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The Shot by Naima Brown


Kristy Shaw is unhappily living in a small American town. She lives with her family in a trailer, works in a dead-end job, and is still distraught several years on after being dumped by her first love, Max Irving. She isn’t even sure she likes her best friend Debbie that much – her only joy these days is going for late night runs with the family dog, Mercy.


But then she meets TV producer Mara Bolt, a ruthless personality intent on casting her latest reality TV show. She is looking for a young woman who is pining for a lost love, someone not particularly attractive and who is willing to undergo a ‘Total Body Transformation’ with the aim of recapturing her lost love’s affection. So Kristy decides to say yes to this extreme reality TV concept, in the hopes of Max falling in love with her again. She will look completely different after multiple plastic surgeries – gorgeous, in fact – and will also be coached to be confident and have new interests. But there is a big catch to all of this. She only has thirty days to secure Max’s love – with a big reveal on camera as she tells him about her real identity – otherwise she will have her surgeries reversed and go back to her previous life.


Things are even more complicated in this high--concept novel, when Mara’s life and her past are revealed also. There are secrets, and wounds that are immense, and Mara forms an unlikely bond with Kristy for a short time – but ultimately the show must go on, whatever Mara’s feelings.


The Shot is a novel that is larger than life, and it explores themes of beauty and obsession, in the realm of a reality TV show that is pushing boundaries many steps too far. It’s a well-written read that I enjoyed on one hand but felt uncomfortable as well, as for a book that explores ideas of beauty, many of the events in the book have a raw ugliness to them. But I suspect this what the author was aiming for in concept and tone. It’s the type of read that lingers in the mind a long time after the story has ended. So all in all, a novel that I would recommend, if you are interested in delving more into the world of extreme reality TV, and the world’s obsession with image and beauty.


Reviewer: Karen McMillan

Pan Macmillan Publishing

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