by Conrad herself since being in the public eye.

Many cynics will say that Conrad did have a collaborator when writing the books, but many public figures do these days. My biggest complaint about all three of the books in the series is that they provide only a quick read. (I managed to read one of them over two days) However, the reads are entertaining and enjoyable none-the-less. The popularity of the series is also shown through the amount of book sales, the first book in the series was number 1 in the New York Times Bestseller list.

It will never be said that this book series is a great work of fiction, but it is fair to say that it is filled with characters that you can relate to and a world in which you can immerse yourself in, you really do relate to the characters.

My favourite character is Scarlett Harp, Jane’s best friend, as you really see her character develop throughout the series. She falls in love for the first time, deals with friendship issues in dignified way and is supportive of the other characters. The sickingly sweet Gaby provides the light-hearted entertainment as a ditzy airhead who eventually gets sucked into the Hollywood scene. The final “star” of LA Candy is Madison, a girl desperate for the limelight at any cost, literally, as she has spent thousands on plastic surgery to perfect her look, although she doesn’t go unnoticed by all the ghosts from her past …

I would definitely recommend this book to any fan of reality television as it gives a great insight into the behind-the-scenes elements of filming reality television, such as how to shoot different angles of the same event and also the problem the girls’ have with the microphones and how they can’t ever really get away from the ever-watching producers of the show.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Click on the photos to buy these Lauren Conrad books:

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Reality TV – How Real Is It?

The Simple Life, The Only Way Is Essex and The Hills. Just three examples of reality television that have been major successes. But how real are these “reality” shows? Paris Hilton, one of the stars of The Simple Life has been quoted as saying:

Paris Hilton: Not So Simple?

‘The Simple Life’ is a reality show and people might assume it’s real. But it’s fake. All reality shows are fake basically. When you have a camera on you, you are not going to act yourself. Before I started the show I thought I’d make a character like the movies ‘Legally Blonde’ and ‘Clueless’ mixed together, with a rich girl all-in-one. Even my voice is different and the way I dress is different from me in real life. It’s a character I like to play. I think it’s carefree and happy. The public think they know me but they really don’t.”

Hilton raises the key point that people who star in reality shows want to be liked by the audiences and therefore play upon characteristics that are stereotyped of their persona. Of course, to anyone who has ever watched The Simple Life, it is clear that it isn’t real and certain parts may be scripted.

The Only Way Is Essex Disclaimer

The more recent UK reality show, The Only Way is Essex, states that while the “people in the show are real, some of what they do has been set up”. This does make you wonder how much of what you see on these supposed “reality” shows is actually real. Are the focal relationships shown in the show real? Are the amazing job offers real? Do these people actually own the businesses they claim to? And if scenes are set up, should it have been portrayed as a reality show?

Perhaps the most popular reality show was MTV’s The Hills, running for six seasons, it was constantly scrutinised over how real it really was. As the people featured in the show were in the public eye, especially in America, there were elements of their lives that were not in the show, but were known to be true. Examples of this are cast member Brody Jenner‘s relationship with singer Avril Lavigne and Lauren Conrad‘s relationship with actor Kyle Howard. Since leaving the show Conrad has released a book series titled L.A. Candy, which is based on a group of girls staring in a reality show. It is suggested through the narrative of the book that the reason certain relationships were not shown on The Hills was because the stars significant others did not sign release forms and did not want to be featured on the show.

The most interesting feature of The Hills though, is the ending of the final series. Whether the show is real or not, you have to hand it to the show’s creator Adam DiVello, amongst all the controversy surrounding  the show’s realism, the ending is truly inspired.