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In Real Life

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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.

220 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 1, 2016

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About the author

Jessica Love

2 books202 followers

**Sign up for Jessica's e-mail newsletter for giveaways, bonus content, and other exclusive information! **

Jessica Love is a high school English teacher who lives in Southern California with her husband and their two tiny dogs. She's working on her Master's Degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Spalding University, and her big love is contemporary YA romance. Jessica spends all of her free money on concerts, constantly tries to prove that blondes have more fun, and is pretty much always on the internet.

IN REAL LIFE will be released from St. Martin's/Thomas Dunne on March 1, 2016. Co-written with Chelsie Hill from Sundance Channel's reality TV show Push Girls, Jessica's debut novel PUSH GIRL is available now.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 473 reviews
March 2, 2016
Warning: ragey rant against slut-shaming ahead.
“What about Frankie? I can’t do this to her. I shouldn’t have kissed you. I’m not that girl who—”
Bitch, please. You are.

This story is YA contemporary fluff about teenagers who make bad decisions. I'm not against this book because of the fact that the teens made bad decisions, I was a teenager once. I've made my share of idiotic choices about which I cringe upon reflection. I'm against this book because of:

1. Incredibly bad decisions. Yes, there is a difference between 19-year old me driving 80 miles to meet a (female) online friend (accompanied by my real life friend for safety) vs. 17 year old girls driving over 300 miles to LAS VEGAS to get drunk and then split to party with strange boys. I'm not trying to victim blame. I'm trying to beg the use of some common sense

2. The cheating

3. The slut-shaming

First, the good. Diversity. It's awesome that the characters are diverse! Hannah is Korean. Her best friend Lo is Mexican. Awesome. But people, DIVERSITY DOESN'T MAKE UP FOR EVERYTHING THAT'S WRONG WITH THIS BOOK.

The plot: Good-girl Hannah decides to sneak away to Vegas to meet her online best friend, Nick. Warning, spoilery stuff ahead if you should care to read this book.

*takes a deep breath*

Turns out online-friend Nick has a girlfriend. Said girlfriend has big boobs and looks flashy, therefore she barely counts as a human being. Therefore it's perfectly acceptable for Nick to cheat on her. To make mooney eyes at Hannah and for Hannah to return the favor and fall in love with Nick because his gf totally doesn't count, right?


This is a story about Hannah, therefore SHE IS THE GOOD GIRL. She is not. If this story were told in Frankie (Nick's gf)'s perspective, it would be a whole different tale, one of how Nick fucking cheated on her with a girl he knew online. Yeah, how do you like them apples? It takes two to tango, and Nick. Is. Taken. The fact that Hannah wants him and feels and is portrayed as more worthy doesn't change the fact that. They. Cheated.

Cheating is not forgiveable, but can be more sympathetically portrayed, if there is remorse. If the person knows what they did was wrong. If they felt like the scum of the earth, etc, I might have some sympathy for them. There is none such in this book.

Now the slut shaming. JUST BECAUSE A GIRL HAS BIG BOOBS DOESN'T MEAN SHE'S A BITCH. DOESN'T MEAN SHE'S A SLUT. My fucking god, are we in the Victorian age here? Desire is not a sin. Having an enviable body is not a crime. Just because a girl is beautiful and sexually attractive does not make her a slut. Why do authors continue to perpetrate these harmful stereotypes?

Hannah is so fucking resentful against Frankie for her big boobs. She repeats this hateful tirade throughout the book and I was sick of it. Listen to these examples.

And then a girl walks out from backstage. A tiny girl with red hair. Not ginger red, but red like a crayon, dyed herself, probably, in some sink or bathtub like Grace this morning. Tight jeans, a loose T-shirt—but not so loose that you can’t see her huge boobs—she looks the part of hipster or groupie or oh, I’m with the band girl.

"That’s his girlfriend. The chick with the red hair and the huge boobs."

I don’t need to have this girlfriend conversation with Nick in person. And certainly not with her standing right next to us, big boobs all in my face.

I don’t want to like her. I want to punch her in the face. I want to make her disappear so I never have to look at her funky style and big ol’ boobs ever again.

I could never pull off those shoes and that dress in public. Where did she get those boobs?

Frankie, to me, was not a bitch. She is a perfectly nice girl, she is extroverted, she is eager, she is affectionate towards everyone - even Hannah herself. But because she is inconveniently the object of Nick's affection, she is portrayed as the bad girl. Because she has large breasts, she is portrayed as the bad girl. That's not ok with me.
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
858 reviews3,759 followers
October 7, 2016
Um. So... I read this in one sitting.

I picked this up because it's about an online friendship, which is a subject I'm interested in since I have so many online friends and have even had online romances. The blurb sounded super predictable and typical, so I wasn't expecting much but this book really blew me away! It jumped right into the plot from the beginning, had an addictive reading quality, and off the charts romantic tension. Nothing truly mindblowing happens here, but it's a fantastic look into different types of friendships, features several POC main characters, and made me feel like I was really spending a weekend in Vegas with friends.

There are so many cliches used here, so I can see why it wouldn't be for everyone. But the fly-through-the-pages experience was one I've been lacking lately and I really needed it at this time. I was so disgustingly engaged in this story! There was one thing that bothered me (miscommunication) but I'm willing to forgive it because it's used for character growth and I remember being that way at times myself. So many other contemporary cliches were used here and done with purpose, or flipped on their heads with insightful discussion by the characters that I was just clapping as I read. I so badly wish I could dissect each of the cliches I felt it was tackling in the right way, but it would be so many spoilers!

I was definitely not expecting to have such a strong positive reaction to this book! I loved it!

I would recommend this if you:
-Like the show Catfish.
-Have had online friendships and/or romances and are interested in that subject being explored.
-Liked Anna and the French Kiss and/or The Selection. (Much closer to Anna in tone, but has the same addictive quality as The Selection. AKA, a fun book to fly through.)
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews19.3k followers
April 30, 2018
Welp. This was pretty terrible tbh. The only reason I finished it is because I pulled it from my TBR jar. What a letdown.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,471 reviews9,645 followers
February 15, 2016
MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List


I enjoyed this book. I will admit I wanted to smack people about a hundred times in the book, but that's normal. :-)

Nick and Hannah have been best friends forever! Nick calls Hannah, Ghost. I think that's a cool nickname, but it's because they have been best friends all of these years but it's been online, or txting, chatting, video message, you name it!

You can tell they both have feelings for each other but don't want to tell the other one. One of them gets drunk one night and tells the other how they feel. You know... that drunk thing.. tell all your secrets. Anyway! The other one thinks, oh they are just drunk talking and it's not real and I'm telling them I don't like them that way.

