You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle

You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle

Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed – thanks Richa (City of Books)!
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

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.

It’s sad to say that I’ve had this book on my shelf for WAY too long. I borrowed this from one of my best friends and fellow book blogger, Richa (City of Books) – I’m so sorry for keeping this too long! – and unfortunately because there was never a good time, I kept putting off reading it. I HAVE SO MANY REGRETS. This book was amazing. Nay, it was awesome. You Look Different in Real Life had the right amount of humour, emotional trauma and a unique concept that really made this stand out from other contemporaries. 

First of all, the storyline: so original! I mean, contemporaries about movies and TV shows have been done, but something like this, a documentary series that follows five children every five years is pretty amazing. Plus, I don’t think I’ve read anything, other than Secrets of My Hollywood Life, that deals with someone who’s been part of the film business for a while. There was such a good range of characters and such diversity of events that occur throughout the novel, so much that there wasn’t a dry part of the novel for me at least. I would have thought that being followed around with a camera crew would have it’s perks, but after reading this novel, I can definitely see the problems that arise and the consequences that it creates.

Speaking of characters, I loved ALL of them. Seriously. I enjoyed Justine’s humour and personal conflict as she comes to terms with who she is and who she wants to be. I adored Felix’s outgoing personality and the little twist that comes up later on in the novel– his story definitely gets interesting. Nate at first seemed a little cold, but I totally warmed up to his character as he and Justine interact more. Kiera was the only one who I thought was really distant from the four, but her story definitely dominates most of the story and is the undercurrent to the plot. Rory I couldn’t help but feel bad for. However, I also liked that she was okay with being different and accepted herself. I even liked Leslie’s character, because even though she was kind of went Effie-Trinket all over the five kids, like The Hunger Games character she truly cares for the kids.

There is a teeny bit of romance between two of the characters – not gonna mention which two – and while I think it was fine, it didn’t make much sense to me. They haven’t talked for a very long time, and because they suddenly start to open up to each other, that means that they fall in love? Maybe I missed something, but this was the only part that was slightly off-putting. However, the relationships that form between all five of the children is so real– Castle has certainly done an amazing job portraying it!

You Look Different in Real Life was an honest portrayal of what goes on behind the camera lens, and I loved how real and sincere it was. I couldn’t put this one down for a second! Jennifer Castle is an author that will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen's and Elizabeth Scott’s novels, and is a fresh voice in YA that I can’t WAIT to hear more from.

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