Thirteen-year-old Danny Bell is just plain bored and generally dissatisfied. Since his mom moved to focus on her career, his dad – a washed-up British “rock star” – refuses to take care of the house, himself, or the kids. When Danny finds a flyer offering the opportunity to choose his family, he can’t resist the urge to discover more about ParentSwap. While staying with his first “new family,” Danny becomes suspicious that ParentSwap might be hiding something. He sees camera crews in the strangest places, notices security monitors throughout his “new home,” and overhears bits of hushed conversations. Finally recognizing ParentSwap for what it is – an attempt at reality television – Danny decides to get revenge for being taken advantage of and lied to. He leaves the first new family and chooses his next family – a wannabe-famous actress, her knighted husband, and their twins. With the help of his friends from back home and the support of the Queen of England, Danny manages to unmask KeepItReal Productions, revive his dad’s old band, and pull his real family together. While a suspension of belief is necessary and foreshadowing is obvious, this book is a humorous look at family life and the popular reality TV culture. This is a unique pick especially suitable for reluctant boy readers.
Call number: YA BLACKER (Teen Room)