In Life in a Fishbowl, by Len Vlahos, Jackie Stone is only fifteen when she sees that her world is starting to fall apart as her father dies of a brain tumor. Unfortunately, the rest of the world gets to see this too. In an desperate attempt to save his family from financial debt, Jackie’s father ingeniously auctions his life off to an executive producer, who decides to make a reality television show about his life. The excessive drama added to the show only exacerbates the tension in the household and proceeds to tear the Stones’ apart; the mother isolates herself whereas Jackie’s sister overindulges in the newfound limelight.
Infuriated by the show due to the lack of privacy and creation of more family conflicts, Jackie is willing to do anything to end the show and give the Stones’ their lives back.
This book is very fast paced and a relatively quick read. I really enjoyed this novel because it focused on the concept of reality shows and how far they will go to make an adversity appealing to the audience; it can be closely compared to the way some shows are currently produced. I also enjoyed the novel because it provided multiple points of views. All the characters were so complex and reacted to the situation differently.
Although it was slightly confusing at first, giving the father’s tumor a point of view was unique. While it was intriguing to see how each character fit into the same story, it took my focus away from Jackie, who is supposed to be the protagonist. Overall, this was still a page-turner for me. I would recommend this novel to in juniors or seniors in high school primarily because there are some mature subjects discussed throughout it.