Keeping it real
Fifteen-year-old Kendra Bishop is sick and tired. She's sick of her parents, high-powered Manhattan bankers and exercise junkies who always have time to run another marathon but can't spare a second to give Kendra a hug. She's tired of living according to the rules her parents keep in a binder and expect her to follow without question. So when Kendra sees an ad for the reality show The Black Sheep, in which teenagers from wildly different environments switch families, she writes a heartfelt letter of application. When Kendra is actually picked for the show, she has second thoughts about spending time in California, with the crunchy-granola Mulligans, a free-wheeling family with a full house, few rules and a kleptomaniac ferret. She's especially put off by Judy, the show's producer, who's so determined to create a good story that she has entirely lost sight of, well, reality. After a few days with the Mulligans, though (and especially with their hot teenage son Mitch), Kendra's determined to see her Black Sheep experience as an opportunity: A Black Sheep tosses out her parents' rule book and invents her own. The sassy, sharp-tongued narrator of The Black Sheep will appeal to teen readers. Kendra's transformation into a passionate, independent thinker reminds us of the ways in which all young people eventually define themselves as individuals even if it means being the black sheep of the family for a while.