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In Real Life

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  164 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Fifteen-year-old math prodigy Seth Gordon knows exactly what he wants to do with his life—play video games. Every spare minute is devoted to honing his skills at Starfare, the world's most popular computer game. His goal: South Korea, where the top pros are rich and famous. But the best players train all day, while Seth has school and a job and divorced parents who agree ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Tuttle Publishing
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Jul 10, 2014 Brandy rated it it was amazing
In a world dominated by YA books on and about girls, In Real Life stands out. My son, who is 12, mostly only wants to read Rick Riordan and Graphic Novels; finding books he is interested in outside of fantasy is difficult. The main character Seth is an avid gamer (much like my son) to the dismay of his parents (I try to grit my teeth and bear it). Even though he's a math genius, all he cares about is gaming, and becoming a pro Egamer. From Kansas to Korea, Seth follows his dream...and I don't ...more
Michelle Kidwell
Jul 23, 2014 Michelle Kidwell rated it it was amazing
In Real Life
Lawrence Tabak
Copyright 2014

Seth is a sophomore in highschool who happens to be a math prodigy and loves gaming.

Seth lives for gaming. He was written up in a magazine because of his gaming skills.

Soon a girl named Hannah starts taking interest in Seths gaming skills. Soon Seth finds himself competing with some of the top gamers in the world.

Seth finds himself competing in tournaments in Korea which means he has to travel away from his family, his friends even Hannah.

Being part of Tea
This is a trimmed down version of my review, to view the full review visit The Book Ramble.

I received a copy of this book from Tuttle Publishing on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Seth is a high school student turned pro-gamer who moves to South Korea to pursue his dreams of gaming stardom. He leave behind his family and a brand new girlfriend in hopes of becoming a pro-gamer. The book deals with Seth's pre-move challenges of breaking into the industry and what faces him when he arriv
Sydney Miller
Apr 22, 2015 Sydney Miller rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book! There really is not enough 'boy' YA. I read this while on an airplane and om a car trip, so I finished it pretty quickly and got it done in just a couple sittings.
The books was fantastic. Seth, the main character was amazing in the way that we was quiet and shy like a normal teenager, not witty and sarcastic, just a teenager. He enjoyed a subject in school that WASNT literature or art, which is rare, but he also enjoyed a common hobby outside of school, gaming
Mar 27, 2016 Jaime rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Disclosure: This book was provided to me by NetGalley free of charge in return for an honest and unbiased review. This book is scheduled to be released on November 11, 2014 by Tuttle Publishing.

I consider myself to be a "gamer". Having played endless games of River Raid and Keystone Capers on my Atari 2600 and more games of Super Mario Bros. in my youth than I can even count, it's a hobby that has just stuck with me throughout the years. When I spotted Tabak's "In Real Life" on NetGalley, I was
The Haunted Reading Room {Cthulhu Down the Chimney Tonight}
Take two subjects about which I know little and have zero interest, and make an interesting story I really enjoy, with relatable characters, an awesome protagonist, and the dreaded first-person narrative? I wouldn't have thought even the genius Victor Frankenstein could do that! Nevertheless, it 's been done, and the author's name is not--wait for it--Dr. Frankenstein, but Lawrence Tabak, who has written a story which ought to be a blockbuster in the YA genre. I think it has appeal to ...more
Rou Min
Sep 09, 2015 Rou Min rated it it was amazing
Full Review on RowReads


When I first saw this on NetGalley i knew I had to try and request this and after reading a couple of chapters I went out to get the physical book (since it was already out) as its THAT GOOD!Gaming, realistic and relatable teen along with a hint of romance and a hella lotta teen awkwardness.

15 year old Seth is a math genius and an avid gamer, is one of the best Starfare (i believe its a parody to StarCraft) gamer in the US. Like many teenage

Plot Elements
Love Interest

Mannnnn, where was this book around when I was growing up? My parents definitely thought video games rotted out your brain, and it was great to see video games portrayed in a serious light. I’ve done a ton of research on video games (my master research thesis was on advocating if video game collections should be added to libraries), if only to prove my parents (and brother) it was okay to grow up enjoying video games. This book follows Seth as he rise
Jul 21, 2014 OutlawPoet rated it really liked it
I kind of want to be a Korean gamer now…

After reading In Real Life, I now want to learn everything I can about the Korean gaming community.