So, it's spring break and Hannah decides, I'm going to Las Vegas to see Nick. She tells her older sister Grace and her best friend Lo, they are very excited for this and since the sisters parents are out of town they just take off.


Oh, and Nick says he's in a band with his brother, but they find out that is not true. Hannah is stunned when the girls get there to surprise Nick at one of their gigs and he has a girlfriend. Yeah, he failed to mention to Hannah, who is his best friend, that he has had a girlfriend for 3 months and some other things she finds out he has lied about.

Well, Hannah's sister and best friend have a great time with boys from the band and such and sort of leave Hannah to fend for herself with Nick and his girlfriend Frankie. She is a nice person in the book though.

There are a lot of ups and downs in the book, people don't want to be real with each other, people act stupid with each other, but in the end it all comes together. And even though there are a lot of negative reviews I'm seeing on Goodreads, I'm glad I read it because we can't always think the same. I also like going into goofy teenage heads from time to time, I used to be one a million years ago. :)

So we do have a sort of happy ever after! Things seem to work out for a few people in the book.


*I would like to thank Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*
Profile Image for Anatea Oroz.
302 reviews515 followers
December 16, 2018
This review is also posted on my blog, Anatea's Bookshelf.

I was sold as soon as I read the words: never met, road trip & Vegas. Firstly, I love the books that feature any kind of not your usual romance. Be it forbidden, be it they've never met in real life or anything along those lines, I'll probably want to read it because I'll probably like it. Secondly, it has a road trip. I LOVE ROADTRIP BOOKS! I love traveling, so I'm always looking to read books that feature some cool places. Which lastly, brings me to Las Vegas. I love Vegas, or at least, the idea of Vegas - I've never actually been there. Immediately, this reminded me of The Secret Diamond Sisters, which was also set in Vegas. It described The Strip and all that Vegas glamour in so many details you had a feeling you are actually there. In Real Life didn't go so deep, but it also captured Vegas in all its glory.

Hannah, aka Ghost and Nick, are best friends for four years, but they have never actually met. They talk online or on the phone. Hannah sister and Nick's brother have met at a concert and had a great idea that their siblings should also be friends, so Hannah and Nick really did start talking, but they've never met in real life. They haven't really made any plans to meet in person. They did once, but those plans didn't go as planned. Until now, they have never spoken of it again. Nick is having his first big concert with the band, and since it's spring break and Hannah doesn't really have any plans except to chill at the pool, she, her sister and her best friend decide they will road trip to Vegas and surprise Nick at his concert. It is a great plan, but some things you cannot plan.

What I really loved about this book - except all those things I already mentioned at the beginning - is how real the relationship between Nick and Hannah really is. It's a popular topic these days, online love. What with Catfish and all. But the truth is, Hannah did trust Nick and she loved him, but there was always this little thing at the back of her mind. Is he telling the truth, can she trust him. And when they finally meet, it is done amazingly. All the little secrets are now out in the open, and they still have to learn how to behave with each other so close. They do know one other, but In Real Life is like a completely new dimension to them. Most of the little quirks and facial expressions are foreign to them, and now they have to learn how to process them.

I really liked both Hannah and Nick. Hannah is from a strict Korean family, and all she knew her whole life is study, obey her parents' wishes and be good. She never did something she thinks they would disapprove. Until the day, she decided to go see Nick. Even though she knew they were against it, she finally decided to live the life a little and do what she wants. There were times where she frustrated me to no end, like when she had to tell Nick about her feelings, but she never did. I wanted to strangle her, but then again, I understood why she behaved the way she did. She's used to safe, and telling him her feelings wasn't safe zone anymore and she was scared. But then again, I really like the way they ended up together. It was bumpy, there were lies, but in the end, it's what made it real.

To say I really liked this book would be an understatement. I freakin' LOVED IT! This you guys, is Catfish, but with a good ending. You definitely need to add this book to your 2016 TBR list. If you want to read an amazing contemporary novel, that is.

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Profile Image for Dana.
440 reviews290 followers
December 25, 2015

*Frantically hits the next page button on her kindle* What that's it? It's over? Nooooo, that ending! I need more, more I tell you! I loved this book so much. Anyone that's had an online friendship or romance will enjoy this book. It's so on point about what its like to have a connection with someone online and how that impacts your life. And of course everyone always harbors that fantasy of going on a road trip to surprise your online friend after months or years of communication.

Hannah's situation is pretty relatable and I liked her character a lot although her constant procrastination got Super frustrating near the end. I'm talking smack my kindle on my lap, look to the heavens and exclaim “oh come on!” frustrating. I think Hannah's indecisiveness could be a turn off for some people, and admittedly the novel could stand to be a bit shorter on that front. For me however, I was willing to forgive this annoyance for the simple pleasure of living out an old fantasy through the characters in the book. Light, fluffy(ish) read that I had a lot of fun reading. 4/5

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Buy (If you don't mind indecisive characters.)

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Psst! Check it out for yourself here
Profile Image for alexandra.
230 reviews1,505 followers
September 3, 2020

this book is SO CUTE and i actually reaaaaaaally enjoyed it considered i "only" gave it three stars. (i recently changed my rating system so three stars isn't considered "bad" anymore. but anyway..) my initial thought and conclusion on the novel: this book is like fan fiction. if you've read fanfic, YOU WILL KNOW WHAT I MEAN. if you haven't, i basically mean that the plot and storyline is so cliché but also very enjoyable and fun. it's a short novel so it's perfect if you're in a reading slump or just want something fun to read. (it also gave me lots of feeeels and i finished it in one night and it's so cute.)

the biggest issue i had was how FRUSTRATING the characters were. 90% of the time, they were fantastic; the other 10% made me want to strangle them. it seemed like the author wanted to make them realistically flawed – which is great! – but it got to the point where they were being a little irrational and annoying – specifically our main character, hannah. she can be so oblivious and annoying sometimes i just, i can't. i don't think i was really annoyed at her as a person, but more so at her choices. so technically, i like her character but sometimes the choices she makes are irrational and cause UNNECESSARY DRAMA. (it's book, so it makes it more interesting. BUT STILL.)

i found myself truly relating to the characters because 1/ i have a few internet friends as well, and also dream of meeting them one day (albeit my friendship is not like their friendship), 2/ i live in southern california and often visit las vegas, so i knew EXACTLY what they were talking about in terms of location and food, 3/ i could relate to some of hannah's internal struggle. this made the book much more enjoyable because i was actually visualizing them as real people with real experience than simply fictional characters. i also like how we had a diverse cast: hannah is korean, her best friend is mexican, etc.

