Thursday, 13 June 2013

Review: You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle

You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication date: June 4th 2013.
My rating: 4.5 stars

 
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 just such a fresh read. With all these reality shows around following celebrities around 24/7, you would expect You Look Different in Real Life to follow a similar sort of route, well I certainly did. But no You Look Different in Real Life ended up being such a brilliant nostalgic read. 

I remember when I was studying Sociology at college and watching a similar sort of documentary where it followed the lives of a class from a young age and checked back with them to see how their lives were progressing every few years. I remember being utterly enthralled. A few of the children had stood out so prominently in my eyes that I wanted to know how their lives would turn out. Sometimes it would really be heartbreaking, when they went to check back with the children with some turning to drugs and others passing away. So when I heard Castle would be focusing on a similar sort of concept in her book, I knew I had to give it a try.

The lives of Justine, Felix, Rory, Nate and Keira had been documented into a reality film from the age of 5. The purpose of the documentary was to give a stark insight into their lives and check upon them every 5 years. At 5 years old the group of five kids were a tight knit group, with them sitting together on the same table at school and having sleepovers at each other’s houses. Whilst everyone was still friends at 11 years old, it was easily seeable that were some cracks developing amongst the friendships. Things kind of went downhill after the second film. But now with the third film at 16 years old being planned how would the five individuals who used to be so close cope?

What I enjoyed about You Look Different in Real Life was that we were told the story from Justine’s perspective, but we were given carefully timed flashbacks which gave us interesting insights into the rest of the characters lives. So we did get some back story as the book progressed, but there was still so much that was held back from us, things such as why Nate and Felix and Rory and Justine stopped being best friends. Because of this we were able to learn about how things went wrong with the characters as they tried to piece together how they could make things right.

As we were given this book from Justine’s perspective, I was quick to take on her view point and her opinions of who she held in high regard and who she didn’t. So just like Justine, I was quick to warm up to her good friend Felix and be a bit wary of Rory, Nate and Keira. But I’m pleased to say as the book progressed I was able to form strong connections with all the characters.

You Look Different in Real Life was a story which left a great impression with me. It was wonderful seeing the five individuals having to make the effort with each through forced situations enforced by the directors. But if it wasn’t for these situations, I don’t think everyone would have been able to work through their problems. There were a lot of assumptions and judgements made about each other, so I enjoyed watching each individual character work through this through their journey together.

You Look Different in Real Life is definitely one story which will stand out for me this year. I enjoyed how Castle was able to produce a story about friendships, with a blend of romance, mystery and wonderful road trip along the way. Overall You Look Different in Real Life was just a beautiful read.


25 comments:

  1. It sounds fantastic! I'm always wondering what happens to people from Reality shows so I'll definitely need to look it up.
    Great review, Jasprit :)

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  2. I didn't really enjoy this one. I just found all the characters distant from me and I was rather bored as the idea was poorly executed. But I can totally see why some people like this!

    Brilliant review, Jasprit! And I love your header, it's gorgeous! <33

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  3. Sounds like you really loved this one, Jasprit. I liked it too, but Justine annoyed me at times I have to say. I would have loved to hear from the other characters --I think this one would have worked really well as a multiple POV book.

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  4. Oh wow I had no idea what this one was about but that concept sounds fascinating! I can't believe it's something that you did in school as well, that is very cool. I think this is one that I could really like so I am happy to have read your review, I wouldn't have picked it up before this so thanks!

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  5. I also thought it was a refreshing change of theme and liked Justine as a main character

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  6. Oh, wow, Jasprit! To hear that this is a standout novel for you really says something because I trust your take on books - especially contemps, which are notoriously tricky for me. I think I might just have to pick this one up after that beautiful review! :)

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  7. You've sold me with your last paragraph Jasprit, this book sounds too good to relegate to the "if I have time pile". I think I need to move it up to the top. I've been in a bit of a review funk lately and I need something really great to pull me out. This sounds like it might be perfect for that! Anything you give a 4.5 to, I take note of for sure:) Absolutely gorgeous review!

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  8. Oh this sounds wonderful!!! I'm adding it right now!!

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  9. The concept of this book sounds interesting, and I like how you were able to connect with all the characters. This sounds like another fantastic contemporary from Jennifer Castle. I'll definitely be checking this one out. Thanks for the review!

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  10. Oh, this does sound like a great story! I loved watching those videos in Sociology too, and think this makes for a great concept. Thanks for such a helpful review, Jasprit!

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  11. This book sounds so wonderful! I love the idea behind it and all of the things that you highlighted in your review make me want to read it now! Thanks for the awesome review.

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  12. I really like the concept of this novel! I'm glad you liked it so much, I've seen a couple less than awesome reviews, which made me pretty sad. Great review!

    -Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

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  13. This is the first time I have really stopped and paid attention to what this about. I know what you mean about those documentaries and I liked them, too. I think this sounds like a great concept and I love seeing that high rating. I am definitely going to have to reconsider and check this one out!

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  14. Thanks for the review! I really like the premise behind this one. It's quite fascinating. I think I'd enjoy this story -- it's not high on my list of things I want to read, but I'm certainly curious.

    -Lauren

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  15. The documentary you watched in Sociology definitely sounds fascinating, as does You Look Different in Real Life. After reading so many negative reviews of Castle's first book, I was wary of this one, but after reading your glowing review, I'll definitely have to keep my eyes open for this! I'm so happy to hear that as the plot progressed, you grew in connection to all the characters, not just Justine and Felix. I love seeing relationships mend themselves. Wonderful review, Jasprit!

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  16. I know this is a coming-of-age type of novel but I've no idea that the story is so nostalgic and fascinating. I think I'll have to add this to my read list. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. I sort of disregarded this one when it came to new novels, but this seems so interesting now that I've read your review! I'll have to check it out for sure. Thanks, Jasprit! :)

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  18. So glad to see such a high rating for this from you, Jasprit! I've had my eye on it for quite a while (the concept sounds so original and thought-provoking!), so I'm glad to see that it left such an impact and impression on you. Will definitely go out of my way to read this one, now! Thanks for the review!

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  19. I haven't heard of this book and this whole concept is new to me. I can't remember reading something similar. It for sure sounds like a great read. Great review Jasprit :)

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  20. I didn't know this one would be such a brilliant read, Jasprit! I'm very surprised. I love how you described it though and I feel like I might actually enjoy this.
    Definitely checking this one out soon!
    Fab review, Jasprit!

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  21. Oh, my, the reviews for this have been all over the place, but I really like the idea and I must confess I'm intrigued. Good thing I have a review copy already on the way. I just couldn't resist. It makes me feel better that it had such a strong impact on you.
    Lovely review, Jasprit!

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  22. I thought it would be a cute, fluffy, sort of pretensions read about reality shows, but this is totally different. I'm so surprised that it tuned out to be a lot deeper than I imagined. Definitely going to be looking forward to it. Fantastic review, Jasprit!

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  23. You know, I never thought about this book from a sociological perspective. Like you, I read the blurb and thought that this would be more akin to trashy reality shows that are on TV today and promptly moved on to reading about another book. But I like the fact that this story apparently has a lot more substance than that. It is interesting to really watch how people grow, interact, and change over the years. And I'm glad it was such a positive reading experience for you, Jasprit!

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  24. I'd seen this one around but didn't really know anything about it, after reading your review I'm going to add it to the wishlist! I think this would be a really interesting read especially as I have a weakness for reality TV! Amazing review, Jasprit!

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  25. I read this and had a hard time getting into it, but now I even like it more after reading your review! I was impressed by how deep it turned out to be though :) Love the review!

    Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf

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