If you do any sort of gaming, even if it's just some occasional rpg, you should find this fascinating. Seth is a gamer and he's extremely good at what he does. His parents don't understand. They think he's wasting his life in front of a screen. However, when Seth has the opportunity to win a place on a Korean gaming team, life takes some unexpected turns. Vau
Jun 21, 2015 texbsquared rated it really liked it
I'm fairly sure I'm the very first one to have read my library's copy of this book, because it was deflightfully stiff and shiny when I picked it up. (I've defiled it. I defiled the book). However, totally worth it. Quoted as reading like Cory Doctorow, and it absolutely does a little bit. I'm in no way a gamer myself, but I love novels about them. This one was great. Not only was it super cool with a really realistic and clever narrator, it was also a nice take on the whole life dreams aspect. ...more
Peter Tieryas
Mar 21, 2015 Peter Tieryas rated it it was amazing
Had a real blast blurbing this fascinating look into the world of gaming:

"The divide between reality and the digital landscapes of popular games are the balancing act Tabak’s In Real Life explores with brilliant humor and youthful zest. As Seth Gordon navigates the intricacies of Starfare and the politics of professional gaming, he discovers that ‘real life’ is more complicated than the most complex of RTS’s, and that balancing relationships is the key to victory both on the computer and off of
Jul 18, 2014 scribes23 marked it as finished
Shelves: review-done
ARC from Publisher

joey via. thoughts and afterthoughts
[See the full review at thoughts and afterthoughts.]

Rating: 2.5/5

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr spoiler-less review:

- Presented like a character case-study on the average gamer hoping to turn a dream into reality.
- The less you know about the gaming community or the eSports industry, the more enjoyment you may find with this read.
- Protagonist is presented like a Marty Stu (the male version of a Mary Sue character; basically flawless) and there is limited consequence to his actions t
I would like to thank Tuttle Publishing & NetGalley for granting me a copy of this e-book to read in exchange for an honest review. Though I received this e-book for free that in no way impacts my review.

Goodreads Teaser:
Fifteen-year-old math prodigy Seth Gordon knows exactly what he wants to do with his life—play video games. Every spare minute is devoted to honing his skills at Starfare, the world's most popular computer game. His goal: South Korea, where the top pros are rich and famous.
Jen • Just One More Page

This review is also posted on my blog.

I received a copy free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

(view spoiler)
Jancee Wright
Oct 16, 2014 Jancee Wright rated it really liked it
So I was just browsing through NetGalley one day when this cover demanded my attention. Why, you ask? Well, the thing is…I sort of have a thing for video games. A lot of people don’t know this about me. When I tell someone I plan to spend the day playing Skyrim or Uncharted or The Last of Us, they are shocked. So I was immediately intrigued by the guy on the cover holding a game controller.

I will preface my thoughts by saying that I don’t know much at all about the professional gaming scene, oth
Dawna Ofstehage
Apr 23, 2015 Dawna Ofstehage rated it really liked it
Set in Kansas City, Kansas. Seth Gordon is a fifteen year old math prodigy, but all he really wants to do is play video games (STARFARE) and go pro on the e-game circuit in Korea. His parents are divorced, his brother is off at college, his mom moves to California, and his dad travels often for work; which leaves him home alone to hone his STARFARE skills. He qualifies for the STARFARE nationals, but in order to go he has to strike a deal with his parents, if he loses he has to give up on the ...more
Sep 03, 2014 Jordan rated it it was amazing
Net-Galley ARC Review

Lawrence Tabak's In Real Life portrays a coming-of-age story revolved around e-sports and its rapidly growing popularity. We see a 15 year old named Seth Gordon who is obviously quite intelligent but prefers to spend his time thinking about the next time he will get to play Starfare. Which he is also quite talented at and one of the top players in America. With a dream of becoming pro, we see the work needed and steps taken by Seth to get a chance at the infamous Korean pr
Jul 20, 2014 Laura rated it liked it
Thanks to Netgalley for this free ARC!

Hooray! A young adult novel with a male protagonist!

Seth spends most of his time playing his favourite video game, however, he's not your average teen gamer, he is an incredible player, with hopes of becoming a pro. But, when Seth does catch the attention of a pro Korean team, all of his dreams have come true. But there's a problem: he doesn't want to leave his Hannah, his new-found girlfriend.

In In Real Life Seth realises that sometimes, our dreams aren'
HNGC Library
Jul 18, 2014 HNGC Library rated it liked it
Seth would love to spend his entire life playing online games - he's the 10th best player in the United States in Starfare - and he dreams of a career in South Korea where the champions play. As Seth muddles along in his life, he pays little attention to school and doesn't get the best grades - not because he's unintelligent but because he doesn't see the point in school when a career awaits. After playing well in a national Starfare tournament, Seth gains the attention of South Korea gaming ...more
Sofia Galvez
Jun 15, 2015 Sofia Galvez rated it liked it
Shelves: nerdy, 2015
3 Platypires for In Real Life by Lawrence Tabak

