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Guy in Real Life

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  3,968 ratings  ·  643 reviews
An achingly real and profoundly moving love story about two Minnesota teens whose lives become intertwined through school, role-playing games, and a chance two-a.m. bike accident.

It is Labor Day weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; and Svetlana, who e
Hardcover, 386 pages
Published May 27th 2014 by Balzer + Bray
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Average rating 3.41  · 
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 ·  3,968 ratings  ·  643 reviews

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Mar 03, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
When are editors going to find a new description? As a matter of fact, not every book can be Rainbow Rowell x John Green.
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like John Green's books...possibly
Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff Review

Dear potential readers,

This book tells the story of a boy who impersonates a female elf in a make-believe role playing game (RPG). He’s grounded and frankly…has nothing to do. He’s a metal boy, or Goth if you ask me. I should know, I hung out with Goths in High School. Don’t even ask. He even meets some fellow gamers, one of which actually believes he’s a girl. This sick fuck is named Lesh. He drunkenly knocks into a girl, who amazes him at
Jessica Folded Between the Pages of Books
DNF @ 38% after this gem:
"Don't be such a homo, Tung," Greg says. We're not actually murdering a girl repeatedly. We're messing with some faggoty noob who has no idea how to play his class. Any rogue should be able to rez, vanish, sprint the hell out of here without my killing him again."
"Him," he says. "This is not a girl, I promise. There are no girls on the internet."

Seriously? This book was published in 2014, not 1994, right? This excerpt comes after the usage of the word gay in a
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not a gamer. I don’t play MMO. I don’t do RPG. I don’t listen to metal music. I don’t sew. But this book grabbed my attention. Even when I had a gazillion things to do during the day, I managed to squeeze in a few minutes here and there, just to open the book and escape into the worlds of Lesh and Svetlana. Their lives were very different from mine and yet I felt a deep connection with these characters.

It’s kind of hard to describe why I liked the story. I guess part of it was because I did

I was so excited for this book. I mean, it doesn't come out until next year--and I didn't need to read it yet, but romance is my thing and I have a bad habit of limiting myself when my curiosity is high. So I jumped into this over the weekend, and let me tell you this: I don't think my nerdiness was high enough on the scale of nerddom to enjoy it as much as I should have enjoyed it.

Now don't get all up in arms with me about the nerd thing. I'm not hating on anyone. I'm a total nerd when it comes
Erin Downing
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't loved a book this much since I read Eleanor & Park. Such authentic characters, and a really sweet falling-in-love story. I'm not into gaming stuff, but actually really enjoyed that (smallish) aspect of the story - but I adore real-life Lesh and Lana so much. ...more
Huge thank you to Steve Brezenoff for this advance reader's copy of his very awesome book.

When I read the premise of Guy in Real Life, I was convinced it was a book written just for me. I'm marrying a gamer, I am a gamer myself, so clearly a nerdy gamer romance sounded perfect. What I wasn't expecting was the amount of laying within this novel -- gaming was only one half of what this story entailed, as Brezenoff gives us a story about two misfits, one completely unsure of himself and another who
C. L.
I... this book is all over the place, and because of that, I have a very hard time pinning down my thoughts on it. I can tell you that as a tabletop gamer, an occasional resident of WoW, and a person who has lived in every neighborhood described, I am pretty much as close to a target audience as one can be without being a teenager herself. I was *very* invested in liking this book. That being said... I'm not sure if I did. There's a lot of homophobic speech which, while true to character (dumbas ...more
Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
DNF at 42%.

Steve Brezenoff weaves a tale of two different kinds of gamers – Svetlana, a role-playing game master who likes to draw and create her own characters, and Lesh, a new online role-playing gamer, and their romance together.

This was a DNF for me - I just couldn't get into the voices of the characters or their interests. While I’m not a gamer myself, I do feel like I understand gaming and the obsession with fantasy worlds from my own love of books and watching The Guild (not the same, I
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction, realism
1) This is about 75 times more nerdy than you think its going to be.
2) I found the prose and pacing to be occasionally lacking.
3) This is the first YA romance I've read in ages that actually *felt* like my own teen romances - all, "argh, why did I say that in the cafeteria and now he/she's being weird" and the awkward meeting of parents and anxiety over whether your boyfriend likes you or if he just likes the way you look/sex/the idea of you.
4) Ultimately, this book went a lot of interesting pla
Larry H
I'd rate this 3.5 stars.

