In Real Life: A Novel

In Real Life: A Novel
Age Range
Release Date
March 01, 2016
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Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another. There's just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met. Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she's supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Las Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him. Hannah's surprise romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. Hannah knows the real Nick can't be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

Editor review

1 review
Smart Phone Crossed Lovers
Overall rating
Writing Style
Hannah is a high school senior who has always been "the good kid"-- her older sister Grace seems to have a drinking problem, and isn't the most responsible college student. This is why when their parents go out of town for spring break, Hannah's friend Lo comes to stay with the sisters as well. Maybe not the best plan. Hannah has had the same best friend, Nick, for four years, but they've never met. Nick lives four hours away, and while they talk daily on the phone, circumstances have never worked out for the two to meet in person. After a revealing call that Nick makes to her while drunk, Hannah feels that he likes her as much as she likes him... and not just as friends. Feeling like cutting loose before the end of her senior year, Hannah decides to take a road trip to Las Vegas to see Nick's band play and to figure out how he really feels. He's hiding some things from her, and after a frenetic, frolic filled weekend on the Vegas strip, Hannah and Nick finally get each other figured out.
Good Points
Hannah is certainly more careful than the characters in Hiaasen's Skink, and Grace had actually met Nick's brother Alex. The two had also talked on the telephone and knew details of each other's lives, such as what schools they attended. Hannah does not go alone to meet Nick, and they are always in public places, so I didn't worry quite as much about the issue of the two having connected with each other on line. Since internet safety is a huge concern, it was good that the author observed some of the standard safety guidelines with her characters!

This was a light, enjoyable romance. Yes, there was some tension about the dissembling that Nick did, but he and Hannah seemed to have a real connection, and it didn't take long before most of the obstacles were removed from their path. There was just enough teen angst to give the story an edge, but not enough to make it overwrought.

While there is a lot of underage drinking, as well a few Vegas style highjinks, this stopped blissfully short of becoming instructive in any area, and is middle grade appropriate even though the characters are in upper high school and college.

Fans of Dessen, Colasanti, Kantor, Jennifer E. Smith and Bloomsbury's If Only romances will find this tale of meeting Prince Charming after knowing him virtually to be a great 21st century tale.
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