overall, IN REAL LIFE did not disappoint. it was relatable, fun, and terribly adorable. although there were times that made it seem like it was overly dramatic, i think it was necessary to make it more entertaining. it's the perfect book if you want a short romance to get you out of a reading slump or book hangover.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 2 books202 followers
February 26, 2016
"Love's latest is a fun, fast-paced contemporary filled with so much heart and adorable characters. The romance between Nick and Hannah transports readers into the anxiety-ridden world of first love. There's more here, too, about growing up and taking a courageous leap into uncharted territory. Readers who enjoy sweet, slightly awkward heroes will love Nick." --RT Book Reviews

"[A] sweet story ideal for contemporary teens whose lives play out in similar computer-and-text-message-related ways." --Booklist

"Nevertheless, the story manages to find its heart when it focuses on Hannah and Nick's relationship. The warmth and intimacy of their friendship is convincing, and readers sighing over their long history will root for their relationship."
-- Kirkus Reviews

"Love expertly creates a timely and entertaining story set on the glamorous Vegas strip, complete with rock and roll, gambling, love, and drama. Readers will relate to the characters in this book and their effortless use of technology to support relationships."
​ --School Library Journal

"Readers are treated to a romp through what’s possible to do in one night when you are under age, albeit with a passable fake ID, in Las Vegas, so this is may be an enjoyable outing for fans of travel romances."
--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“A witty and entertaining story of friendship and secrets with a sparkly Vegas backdrop. Jessica Love knows love!” ―Kristin Rae, author of Wish You Were Italian

“A sweet, honest story that begins as so many of our relationships do: online.” ―Emery Lord, author of Open Road Summer


I had so much fun writing this book. I really hope you guys like it!

(If you want more info on this book, like bonus scenes, giveaways, special announcements, or any info on other books of mine, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter!)


It has all my favorite things...
Las Vegas, best friends, cute boys with glasses, music, and online friendship. Oh, and of course a little romance and maybe a little catfishing to keep things interesting.

Profile Image for sil ♡ the book voyagers.
1,066 reviews2,655 followers
February 16, 2016
I'm so pissed right now. I just want to rant and put my feeling out there but it's probably be super messy and in all caps. Which I don't want to because this is very important.

#1. SLUTSHAMING IS HORRIBLE. And I'm so disappointed that this book has it. I can't believe a YA book has this like a lot of it, to be quite honest. I'm so disgusted and I truly feel sad to see this in a book. Frankie is super nice and she never says anything awful (not an excuse either way) to Hannah. SO WHAT IF SHE HAS BIG BOOBS HUH? Does that make her someone you can hate? So what if she is Slutshaming has no excuses because a girl can have/act whatever the hell she wants and she shouldn't be judge by that? Are you seriously teaching young girls who read YA this? This message? I'm so unbelievable angry, I'm so sorry, but I am so hurt and done with this topic in books. Why must girls be degraded like this....

#2 I guess the only thing why I didn't put 1 star is because somehow I found a cuteness in Nick and Hannah's relationship. I was really rooting them from the start but when she got to Vegas and all the ^^^ things happened, I was done and I'm not gonna lie - I did skim the last chapters.

#3 Also her sister and Lo. I was slightly pissed as well they weren't there by her side. But Hannah was also only thinking about herself, I'd probably do the same. There wasn't a lot of cool girl friendships in this and everyone was on their thing pretty much.

#4 I didn't connect with the characters and they fell flat to me. It was a great plot idea - a cute online friendship of four years and suddenly they were going to meet in Vegas (!!!!) VEGAS I MEAN. - But everything went downhill for me.

#5 Hannah is Korean as well as her sister Grace. Lo is Mexican - which I enjoyed. I like WoC being the center of the book. I like this a lot. It's a shame I didn't like this book at all and they all went to waste.
Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
512 reviews298 followers
January 13, 2016
Fafa's Book Corner (Wordpress)
Fafa's Book Corner (Blogger)

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Netgalley and St. Martin's Griffin in exchange for an honest review.


When I saw this book on Netgalley I was hesitant. It didn't sound that interesting and I thought that I wasn't going to like it. I requested it because I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt. Sadly I didn't like this.

The book begins with Hannah who is on the phone with Nick. Hannah and Nick have been best friends for years. But they have never met. Hannah's sister Grace met Nick's brother at a concert. The siblings decide that Hannah and Nick should be friends. Thus starting their online friendship.

Hannah isn't happy when talking to Nick. She was supposed to go on this trip but because another student broke the rules Hannah is staying home and the student gets to go on the trip. Now she has no plans except for staying at home with her sister Grace and her best friend Lo dropping in every now and then.

After her phone conversation Lo joins Hannah and calls Grace out when she sees Hannah day dreaming. Lo and Grace agree that Hannah has a crush on Nick and they should spend the break visiting him. Hannah denies because their parents wouldn't approve and she follows the rules. Their parents are on some vacation for the week.

But after some thinking Hannah realizes that rules suck. Following the rules is what got her stuck at home. And feeling rebellious suggests that they should go and visit Nick. Just for one day.

I honestly found this to be silly. Something about the way it was written. It was odd how quickly Hannah changed her mind and it was annoying how many times she denied having feelings for Nick. It seemed rushed.

I know what it's like to have an online friend and day dream about the day you can meet them. And when you get the opportunity you clear your schedule and jump. I just didn't like how it was executed in this book. I think it was the writing style that really put me off. Thus I didn't continue.

Overall I did not enjoy this. I cannot bring myself to recommend this.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,030 reviews1,045 followers
March 4, 2020
This was so cute. It was a quick, funny, entertaining, and romantic read with a four-hour road trip from Orange County to Vegas. I don’t know why it took me this long to pick this up but In Real Life is an adorable YA romance where the best friends to lovers trope absolutely does not bother me. If anything, it makes perfect sense because Hannah and Nick have been best friends for four years albeit their relationship is purely online. But the details they’ve shared to each other, their secrets, dreams, passion, almost everything they knew about each other. It’s therefore not hard for them to fall.

It’s cliche-ish but it’s still cute that she’s this super pretty, stick-to-rules, goody-two-shoes Korean and he’s this awkward in real life with that all-American white guy good looks and she decides to get out of her comfort zone by surprising him in person as Hannah together with her sister Grace and her best friend Lo decide to embark on that road trip to Vegas on spring break.
The actual plot happens in mostly just a few hours over a single day and it makes everything all the more fun, risky, and adventurous.

The writing is indeed witty with silly, funny metaphors I enjoyed very much. This is definitely recommended for anyone looking for a light YA contemporary read.
Profile Image for Jaime Arkin.
1,422 reviews1,326 followers
February 27, 2016
I was only going to read a couple chapters ... But here I am two hours later, turning the last page and grinning like a fool. I have a serious crush on Nick Cooper and each of you needs to read this one asap!

