You Look Different in Real Life Featured
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.
Intriguing and Relevant
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.
You Look Different In Real Life
You Look Different is the story of five kids who star in a series of documentaries from the time they were six. Their now sixteen and about to start the third movie. Justine our POV character feels like she has done nothing in the last five years and is anxious about how viewers will see her. She isn't lead guitar in a rockband like her eleven year old self thought she would be, she's not a rebel with a cause, or the star of the high school theater. She's just a regular teenage girl, nothing special. She goes to school, hangs out with her friend Felix, watches movies, and eats dinner with her family. That's pretty much it. Who's going to want to watch that? When shooting starts, Lance and Leslie, the directors, have trouble getting good footage so all the kids go for a weekend at a retreat. I didn't expect the story to go in the direction it went in after that and I'm not sure I liked it as much as I could have, but I did enjoy it overall. Jennifer Castle did an great job of creating three dimensional characters. The story isn't so much Justine's as it was all of theirs. They were all coping with themselves, their family, friends, and the world. While I really liked seeing them come to terms with everything, it all seemed to wrap up to nicely. They all faced their individual problems and then that was it. They had conquered it and it was basically over. There was also that matter of Justine's stomachaches. What was causing them? It seemed like it more then nerves, but it was never explained and that really annoyed me! *SLIGHT SPOILER* Another thing I didn't like was that Justine just took to taping so easily. I'd have liked to see her with her camera before the movie because as is I couldn't believe how quick she became attached to it. but overall it's still a very descent read
I seriously loved this book from start to finish. The characters develop right in front of you, so that was fun to see. This is told in the perspective of Justine, one of the five that have been chosen all the way back when they were six to do a documentary every 5 years until they were 21. In the beginning, Justine was doubting herself. She didn't think they were going to do another movie and when she does, she is caught off guard. She thinks that she could have lost more weight, or did this or yadda and she thinks that everyone will be disappointed in how she is now. After reading a web site about the documentaries and she sees the comments they made about her, she is worried that she won't be able to be what they want. In the website, they say that she probably joined a band, did this and she feels as if she isn't as funny now as she way back when she was eleven and six. The book is mainly about Justine finding her purpose and Kiera finding her mother along with Diego, Nate, and Rory.
While at a "retreat" at a cabin set up by film makers Leslie and Lance to get more interesting film material, Kiera, after getting information about her mother, who left when she was eleven, steals Leslie's car, phone, and wallet during the night to find her. Justine, Nate, Diego, and Rory then set off the find her along with Leslie's camera. During the journey to find her, Justine videotapes everything, and she tells their story rather than Leslie and Lance. I liked how broken relationships were repaired , especially Rory and Justine's relationship. I also liked how Jennifer Castle somewhat accurately showed how Rory acted with her autism. All the feelings in the book, although sometimes jagged, felt real, and that made the book even easier to read and funner. Kiera's reunion with her mom was sweet yet sad, but perfect. Really, everything was perfect In this book. Nate and Justine's relationship was really sweet and un cheesy, which I appreciated. It was nice to have a steady dose of realism in a world filled with make believe!
A refreshing premise that delivers emotion, and shows the lives of characters that were changed both
I liked Justine and connected with her right away, I felt confused for the first part of the book. I knew the premise but it just felt like everyone was going around knowing something that I didn't. Why Justine had changed, why she felt like such a disappointment, and what had changed at school.
But I think that was the whole point. Because as you get into the story, Justine remembers the moments as the film crew is there again, and things all begin to fit together.
One of the themes is that Justine is disappointed, and it comes out as anger. She is disappointed that she didn't live up to what her eleven year old self thought she would be. But then she begins to see what is special about her, what makes everyone special. That we all have a story to tell. It may not be one that makes millions, and then again, maybe we aren't looking at it the right way. But I loved each moment where something clicked for her. Where she realizes that it is okay to change, that she needs to love who she has become, and that she can always start working for another goal again.
Another theme is friendship. How it can change or how some relationships just reach an end, whether natural or by a fight or other circumstances. I liked watching her with Felix, seeing how they encourage one another, how a true friendship should be and what we should strive for. Then there are the others that ended, and how Justine deals with the parts that were her fault.
There was one part near the end where they were all together and had went through a lot, and she said that they helped make each other whole. They realized more about themselves and life by being together.
The characters are all fleshed out well, and the pacing was good. The ending wrapped things up really well and I enjoyed the story overall.
Bottom Line: A refreshing premise that delivers emotion, and shows the lives of characters that were changed both positively and negatively by being on screen.