Interior designer Allison Holloway is part wannabe princess, part flirt and full-time reality TV enthusiast.

Given the chance to live her dream when she is asked to compete in Kamikaze Makeover!, a new reality show pitting her firm against a team of Japanese designers, she soon finds that life in front of a camera is not altogether glamorous.

With often demeaning, demoralizing and just plain embarrassing challenges, Allison fears how her blue-blooded Chicago family will react once the show airs. And why can't she stop thinking about ordinary advertising executive Dave when a bona fide prince will stop at nothing to court her?

This is a perplexing read; at times funny, at times intelligent and other times borderline obnoxious. Allison is a tough character to like -- she's spoiled, vain and seemingly impervious to fault. Midway through the story, something shifts and Allison becomes more human.

Bolks' sophomore novel isn't perfect -- Allison's sci-fi loving best friend Rory drags the story down immensely whenever she makes an appearance -- but it's certainly timely and executed smartly. (Jul., 279 pp., $12.95)

Reviewed by: 
Lauren Spielberg