Full Review Added 2.23.16

I may have just pointed you in the direction of your next favorite book… I say that because it quickly became one of mine!

I love the idea of a friendship and relationship that is built solely on knowing each other virtually and this book hit it out of the ballpark.

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper are best friends, they talk sometimes more than once a day, they skype they text, they call… they have inside jokes and know practically every single thing there is to know about each other… except they have never met in person.

They’ve built this amazing friendship, but have never been able to hug each other or create a wacky handshake because she lives in California and he lives in Las Vegas. But then Hannah decides that she’s not going to spend her spring break hanging out at her backyard pool … she’s going to surprise Nick and finally come clean with all her feelings by showing up in Vegas right before his band performs. Of course, you know how these things go… Hannah showing up goes from surprise to shock and they realize there are some things between the two of them that aren’t quite what they both thought they were. Now Hannah is questioning if she really kn0ws Nick at all.

I sped through this book because I was so entranced with the circumstances that Love had created and the characters were just so captivating. The friendships between Hannah and her sister Grace, and her best friend Lo were so well done. I loved that they were so supportive of each other, but I also loved that their friendship was realistically portrayed… these girls were in Vegas, there was no way they were going to focus solely on Hannah’s issues as much as it irritated me that they weren’t there for her constantly. Plus it really helped show the growth and self-realization that Hannah’s had to go through to get her to a good place.

The romance here is absolutely sweet you guys. This book also incorporates one of my favorite tropes… friends to more. These two fight the good fight, I’m not going to sugar coat it. You will spend most of the book just waiting for the kissing, but it’s all so very worth it when they finally get all the stars to align and work through all the misunderstandings. And there are absolutely misunderstandings that you’ll shake your head and want to yell at these two to just sit down and talk about it already, but since when do teens communicate well? So it all worked for me and made perfect sense even if it was a bit frustrating.

If you’re looking for a fun, sweet, quick read (I read this in less than a day!)… look no further. You need to grab this one and be prepared to absolutely love it! After this, I can’t wait to read whatever Jessica Love writes next!

Profile Image for Summer.
202 reviews122 followers
July 19, 2017
4 Stars, Completed February 28, 2016

My best friend and I have never met.
We talk every day, on the phone or online, and he knows more about me than anyone. Like, deep into my soul. But we’ve never actually seen each other in real life.

This is the type of book that makes me wish I didn't use a rating system with definitive stars. In Real Life can be a 3 star read for its noticeable flaws, yet it hits the spot so perfectly that it easily has become one of my favorite contemporary reads of all time.  So it looks like this review will be a battle between choosing to be the objective or subjective reviewer.

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends ever since Hannah's older sister met Nick's older brother at a concert. They talk everyday, give each other presents, and share everything. But they've actually never met. Hannah, being the model student and daughter, has never done anything she's not supposed to do. After some frustrating news she receives, she decides to take an impulsive trip to Las Vegas to break some rules and surprise Nick-and, perhaps, figure out what Nick truly means to her. But the plan utterly backfires when it appears Nick has been keeping secrets. Hannah begins to think maybe their online relationship was too good to be true.

I love internet friendships/relationships because I've had a fair share of them myself. I went to a considerably large public high school and there was no way anyone was able to know everyone. Therefore a lot of my high school friendships actually began online before I'd meet them in person-I know it sounds strange but its true. In fact, some of my closest friends from high school resulted from first chatting online. Of course, blogging (both my Tumblr for Exo and Wordpress for books) has led me to a lot of online bonding with people I've never met in real life as well.

It's also no surprise that I'm part of the majority that adored Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda last year for the cute online relationship between Simon and mysterious Blue. I enjoyed Everything, Everything  because of the vignettes with Madeline and Olly's chat room messages. And, probably like every other '90s kid that was obsessed with Hilary Duff, I was a enchanted by the swoonworthy romance in  A Cinderella Story , a Cinderella retelling also set in high school and features an online best friends friendship budding into something more.

The development of best friends into something more may be my absolute favorite romance trope because it's the most realistic fictional romance to me. The fact that this was yet another online one made me extra giddy.

I could also really connect with Hannah, our protagonist. Hannah is the quintessential socially awkward, do-gooder Asian girl. She's academically driven, pleases her parents, and has never tried anything that wasn't expected of her. But we also have her older sister Grace that portrays the more easygoing, YOLO type of Asian girl, and I found this to be refreshing and just as realistic. And I absolutely fell in love with Nick. It was sort of hard not to. He's attentive towards Hannah, awkward, charming, and funny, but he's not perfect. As for the rest of the supporting cast, I wasn't much invested with their appearances and found that they played weaker roles. Though, I did like that one of the characters was a blogger.

And speaking of that character, I noticed that a reviewer mentioned there was slutshaming in this book and that the blogger character was the target. I'm not denying the other reviewer's opinion, but, for me, I really did not interpret the situation the reviewer referred to as slutshaming. Sure, Hannah had moments where I wanted to smack her for her naivety and unpleasantries towards Nick's friends, but she wasn't bashing or ridiculing another character for being robust. If anything, I think Hannah was jealous of that other girl for her figure and other obvious reasons if you've read the book. And being envious of something means you respect and admire that trait. I mean, Hannah even confesses she likes the girl against her better judgement, again, for obvious reasons I shall not disclose because of spoilers. I just wanted to address this in case any of you are having qualms with picking up the book for that reason.

However, I have to to admit that In Real Life is an overly cliché, predictable teenage love story. There are lots of unnecessary drama and moments of irrational teenage angst. And some of the characters are vexing. This book isn't a life changing contemporary with values that'll keep you awake at night. And, admittedly, it may be a formulaic story that has been recreated many times in young adult literature.

BUT, but it's a story so entertaining that I know I'll have to revisit time and time again for the fun adventure. After practically being destroyed by A Little Life I wasn't sure if I'd be able to see young adult books the same way again (hence why I read three works written for a more mature, adult audience after that one). And I certainly thought I'd fall into a slump, but I have to say this book managed to save myself from such a state. In Real Life was sweet, fluffy, and had all the right elements to make me swoon. 


Special thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin for providing me this review copy of In Real Life and giving me a chance to participate in this blog tour. In no way did this affect my reading experience or honest review.


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Profile Image for Lala BooksandLala.
500 reviews62.1k followers
August 11, 2016
In Real Life was a cute story, but not memorable in any way. I may be suffering from a "10 years too old to read this book" issue, however I HAVE read some YA contemporary recently that I feel transcends age, and even as an old fogey, at the age of 25, I have been able to appreciate.