Lesh (his parents named him after Phil Lesh of The Grateful Dead) is a high school sophomore who listens to a lot of heavy metal music, wears black all the time, and pretty much wishes he could disappear. Svetlana, a senior, is an artist who makes a lot of her own clothes, listens to Bjork and classical music, and is the dungeon master of a role-playing game involving a group of her friends.

One late night the two meet cute when Lana literally knocks Lesh off his feet—she
An Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the author for review. Quotes pulled from the ARC may be incorrect and may be subject to change.

I've always bad trouble with contemporary coming-of-age stories. Ever since Catcher in the Rye reading in grade 9 English class, I knew those books weren't for me. I don't get the journey that they go through unless it's staring at me right in the face. This one is no exception. I was lost, confused and felt like there was no growth at all. Just a myriad of ever
Ashley DiNorcia
Mar 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-fiction
I really loved all the MMO references in this book as I'm a huge WoW player and while I didn't not like the story, it just didn't really stand out to me.

Unfortunately this book just didn't make me feel anything. I didn't connect with any of the characters and I feel like if I wasn't a gamer and didn't understand all of the references this book wouldn't have a leg to stand on.
Jul 25, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Idk. I found this to be perpetuating negative stereotypes about girls, male gamers, female gamers, and it's homophobic, and that kind of just made it overall gross.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book so much given the content but something about it just didn’t sit well with me.

Guy In Real Life is a contemporary standalone novel by Steve Brezenoff. It chronicles a few weeks in the lives of two Minnesotan teens, Lesh and Svetlana, a sophomore and a senior respectively. The book straddles several complicated thematic issues very well. I was most impressed by this.

However, I have a caveat before I get any further into this review - I had a few stutter stops reading this book. Frankly, I thought that I would have to put it aside. There is a large amount of homophobic, pejo
Jul 21, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dropped
This may come off as harsh, but this is my review, and my opinion. I think this book may be the worst that I have ever read. I tried my best to get through it, but 160 some-odd pages in, I have to put it down. I just can't read it any more. I usually roll my eyes when books are compared to the works of other pop-culture literary icons. I was not a fan of "Fangirl", for the same reasons that I am not a fan of this book. Just like Fangirl, the author of Guy in Real Life chose to include unnecessar ...more
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
Actual rating 3.5 stars.

Svetlana should live in another era. She loves embroidery, D&D, drawing, reading, and opera. She is the Dungeon Master of her High School's table top game club (barely holding onto its official status with five members) and sleeps in a tower (ok, really the attic of her house).

Lesh is a metal-head who gets sucked into playing a MMO game online after he is grounded for coming home drunk. This is the incident where he actually runs into Svetlana, knocking her off her bicycl
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So my 13-year old randomly picked this up at the library, read it in a few days, and recommended to me. I was quite nervous when in vetting the book, I read the numerous bad reviews here on Goodreads, however, this book is one of the best examples of sticking a book out to the end. Of the numerous bad reviews, many couldn't make it past the misogynistic, homophobic, sexist, tacky comments of some of the characters. But guess what? As my 13-year old daughter astutely pointed out - this is the way ...more
I wanted to like this book. The idea was interesting, the two worlds coming together seemed pretty cool.
I finished it because I forced myself to. Half way through the book, I still didn't feel a connection with the characters. On the contrary, Lana annoyed me. She was whiny and an ungrateful brat. Her dislike and attitude to her family made her sound like a stereotypes of highschool girls-which isn't true.
Lesh was kind of just there. He wasn't interesting to me. I guess it felt like he didn't ha
Liz Cee
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a quirky take on the usual high school, boy-meets-girl, opposites attract, attraction ensues, they keep this info to themselves, one of them screws up, will this break them up book.