I enjoyed this book and liked learning more about the gaming world and life in Korea. I found that to be new and different. Open my eyes to a whole other world. While I did like Seth as the MC, I just wished he had more personality. I get that most gamer nerds are socially awkward but even gamers have real life friends. I just felt bad for him because he was kinda lonely. Also felt he missed great opportunities while he was in traveling. Overall, I
Amber Aslakson
Jul 26, 2014 Amber Aslakson rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and was appreciative of being able to check out an ARC copy through NetGalley. This book is one that would be enjoyed by many of my male and female students. I loved that it took a subject that so many of my students enjoy and made it into a believable and enjoyable story. The characters were well developed and the reader could connect with them. It was fun to find a story with a male lead that was realistic fiction with a slight bit of romance thrown in. I know many ...more
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Brian
Cover Story: Duuuude...
Drinking Buddy: Aw, Dude!
Testosterone Level: Dude! DUDE!
Talky Talk: Dude.
Bonus Factor: Playing Video Games for God Damn Money
Bromance Status: Dude?

Read the full book report here.
Sep 16, 2015 Rachael rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-books, nwh
Cover Thoughts: Interesting and makes you stop for a second and see what it’s about. HOWEVER, the cover is definitely broken. The story focuses on a teen who plays computer video games, not console video games. Soooo the kid is definitely holding the wrong sort of controller in his hands, he should be at a computer desk.

Librarian Musings:
I was incredibly excited when I saw this book come through one of our ordering carts at work. It’s been said in so many places that there aren’t enough boy-cent
Arlo Johnson
Nov 02, 2016 Arlo Johnson rated it it was amazing
This book, like most of the other ones I've read this year, seem to bring up and deal with most of the problems I am encountering at the same time. In real life, school is hard, distractions make it harder, and you don't really know what you want t od oor pursue. The main character Seth thinks these same things, but I liked the way he dealt with them. He decided to move to Korea and play videogames professionally. This is easily one of my favorite books, it's so easy to just pick up and start ...more
Emily Dill
Sep 26, 2014 Emily Dill rated it liked it
This review originally appeared on She's Got the

I have quite a few hobbies, but two of my favorites are reading and playing online with friends on the Xbox, so I eagerly requested this book about gaming. I was also really excited to read a YA novel that actually promised to tell a story from a young male's viewpoint, as opposed to the million and one stories out there based on 16-year-old girls.

Seth Gordon is obsessed with Starfare, an online game that he spends all of his time playing
Maryam Dinzly
Dec 21, 2015 Maryam Dinzly rated it really liked it
This book might have caught my interest when I realized that it's aboutGAMING. And I loooove games, and everything that's got to do with it. But I have to admit that reading this book was not comfortable, and I think it was because I am not used to reading a YA book from a guy's POV. The narration throughout the whole book was a teeeny bitmonotonous and I could totally imagine my brother reading this book aloud to me. I honestly thought I was going to have a problem with it,but I didn't. I defin ...more
Ms. Yingling
Dec 14, 2014 Ms. Yingling rated it really liked it
Seth is a math whiz with a complicated life-- his parents are divorced, so he splits his time between them. This works out great, because his father is on the road a lot, so Seth can skip school to play Starfare. His mother decides to move across the country to pursue her yoga interests, and Seth isn't wild about leaving, especially since he has met Hannah at the pizza shop where he works, and she's a really cool girl who just gets him. When Seth is recruited by Team Anaconda, a premier Korean ...more
Suzanne Dix
In this enthralling look into the Korean competitive eSports culture, fifteen year old Seth Gordon makes for an excellent narrator and guide. Seth is an online gaming obsessed teen, often blowing off classes or doing the bare minimum just to get by in order to devote all his free time to playing Starfare. And he’s so good (ranked 5th in the US) that he gains the attention of one of the best Korean teams, the Anacondas. Seth is drafted and becomes Korea’s first American player. Convincing his ...more
Oct 04, 2014 Eli rated it really liked it
I felt a connection to this book from the beginning because of the main character and the fact that he loves video games. I loved the way that the struggles, joys and journey that come with being a professional gamer--or just a gamer in general were outlined and written. I thought that it was a well-executed book and I was able to really connect with Seth's life.

I also really enjoyed the way that many lessons were taught over the course of this book, specifically showing how Seth struggles and s
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Lawrence Tabak started out on Candy Land but soon hit the harder stuff (Pong, Tron, SimAnt). His first job was playing knock hockey with ten-year-olds as a playground supervisor in Dubuque, Iowa. He graduated to jobs in pizza assembly and door-to-door solicitation before settling into a series of tennis jobs in Iowa, California, New Jersey and Kansas. His writing has appeared in numerous national ...more
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