The story of two online friends finally meeting in person is definitely not a new idea, but this novel also failed to bring anything new to the table to make it interesting. It had cliche after cliche, from one person in the duo appearing to have stronger feelings than the other but not being able to tell the other, to the secret significant other, and the faking your online personality to impress the other person, plus the guy with a total heart of gold and barely a personality. Kind of a yawn. Not gonna lie, I read this book a week ago and already can't remember the love interest's name.

I started out really liking our main female character "Ghost", but then she got on my nerves more and more as I read. The naivety that seems to plague these YA contemporary girls is not something I've ever been able to relate to - there's a guy who clearly has a thing for you, has TOLD you he has a thing for you, has physically come onto you, but "omigosh like, I can't tell him I like him because he obviously could never like me back, right?" It's just so unrealistic. The back and forth of her deciding if she liked him, and if he liked her was excessive for how short this book was, and I hated how she never had a real answer to WHY she was hiding her feelings for him all this time. All of Ghost's friends knew she was into him, but she couldn't admit it to herself, and I could never figure out if she truly didn't recognize her feelings for him all that time, or if she was just hiding those feelings...I never got a clear answer as to WHY.

The characters were all just okay, their personalities developed enough to feel satisfied..but I found myself wanting MORE. I was craving more backstories and more side stories - I was far more interested in the side characters and wanting to hear about their lives. I enjoyed the friendships a lot, but again wanted MORE dialogue there.

All in all, the characters seemed about 3-5 years younger than they were supposed to be. The drama felt very juvenile, and you could have cut out 150 pages if they would have just COMMUNICATED. I understand that in that case, then there would be no real story because the drama and arc is necessary to create a fully developed story, but here's an idea of what to do with those 150 pages: have the characters get together earlier and let the readers APPRECIATE the relationship. The ending of this was so abrupt, and I got no time to appreciate the couple as a couple. Why am I reading hundreds of pages, rooting for these people get together, if I'm going to get no return on my time investment? You made me care, and then gave me nothing to relish in.
Profile Image for Isabella.
558 reviews13.9k followers
September 27, 2021
In Real Life is like the book I never knew was missing from my life until I had it. Never knew I needed until I read it and fell in love with all of the characters, NICK IN PARTICULAR.


Profile Image for The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori).
1,173 reviews1,308 followers
March 13, 2021
Full Review on The Candid Cover

In Real Life really had the potential to be a 5 star read. It has a very unique concept and a setting that is described so perfectly that the reader can’t help but wish that they were in the story. However, I found the main character to be ungrateful and rude, which really put me off.

In Real Life has a super creative concept that I’ve never seen mentioned in YA: Internet friends. This book tells the story of Hannah and Nick, two friends who actually met online. They have never met in real life. I found this to be interesting because it is so different from every other book. It’s really refreshing being able to change things up a bit.

I adored the Vegas setting in In Real Life. Jessica Love describes all the attractions and city life so well that I really wanted to visit Vegas while reading. I feel like this is the perfect setting for the book because I sort of associate Vegas with drama, and boy is there drama in In Real Life. Having never been to Vegas before, I’m not sure about the accuracy of details, but I sure enjoyed reading about it!

The one thing that really bothered me in this book was the main character, Hannah. I found her to be really ungrateful and whiny throughout the whole book, which I never like to see in a book. The main event in the story is the characters road tripping to Vegas to meet Hannah’s online friend. I do understand that Hannah is the reason for the trip, but it definitely wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for her sister, and the trip was also supposed to be for the whole group. Hannah feels like the trip is all about her and is actually really rude to her friends for not “supporting her” when they are out having fun. I really didn’t like this trait, and also couldn’t really relate to Hannah, so this book ended up not being as enjoyable as I had hoped it would be.

In Real Life is a unique story about online friends. There is a fun Vegas setting that is also ideal for the book. Despite the originality, I didn’t enjoy the main character’s personality, which affected my experience reading. I would, however, still recommend this book to those who are fine with a lot of drama.
Profile Image for gio.
1,020 reviews386 followers
November 6, 2015
*I received an ebook copy of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.


"My best friend and I have never met. We talk every day, on the phone or online, and he knows more about me than anyone. Like, deep into my soul. But we’ve never actually seen each other in real life."

I always have some problems with this genre. However this book has some elements that I did enjoy and in which I could see something of myself in a way. I have friends online. I have friends here. Real friends.
People that I love talking to, people that tolerate me every day ecc.
So, in a way, it was easier to empathize with the main character. I got how she felt: she feared that meeting in real life would ruin everything. And I got it, because I felt the same thing too. Sure, it wasn't a boy I was in love with but...eh, it's not that different.

Why not 4 stars then? Easy: too much drama. Most of the problems could have been solved with a simple thing: communication. This lack of communication bothered me, which is the reason why In real life gets just 3 stars. But really, it was a nice, fun read. Cute but interesting too.
March 1, 2016
Click on the banner to read my review on my blog.

In Real Life was so freaking cute! It will take you back to the time when you experienced your first love. You know, when you were a ball of nerves and wanted to know if the other person liked you as much as you liked them? Well imagine that scenario but the other person is your best friend in the whole wide world and you've never met him/her before. That's the situation poor Hannah is in.

Nick and Hannah are two best friends who've never met but talk online and on the phone nearly everyday. After four years, both have started to develop feelings for the other, but are afraid to admit it and ruin their friendship. Despite living only 300 miles away, they've never met face-to-face. Though both know just about everything about each other. Or so they think. As someone who's always walked on the straight and narrow, her friend and sister think she's crazy when she suggests driving to Vegas on the fly to finally meet her Nick.

As I read this book I kept thinking that this book reminded me of a much tamer version of the movie Hangover. Lo and behold that's what the publisher is marking it as—"My Best Friend's Wedding meets The Hangover." Perfect comparison! Though, the characters in this book don't really go on a wild and crazy Vegas tirade like the men in that movie, but for straight-laced Hannah what she does do is pretty out there for her.
If he's kissing someone who isn't me, I should be kissing someone who isn't him. It's only fair.

You guys know that I really love beta males—the ones who are kind of quiet, super sweet, and tend to be on the sensitive side. Nick is totally that guy! But he has his flaws. He sort of lied to Hannah about a few things, but I liked that the author gave him some cracks. Otherwise, he would be perfect and no one likes plastic characters.

As I read, I felt the indecision, the anxiety, and the "how do I handle this" feelings that Hannah had upon meeting Nick. When she got to Vegas, things didn't exactly goes as she'd planned. And my heart went out to her. The moments between her and Nick were filled with awesome teenage angst. I ate it up.
They have created this impossible distance neither of us can cross. I'm not sure what to do. Or what I want to do. Can I still be friends with him?
Do I still want to be?

