Author: Jennifer Castle
Publication: June 4, 2013
By: Harper Teen
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, just 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.
Thank you YABC and Harper Teen for this ARC.
What I Liked: I really like this cover! This is well written with a premise that is not only intriguing but relevant in the voyeuristic society we live in. There is a natural curiosity that surrounds people who are thrust into the limelight, whether by choice or by accident, and the line between public and private gets blurred quite often. After awhile, it can be difficult to tell the difference between reality and fiction, not only for those on the outside, but the ones whose lives are being invaded. Such is the case with these five teenagers. As the years have gone by, they've had to learn how to deal with other people's expectations of who they think they should be and who they really are which is hard at any age but even harder at sixteen with a camera following your every move.
Justine may be the center of the story but she's surrounded by a cast of characters who are equally engaging and it's her relationship with them, or lack thereof, that helps her figure out who she really is. The beginning got off to a slow start (for me) but picked up at the midway point and continued steadily until the end which wrapped up nicely. There are important lessons about friendship and acceptance to be learned and there's a romance that blossoms which came as no surprise but didn't feel forced either.
What Left Me Wanting More: I struggled a bit to keep up in the beginning and I didn't really connect with Justine the way I had hoped too. (I felt more of a connection with Nate)
Final Verdict: Intriguing and relevant.
Review also posted at YABC.