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.