Tied into this story is also a coming-of-age story. Hannah has always been one to follow the rules. She doesn't do anything without forethought. This trip to Vegas was her way of breaking the rules and breaking out of shell she's lived in. She learns to take a leap into the scary unknown and I really liked her story arc.

One thing that I had to overlook in order to enjoy the book as much as I did is the author's explanation for why Nick and Hannah had never met. I had a hard time believing that Hannah's mom was the reason why Nick and Hannah had never met in the middle. One would think after four years of daily conversations the teens' parents would have chatted a bit, arranged something, and agreed to meet up.

I would recommend this book to you if you really liked Lola and the Boy Next Door . I kind of got Lola/Cricket vibes when I was reading this book. The writing and dialogue definitely lends itself to a younger audience, but as someone outside the intended audience, I still enjoyed it. In Real Life was a pleasant surprise and I would totally read it again!

4 stars

In Real Life by Jessica Love

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Profile Image for Jessica *The Lovely Books*.
1,219 reviews620 followers
March 1, 2016
"Some people have a love story
But we have a ghost story
You haunt my every space
I see nothing but your face"

This is one of those times when I'm actually surprised with how much I like a book after I've finished reading it. The synopsis truly doesn't give it any justice. So if you're reading this review, don't go by what the blurb says, don't even really go by what I say! You'll have to dive into the story to see how truly cute and heartwarming In Real Life is. I loved the aspect of two teenagers having an online relationship, even though they've never met in real life, so to speak.

I think the author did a great job in making this as realistic as it can get in terms of finally meeting an online friend. Do they measure up to what you conjured up in your head? Are they different? Awkward? I liked that we got to see Hannah struggle through her feelings as she tries to compare online Nick to the real life and in the flesh Nick. The two have been best friends since meeting online through their siblings, who had just met at the time. It starts a relationship of online chatting, texts, emails, and video chats.

"This isn’t going to be a friend meeting a friend for the first time. Oh no, this is going to be love at first in-real-life sight."

But Nick has been keeping a secret or two. And the moment that Hannah decides to let her hair down and tell Nick how she feels, well, let's just say that nothing goes as planned. Set in Sin City, we're taking on an sweet and sometimes angsty ride, as the two online best friends work out what their friendship means. Oh and I kind of forgot to mention even though this takes place in Las Vegas, Hannah actually resides in Cali.

"I like this,” he says, still looking right in my eyes. Still smiling.
“You. In real life.”

Let me get all fan girl on you now. I ADORED this book so hard. Like I want to read it again and again because the two main characters are so adorkably cute. I like led the simplicity of the writing, the plot, and of course the romance. My only problem was the ending. I felt it was abrupt and there were some things I wanted explained. I wouldn't say the story is left open ended but yeah I feel like there's so much openness to it.

I think if you're a fan of contemporary and a fan of YA in general, then this will be a no brainer when deciding on your next read. Even if these aren't your normal genres, I think the story speaks well for itself and you'll enjoy it anyways. It's about not taking life too seriously and living in the moment. Not to be cliché but life is too short, rules are so meant to be broken! Let loose and ride a rollercoaster or kiss a stranger... Whatever floats your boat!

"Remember. It’s possible for life to be scary and fun at the same time. The scariness is the fun.”

*Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Profile Image for cc.
425 reviews165 followers
June 23, 2016
***Mild spoilers ahead***

In Real Life had a lot of potential, I love the whole idea of “two people become best friends online and eventually fall in love without ever meeting in person”, it’s the new millennium love story but with a touch of classic romance to it, like two lovers who live far, far away from each other and only have their letters to each other to keep their romance going.

So, why didn’t this book work for me? Well, first of all, I could never relate to the main character, Hannah, I felt like she was always whining about something to someone or to herself, which means that she got on my nerves pretty early on.

Next thing that bothered me, and this was not just regarding Hannah, but also Grace, her slightly older sister, and Lo, the hometown best friend, was their totally reckless, risky, seriously stupid behavior, I mean, these three girls drive all the way to Las Vegas so Hannah can finally meet Nick, the online best-friend-possibly-more-than-that, and once they get there and things don’t go exactly like Hannah was hoping, the sister and the best friend basically ditch her to hook up with strange boys. In Las Vegas. While Hannah is upset and heartbroken, and at some point even drunk for the first time ever. Her sister and best friend totally forget about her and let her roam about the city, the casinos, hotels and shady rooms with strange guys. A teenager. Drunk. Honestly, I read the entire Las Vegas part of the book in a deep state of unease and horror.

I honestly don’t want to give anything major away, and I swear I’m trying my best not to reveal Nick’s secrets and why Hannah gets so upset and heartbroken (although you can probably guess), but I have to say this, so please bear with me, or please stop reading if you fear spoilers: the way both of them behave when they finally get some alone time is NOT okay. It was shameful, really. Both Hannah and Nick’s behavior: shameful. Lowkey or not, cheating is NOT okay. Flirting/actively seeking out alone time with someone who’s in a relationship because you think “he/she was mine first” is NOT okay. Even if you love this other person, you don’t do that to your girlfriend/boyfriend or to some else’s girlfriend/boyfriend. Nothing about this was cute or romantic---it was sh*tty. I’m sorry but I call it as I see it.

Also, what’s up with all these kids parents? The entire book: not even one lousy phone call.

The ending felt too forced for me, like everything and everyone was running out of time. Also, that last Nick-and-the-band big secret wasn't the least bit surprising because it was kind of obvious and I guessed it in the first couple of chapters.

In conclusion, can’t recommend this one based on the plethora of things that bothered me about this story and these characters---there was honestly nothing in it or about them that I could relate to. I basically spent the entire book shaking my head at the wrongness of it all: the silly and careless behavior, the many annoying misunderstandings and lies, the NOT OKAY romance. Read at your own risk.

(I received an eARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)
Profile Image for Dianne.
320 reviews154 followers
March 8, 2016
*Also posted at Oops! I Read A Book Again*

Are you in a hurry? No time to read a probably incoherent and spazzy review from me? Then, just this. IN REAL LIFE was blurbed by Emery Lord, the goddess that brought us Matt Finch from Open Road Summer and Max Watson from The Start of Me and You as far as book boyfriends go. Emery Lord, the goddess that brought us such awesome female friendships in both books. I think that speaks volumes on who's gonna love this book right from the get-go (everybody! because we all love Emery Lord's books, right?!) and how amazing it is. SO GO READ THIS ONE NOW AND MELT INTO A PUDDLE OF GOO ON THE FLOOR AND GET DIZZY NODDING YOUR HEAD YES TO ALL THE ONLINE-IRL WISDOM.