The "guy" is a heavy-metal loving, on-line gaming, black wearing teen. The girl is a craft loving, dungeons and dragons playing, unique dressing, one-year-older teen. The 'screw-up' is something completely different than anything you've read before. The questions that arise from said screw-up are far reaching,
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel ended up completely surprising me. Before I started reading it, I assumed it would be your typical cheesy YA novel. However, Guy in Real Life definitely is not typical. I laughed more than I thought I would, and I genuinely hurt for the characters at times. I've never read a book in which some of the actual characters are characters in a video game, but I found myself wishing a couple times that more authors would follow in Brezenoff's footsteps and incorporate fictional characters in ...more
Wow. So I went into this book thinking I was going to read this charming little story about two gamer kids overcoming their differences and falling in love. And this is that book. Sort of. But it’s mostly so much more. It’s a complex, yet sweet and often humorous, examination of identities and gender roles. This is one of the most unique and affecting coming of age stories I’ve ever read.

Read my full review over at The Midnight Garden.
Anne Marie
Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad I stuck with this book. I learned a lot about gaming, on line and table role play -D and D. The characters are very real and I found myself connecting to both Lesh and Svetlana. It is well written with beautiful descriptions in just the right amounts. It seems to be written with high schoolers in mind but would be fine for many grade 8s.
dnf. The trope of "perfect, quirky girl, who doesn't curse and is never openly angry" is alive and well in this book...along with nearly every other tired, "I'm different" high school boilerplate character. Unless you want to read about fetishized girls, who *gasp* like gaming, I recommend you save yourself a trip to the library.
DNF at 40% but not because its bad, its pretty decent actually, but i never got in to role playing games and whatnot staff and therefore got lost in the lingo and the references more then a few times. not for me.
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My review of Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff, a young adult contemporary romance told from the dual perspective of a dungeons and dragons leading artsy girl and a computer game playing metalhead as they learn who they are by navigating their online and school spaces as well as each other, published by Balzer + Bray on May 27, 2014.


Your experience with Guy in Real Life, in my opinion, will depend on how
E.K. Johnston
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So GIRL came out last year, and I didn't read it because...I don't even know. I mean, I don't read a lot of contemp. For some reason (probably surgery and lack of time spent in the book store), I never got around to it. Then, when I was leaving Chapters, I bought the last hardcover just before the trade came out. I took it with me to The Woods in June, and...

Well, The Woods doesn't have wifi, as you know. I got about three chapters in, and thought to myself "I need to stop reading this until I a
This was such a fun, interesting, thought-provoking read, and definitely a departure from other contemp YA romances I've read! Lesh is a brand-new gamer, just discovering MMORPGs, and both the joy of online communities and the tempting ability to step into someone else's shoes for a while that come along with it. Meanwhile, Svetlana is a dungeon master, craftsman extraordinaire with crazy amounts of artistic talent and her own gaming community in the form of a school club that can't seem to get ...more
Provided by the Publisher via Edelweiss

Just so you know, it doesn't take a gamer to enjoy to this book, even the whole book itself revolves around role playing in various forms. I for one is not a gamer, but now the idea of playing Dungeons and Dragons seems very appealing.

Frankly speaking, at first I really, really, loved this book. It was so much different from most books I have read. I've always loved reading about characters with flaws and both Lesh and Lana were imperfect, yet perfect all
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Casual Readers: GUY IN REAL LIFE: Official Discussion 1 25 Aug 08, 2014 11:37AM  
Casual Readers: {NO SPOILERS} GUY IN REAL LIFE 7 28 Aug 06, 2014 12:45PM  

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Steve Brezenoff is the author of the young adult novels The Absolute Value of -1 and Brooklyn, Burning, and his third, Guy In Real Life, will be released in 2014. He has also written dozens of chapter books for younger readers. Though Steve grew up in a suburb on Long Island, he now lives with his wife and their son in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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“Poor boy. With a name like Atticus, every word he utters ought to be inspired and wise, spoken with a voice that compels all within earshot to sit up and listen. I wonder how disappointed Atticus’s parents must be. Such a noble and lofty name full of great expectations, and they end up with a heavyset boy with a prominent brow and underdeveloped frontal lobe who says “um” a lot and scratches himself in the cafeteria.” 2 likes
“Voilà,” she says, and not like your aunt says it either, unless your aunt is a sophisticated French actress from the 1960s whose breath makes you feel faint—in a good way. I’m not so sure I care at all that she’s better than me, as long as she keeps saying things in French.” 2 likes
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