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Nailed It by Mel Campbell and Anthony Morris

Talented tradie Rose lands a job on reality TV show, Mansions in the Sky, where she aids contestants in turning shells of houses into glorious mansions. Despite this glamorous gig, she struggles to make friends, and her artistic parents are disappointed with her practical career choices. The only person making time for her is one of the attractive, but married, contestants. But will their stolen moments off-camera put them in danger?

Nailed It is a modern take on a rom com, with plenty of behind the scenes ‘gossip’ about the reality of reality television.

Rose is a down-to-earth protagonist, who is both sweet and funny. Her character is a nice twist on the usual damsel in distress. Instead, it is Dave – the married contestant – who is clumsy with a hammer and hopeless on the building site. It was refreshing to see a female in a male-dominated space. Rose is the carpenter and she stands her ground. She is strong and sassy and isn’t afraid to stand up to the men. However, her questionable values and overly dramatic reactions to Dave felt at odds to that strong stance.

The story also has a strong reality television plot, with the authors not afraid to reveal the secrets of the programmes. Co-author Mel Campbell is a journalist and editor. She researches and writes about film and television, clothing and costume, media and consumer culture. It is clear her knowledge has been put to work in this book, with the story alluding to the scripting and staging, unreal environments and misleading premises of reality TV.

As well as a storyline though, the book also mimics reality television in its make up. It is an easy read and one that doesn’t need any brain power. Like a reality television programme it isn’t a story full of any real substance. It does suck you in though, and you find yourself glued to the book for no real reason.

This isn’t necessarily a criticism, because we all need a good escape from reality sometimes. Nailed It is that escape.

Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser

Allen & Unwin, RRP $32.99

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