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Wednesday 23 April 2014

Review: You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle

Author: Jennifer Castle
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count:  355 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: June 4th 2013
Find it on Goodreads: You Look Different in Real Life
Source: For Review

For the rest of the world, the movies are entertainment. For Justine, they're real life.
The premise was simple: five kids, just living their lives. There'd be a new movie about them every five years, starting in kindergarten. But no one could have predicted what the cameras would capture. And no one could have predicted that Justine would be the star.
Now sixteen, Justine doesn't feel like a star anymore. In fact, when she hears the crew has gotten the green light to film Five at Sixteen, all she feels is dread. The kids who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who hardly know one another. And Justine, who was so funny and edgy in the first two movies, feels like a disappointment.
But these teens have a bond that goes deeper than what's on film. They've all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how it feels to have fans as well as friends. So when this latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to see yourself is through someone else's eyes.
Smart, fresh, and frequently funny, You Look Different in Real Life is a piercing novel about life in an age where the lines between what's personal and what's public aren't always clear.

You Look Different in Real Life was a poignant, moving story that completely took me by surprise. I was not expecting such a touching tale of friendship, growing up, and love, yet that is what it turned out to be.

I liked this book a whole lot more than I thought I would. You Look Different in Real Life is a surprisingly wonderful novel that is diverse, fresh, and real. While there wasn't a lot going on, there was at the same time and I liked the steady pace that came with Justine's story, where it was almost like we readers were actually watching the documentary of their lives. I was also so impressed with the fact that this book has a combination of things that we pretty much rarely see in YA, at least not all together in one book: LGBTQ discussion, characters of different races, a character on the Autism spectrum, etc. I loved this book mostly because, well, it was real. I mean, other than the whole "filming your life" thing, but the characters were real, they had their issues and they had growth and understanding. There was hardly any romance, which was actually refreshing, and the little romance that was present was sweet and made me smile.

What I liked most about this novel was the fact that it didn't depend on action and surprise twists to keep it interesting. What had me hooked was the development that was immediately evident in all of the characters, each of them becoming more and more dynamic as I read on. I loved learning about these five kids and where their lives have taken them, as well as how they have reacted to it all. It was so interesting for me, reading a book that relied so heavily on characters and their growth, because I always find that I love these type of books so much more than I do with the books that have static characters with just a ton of action. I've been looking for a contemporary like this for a while now and I'm so glad this one was able to pleasantly surprise me. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a great book about friendship, family, and understanding those around you.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I feel like it's so uncommon to see books that rely on character development instead of its plot to bring it forward, so the fact that this one does that is great! A lot of people have been loving this one so I really want to read it :) Glad you enjoyed it!


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