Waste of Space – Gina Damico

As soon as I read the blurb for Waste of Space I knew I was in for a fun time and couldn’t wait to start reading. I started smiling within the first few pages and I’m not sure I stopped until after I realised the book was over. Although my smiles at the beginning related to the absurdity of the situation the characters were unwittingly getting themselves into, the last smile was due to the satisfaction that came from imagining the beauty and perfection of that final image.

Reality shows are such guilty pleasures. I’ve felt squeamish during Survivor‘s food challenges, eaten chocolate while watching The Biggest Loser, experienced the horror akin to watching a car crash unfold every time something disgusting is found during a Hoarders episode and revelled in feeling boringly normal each time a new My Strange Addiction unfolds on my TV.

I love that Gina Damico took a satirical spin on reality shows. I’m not usually a fan of books that feature transcripts as I generally find them quite incohesive but was pleasantly surprised with how well my attention was maintained throughout the transitions between transcripts of video footage and phone calls, and the intern’s commentary.

I haven’t read one of Gina Damico’s books before but found her writing to be very visual. With the descriptions of the people, locations and situations I could easily watch mini movies in my mind of all of the action. If The Asylum were to take it on I could see this book being made into a really fun B grade comedy/drama/action movie. I’d definitely watch it!

Waste of Space took me longer to read than I’d expected because I kept stopping to go find someone to read a funny passage to, such as the explanation of what went wrong in the season four finale of Alaskan Sex Igloo. I loved the concepts of the other reality shows described in this book as well, including America’s Next Top Murderer and The Real Housewives of Atlantis. I had to try to suppress a giggle when reading about these because I’m sure if they were real I’d be settling in to binge watch them as we speak.

That said though, beneath all of the fun and some silliness there were some deeper truths to be found about conquering your fears, not judging a person solely by the image they portray on the surface, facing the painful events in your past and the impact they continue to have on you, and the value of trusted friends.

I was intrigued by both Nico and Titania from when I first met them and looked forward to seeing how their characters unfolded throughout the book. Watching their characters interact with their fellow Spaceronauts and each other was entertaining and I liked discovering the defining moments in their pasts that eventually led them on board the Laika. As much as I liked both Nico and Titania, my favourite character ended up being Kaoru, the girl who consistently told it like it was … albeit in Japanese which none of the other Spaceronauts understood.

What I wanted to eat while reading this book:

  • Bacon (sorry, Colonel Bacon!).

If I were to nitpick:

  • I was a bit annoyed by some crude scenes that I didn’t think were necessary and added nothing to the plot or character development.
  • I kept waiting for the disclaimer saying this book was sponsored by IKEA.

What I’ll be doing once I finish writing this review:

  • Researching Gina Damico’s other books to add to my ever growing to be read pile and working out which one I want to read first.

I know I’m going to want to reread Waste of Space and highlight all of the passages that made me laugh so I can easily find them again when I feel the need to randomly quote them.

Catchphrase forever!

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Cram ten hormonal teens into a spaceship and blast off: that’s the premise for the ill-conceived reality show Waste of Space. The kids who are cast know everything about drama—and nothing about the fact that the production is fake. Hidden in a desert warehouse, their spaceship replica is equipped with state-of-the-art special effects dreamed up by the scientists partnering with the shady cable network airing the show. And it’s a hit! Millions of viewers are transfixed. But then, suddenly, all communication is severed. Trapped and paranoid, the kids must figure out what to do when this reality show loses its grip on reality.

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