But if you want to read about me squealing, then let's get right to that!

First, props to diversity! Hannah, the main character, is Korean (so her sister Grace as well) and her best friend Lo is Mexican. YAY! But aside from the diversity, I love all the characters. And I mean, ALL. There is no villain in here because everyone is dimensional and lovely and kind. This is more of an internal conflict novel, where Hannah has to grow and push herself to do something to get what she wants. To admit to herself what she wants. WHICH IS THE BEST KIND, IN MY OPINION, AS FAR AS CONTEMPORARY NOVELS GO. We witness so much character growth in Hannah that I came out of this novel so proud and beaming for her.

Hannah was this control freak who didn't actually takes control of her life. She'd get irritated when things get out of her control but then she just lets people decide for her for hard decisions and then when everything falls to shit, she runs. OH, HOW MUCH DO I RELATE TO THIS. I'm an escapist and I run from things and I could so relate to this attribute of Hannah. Some people might be frustrated with some of her actions in the novel but I never felt any of that because that's what I'd do too if I was in her shoes. Run and run and run. Blame others. Have a pity party. This is me. So reading about Hannah getting over her fears of being wrong and being rejected was a different thing to me altogether. I felt like: I CAN ALSO CHANGE AND DO THIS. I can be my own Hannah. I can stop running and start taking charge of my life. So to say that this was a personal read is an accurate description of In Real Life for me. And that's only the first part.

The second thing I relate to the most is the online vs IRL relationships shown here in the novel. I love my IRL friends but I also have online best friends that I love and cling to and need in my life. My IRL friends told me that they think what I'm doing, which is compartmentalizing my life, is hard. Especially when I only have one Instagram account but then, that's not the topic here. But I like it that way. I don't like IRL people to know I blog not because I'm ashamed of it but because I like that I can be free on my blog and be ~myself~ and no IRL people judging me. IRL people know me differently and we might say that my online friends know me better than them. But we know that's not exactly true too because my online friends don't know everything about me IRL. It's always gonna be a different side of me you'll see and that's how it's gonna be always because I'm a Scorpio. Ha! Anyway, in here, Hannah has an in-real-life best friend in Lo and an online best friend in Nick. And I just nodded so many times and agreed at how well Jessica Love dissected both IRL and online relationships.

Lastly, and probably the part where I'll get the most incoherent of all, is the romance. HELLO, NICK COOPER, WHERE CAN I GET ONE OF YOU? He's so sweet and just, he's so perfect for Hannah. And Hannah for him. I'm just a puddle of melted goo with these two and that ending?!?!?! HELLO, KIDS, MWAHAHA I am enjoying here. Okay, that sounded creepy. Anyway, Nick just gets Hannah and Hannah gets Nick and they're just so adorable and lovable and while I wish there were more kissing and physicality to it (HAHAHA), I'll just imagine they lived happily ever after doing sexy stuff in the future. OMG I AM BLUSHING. Nick and Hannah have such an amazing friendship too (lies aside because they were because of feelings like love but not admitting it), I just had heart eyes all the time.

So apparently, that wasn't the last thing I loved about this novel. DUH. It couldn't be just three. Anyway, I already mentioned how I love all the characters, right? But I didn't mention yet the relationships among these characters. In Real Life features so much positive female friendships that I was all GO GIRLS. Not to say that Hannah, Grace, and Lo didn't have their own fights but the thing is, they fix it. It just shows such a beautiful and fun picture of sisterhood (Hannah and Grace) and friendship (Hannah and Lo) and even new friendship with a person who we expect you to hate (Hannah and Frankie). I seriously dug how Hannah wants to hate Frankie so much but Frankie is like the nicest person EVER so she can't because she knows there's no reason to hate her. How mature is that, okay?

In Real Life has put itself in the list of my favorite contemporary romances of ever, with its amazing characters, shippy ship, omg-I-so-can-relate-to-everything, and omg-yes-yes-yes all around it shows. I will be reading anything by Jessica Love from now on and I think it's time to get to her backlist, Push Girl, which has a main character with a disability. And if In Real Life is any indication, Jessica Love writes with such honesty, packaged in a very readable book. I highly recommend In Real Life to all contemporary romance lovers. THIS ONE YOU HAVE TO READ!
Profile Image for Tine’s Reviews.
157 reviews6 followers
February 25, 2016
(Source: Thanks Net Galley and St. Martins Griffins. This will not affect my reviews.)

While writing this review, I’m listening to “One Call Away by Charlie Puth” and this song is perfect for this story. Because the story is about Nick and Hannah and they’re BFF’s since when their brother and sister met on bar. They’re BFF’s for about 4 years online and they haven’t met each other. Though, they planned to meet but something happened. So when Hannah wanted to surprise Nick, Grace (her sister) and Lo (her bestfriend in real life) joined with her.

I admit I really loved the first part because they’re best friends online and one of them fall in love and that’s really exciting. But as the story goes on, I was annoyed and frustrated to Hannah and Nick. Though part of me ached when Hannah found out something on Nick, it feels like she’s been catfish. Not really catfish, but Nick didn’t tell the truth about himself.
“That person on the phone, that’s the real me. That’s the me I am deep inside, that I can’t always manage to be in real life. I have a hard time with people sometimes, but never with you. You’re the only person who sees that version of me. The only one.”

Yeah. I get it. But why does he need to hide the truth about himself to Hannah especially when they’re best friends for 4 years. Nick is introvert and reserve, that’s what I like about him because
I’m like that BUT he’s a liar and a not true to himself. While Hannah is a good student and daughter. She always follows the rules of her parents and she’s completely different to her sister BUT she’s whining about how her day ended and she thinks that this trip is all about her.

I tried to DNF-ing this book but I still give it a try to finish because I thought whether they have a happily-ever-after. But before I went through that I suffered from the attitudes of the people here.

I expect too much from this book but I got disappointed. Maybe because this book is not for me, and I dislike person who’s like Hannah and Nick. I don’t recommend this book to everyone but if you want to read it, go on!

The idea of having a friend/s online is great especially when in our real life is completely different from us. Sometimes we hide our true identity online and in real life and one thing I’ve learned from this is don’t miss the chances and speak for yourself.
Profile Image for Andi (Andi's ABCs).
1,546 reviews189 followers
July 29, 2016
This review was originally posted on Andi's ABCs
I admit after reading 8% of In Real Life I was not all that excited about it. I was told by Gail that I would love it but I wasn't all that into it. I started it on a Friday and didn't pick it up again until the following Tuesday and I dreaded doing it. Well that Tuesday? I read the other 92% and Gail was right ( hate giving her reasons to gloat), I did love it. It gave me so many feels and once I really got into it I couldn't stop until I knew if Nick and Hannah would or wouldn't.

