You Look Different in Real Life
by Jennifer Castle
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: ARC received from Around the World ARC Tours, in exchange for my honest review. I do not get to keep the books.
Midnight Minute: Justine deals with life, fame and friendship, and finds her place in front and behind the camera.
Expected Publication: 06.04.13 from HarperTeen
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.
~ This book surprised the heck out of me- I loved it! I want to say that up front, because reviews of books I really like are so much harder than any other reviews I write. So, you can skip everything else and just go ahead and put this book on your To Be Read pile.
~ Justine, the main character and narrator, has taken part in two documentary films- Five at Six and Five at Eleven that have followed her and four other kids in her school at those ages. Now they want to make a Five at Sixteen, but Justine is unsure she wants to go through with it.
~ One of the things that I love is that Justine is not thin. She’s not the type of character who can eat anything she wants and never exercise and still not gain weight. She’s not even a character who just never eats. Granted, she’s only 20 pounds overweight, but I loved how she was disappointed because she thought by age 16 she would have lost the weight, because that’s something I can easily identify with.
~ Justine has a great family, in particular her older sister, Olivia. Families don’t have to be super effed up or absent to make a character compelling. Yes, her parents are divorced, and her dad still comes over once a week for dinner and the occasional sleepover (ew!), but it feels real and honest.
~ Justine has flaws, and she’s mostly aware of them. She’s funny and snarky, and she makes mistakes. I seriously adore her.
~ There is so much tension between the five main characters, but particularly between Felix and Nate, and while I guessed some of the stuff about Felix, I was surprised by the layers of complications to all of their relationships.
~ A big issue in this book is how much of Justine, who she really is, is captured, and how much of who Justine and the others are is because they’re on camera. Trust me, I could not just be myself. I’d either disappear or I’d be ON like a drunken comedian on acid. Plus, my voice would probably be pitched so high that only dogs could hear it.
~ We get to “see” scenes from Five at Six and Five at Eleven, which just made me love all of the kids so much! I don’t know if ya’ll have seen the HBO show Kindergarten, but that’s totally what it reminded me of! I’d love to see those little ragamuffins as they are now.
~ Ian has a friend named Dashiell, which I loved. Can we all just agree to give our future kids cool, literary names? Even if it means we’ll have a lot of Darcys, Fours, and Anna-Dressed-In-Bloods running around?
~ It took me awhile to warm up to Felix, but making friends with apple-cider donuts? I can be friends with someone like that!
~ Justine’s past friendship with Rory is complicated, but again, it felt true. Sometimes we outgrow friends, or we want to hang with new friends, and sometimes we are even the friend who got left behind.
~ Kiera’s dad is a complete snobdouche. You’ll understand why when you get to the part of the book where he purposely lets a scene play out for the cameras.
~ Seriously, I felt the pressure that Justine feels to be interesting for the camera, especially since it was so easy for her when she was a kid.
~ These kids! Just, wow. They are so separate from one another now, yet so tangled together. This book highlights the power friends have to wound us.
~ I mentioned the HBO show, but now I’m digging deep for Bravo’s show called The It Factor that followed struggling actors. It featured Jeremy Renner before he hit it big, and because of that I’ve always felt like I had some kind of “I saw him first” claim on him. And it reminded me of the book, because Justine and Nate are kind of the stand out stars of the movies.
~ In order to keep the film going and to get the kids together, they have to go to one of those trust building camps with work shop leader, Pam, who Justine says is paid to make people uncomfortable. I did not know I could get paid for something I do so naturally!
~ I think all the flashbacks made me love these kids. I wonder if we could all see how we once were as kids, we’d like each other more?
~ ‘Bouldering’ sounds hellish.
~ The character of Rory, and how the others interact with her, was pretty wonderful to read about.
~ Felix and his future struggle with his family is heartbreaking, but again, some families are exactly like his. Poor Felix.
~ I want to hug this book. I also want a rabbit. Aaron, in case you are reading this, you might want to just build the rabbit hutch now, because when I say I want a rabbit, what I really mean is I’m going to get a rabbit.
~ So much love for this book!!!
Rory- wonderfully unique!
Felix- has personality and talent out the wazoo!
Kiera- the smart, pretty girl with real issues!
Nate- golden boy with real issues and a thing for bunnies!
Ian- loser who dumps Justine, but starts sniffing around once the new film begins production, he’s a tool.
Leslie and Lance- filmmakers, I actually began to like them too!
Olivia- Justine’s cool older sister (who won’t be in the new film because in the Five at Eleven she was a bitchy, whiny teenager).
Dashiell- Ian’s friend. Only on this list because I like his name.
Kenny- the sound guy.
Pam- work shop leader, I want her job!
Doug- friend of Nates’s, now in college.
Ratso, a New York bunny rabbit.
Brennon/Brendon/Brandon- or whatever his name was.
How the gang deals with Rory and her needs.
Justine and Felix on the bench in New York City.
This is another book I just want everyone to read. You, read this now! Or, wait until June 4th, when it comes out for sale because I get that it might be hard to get your hands on a copy before then. But after June 4th, no excuses! I want to see the blogging world lit up with reviews and hearts and flowers for this book. 😉
Jennifer Castle — Website |Jennifer Castle
You Look Different in Real Life gets a Midnight Book Rating of: