Fiction: Inspired by Reality TV

For ideal summer viewing, you can’t top the curiously addictive appeal of reality television. It can also make for deliciously sudsy storytelling — just ask anyone currently tuning in to UnREAL, a new series that exposes the dark, twisty manipulations from both sides of the camera on a Bachelor-style dating program. This sparked our thinking: what other fiction is built on different types of competition shows?

 

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Cover of American Idol

Try this! Cover of Elimination Night

Elimination Night (provocatively attributed to “Anonymous”) shines a comic spotlight on star-making shows like American Idol, and half the fun is drawing direct lines to real-life counterparts! Sasha King is a new producer who is forced to juggle the demands of celebrity judges, unstable contestants, and divas of all stripes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like this? Cover of The Amazing Race

Try this!Cover of Lost and Found

 

For globe-trotting adventure mixed with a grand-scale scavenger hunt, join the teams of Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst. Told from the point of view of multiple contestants, the fast-paced action and dramatic antics will have you racing to the finish line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cover of Trading Spaces

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Cover of Room for Improvement

Double your reality-TV pleasure with Stacey Ballis’s Room for Improvement and see what happens when you work the DIY angle along with the search for romance. Chicago interior designer Lily Allen is thrilled to work on Swap/Meet, a home makeover show that matches singles looking for both a room re-do and new love potential, but she isn’t immune to the drama in this fun, frothy, and sexy send-up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cover of Deadliest Catch

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Cover of Primal Waters

 

If high-stakes action is more your speed, dive into Primal Waters by Steve Alten. A renown adventurer is invited to join Daredevils, a televised survival series which may be grossly underestimating the dangers the players will have to face. Read for the suspense, the adrenaline, and did we mention shark attacks?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cover of 1900 house

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Cover f The Corset Diaries

Those who romanticize the past may wish they could join the cast of A Month in the Life of a Victorian Duke, a show in which contemporary folk attempt to live for weeks on an authentically retro estate. Giving up modern conveniences may almost be worth the prize, especially if you are cast opposite a dashing Englishman. In The Corset Diaries by Kate MacAlister, the costumes aren’t the only thing that make it hard to breathe!