Truth...when I'm told I will love a book because it is Anna and the French Kiss-like, I tend to not want to read the book. I mean you can't really touch my love of Anna in the contemporary world. But In Real Life really was Anna-like. It had an "Eiffel Tower" type scene, it had the maybe best friends to more, it had a girl out of her comfort zone, it even had a height situation. It had all the things I loved about Anna but with different characters in different settings. Truly there was no way I was not loving this book.

I guess what I loved the most about In Real Life (besides the friends to more troupe and the Vegas setting) was the characters. They really brought life to the story. When I first started I though Hannah was very immature, but as I read more I realized she was just scared to do something against the normal. She was scared to be crazy and out of control so she lived by rules and strict-ish parents. She ran away from problems and trouble. So now, she wasn't immature, she was just scared to want something else out of life like many of us are. And Hannah and Nick? They were a thing of beauty. They had that awkward teen thing down perfectly not to mention the meeting someone you've talked to for years for the first time. I seriously just loved them. And I loved everything that was included in their story as well.

In the end this book was pretty amazing! Was it perfect like I think Anna and the French Kiss is? Nope. But it was darn near close. I really did love just about everything about it and I can say with 100% certainty if you are an Anna fan, you will too!
Profile Image for Ollie.
5 reviews3 followers
December 6, 2016
This book is amazing! I couldn't put it down. It opens with a girl named Hannah, and she and this guy have been talking online for 4 years, but they have never met. Hannah decides to go surprise him by going to see his rock concert. Of course she would have never expected what kind of adventure she was getting into. She has to get a fake ID, she has to lie to her parents as well as a security guard and she doesn't even have a clue about what is going on behind the scenes of her online guy. If you like suspense and romance, then I recommend this book to you.
Profile Image for Rubi.
362 reviews82 followers
February 1, 2016
**I was sent this ARC from St. Martin's Press through NetGalley in return of an honest review.**

My first thought when I read this synopsis was "OMG... CATFISH!!!" I had to know what Nick's big secret was. Is Nick really a girl? Does he look totally different from what Hannah thinks he's supposed to? Is he older and married?! Etc. A million possibilities crossed my mind and I just had to know!

In Real Life is a super cutesy read about a millennial love story of two people, Hannah and Nick, who were matched up to be friends by their siblings. Hannah's sister and Nick's brother met at a concert, hit it off, and both felt their siblings would hit it off as well. For four years now Hannah and Nick have built a super solid friendship filled with tons of inside jokes and real support for one another. Only problem is they've never met. She lives in Orange County and he lives in Las Vegas. Hannah is one to always abide by the rules, but it only takes a little bad influence from her hometown bff Lo and her rebellious sister Grace to embark on a roadtrip to Sin City and surprise Nick!

One of my favorite things about this story is the super diverse characters! We have Hannah and Grace who are Korean, Nick who's white, and Lo representing Mexicans. A little bit of everything! Hannah plays the more common role of super smart, senior class president, abides by the rules Korean while Grace is the boy crazy black sheep. I loved that Jessica Love didn't follow any script and really made this story her own.

I've got two things to say about Nick that made me really dig his character: His profile picture was the House of Stark logo (#WinterIsComing #TheNorthRemembers) and he went to a super fancy restaurant and ordered tacos. LOL My kind of man!

Although this story is aimed for a younger age group, I could at times relate to some of the characters. Hannah and I are both over thinkers and I found it hilarious how things as simple as someone being an hour late would make her instantly think they must have been kidnapped! I'm not proud of this, but an overactive worrisome imagination is something I suffer from at times. Lol They couldn't have possibly just ran late; they were obviously in a car accident on their way home and what if the person they crashed with got so angry that they kidnapped them and now have them tied up in their basement!! Haha I shit you not, this really goes through my mind. All in a span of 10 seconds. Those kind of moments when an author writes about something you can really relate to helps you bond with their book in a special way.

There were two major things that really put a damper on the story for me. The first was how bratty and whinny Hannah could be at times. We get it. This is a roadtrip that would not have happened if it wasn't for you, but bring it down a few notches. I understand that her character is young so I cut her a lot of slack for that, but she really pushed it at times. The second thing I disliked were some of the things done about Nick's big surprise. I'm keeping this totally spoiler free, so I can't go into details, but once you read the story you'll know exactly what I mean. I just wasn't okay with how things went down and I wish they would've been handled better.

All in all, this is a really quick read with a youthful feel. I've heard before that reading is a cheap way to travel and this book nails it in that department! Jessica Love does such a great job with description and will have you feeling like you're in Vegas yourself!
Profile Image for Tika .
149 reviews119 followers
March 10, 2016
The beauty of not reading a book's synopsis is that you have absolutely NO clue what you're getting yourself into. It's almost as if you're going in completely blind -- left to discover the plot and whatever else the author has laid out for you on your own. I went in knowing next to nothing about In Real Life, and I was quite pleased to find out the concept surrounds one of my favorite things, road trips! So our MC hits the road to visit her best friend, a boy she's known online for 4 years. It should've been exciting, I mean it was exciting . .

so how come I'm not feeling all that impressed?

Hey, hey
You, you
I don't like your girlfriend
No way, no way
I think you need a new one

If you don't know this song, you've lost major cool points. Okay?

Anywho, if I had to create a playlist that would paint the perfect picture of what this book was about, Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend would be the only song playing. While I was hoping In Real Life was going to be more about the road trip, (which didn't even feel like a road trip, sad face) self-discovery, young dopey love, and all of that good YA jazz, it actually ended up revolving around one thing: the-big-boobed-redhaired-vegassocialite-bloggerextraordinaire-girlfriend. Okay, let me rewind just a bit.

Do Less Telling And More Showing.
Hannah is a straight A student. Hannah doesn't break rules. Hannah does the right thing. Hannah isn't that girl. Well isn't Hannah a freaking peach? (Sarcasm people) If there was anything we got out of our main character, it's that she does everything by the book. She's never broken a rule or disappointed her parents, but when the parentals go out of town, leaving her to spend the spring break with her rebellious older sis and bestie, an opportunity arises for her to finally see her online boo best friend Nick, and surprisingly she runs for it. One of my favorite aspects of this story was Hannah's and Nick's friendship. Since he lives in Vegas, (which is 4 hours from her residence in Orange County) they've never seen each other in person, causing them to rely on phone calls, texts, video chatting, you know that sort of thing. I can definitely relate to this. Through blogging, I've met some amazing girls and a few boys, and because we all live in different states, countries even, we have to resort to other means of communication. This never ruined our friendship, though. I feel closer to some of them, even more so than my friends outside of the book community. Tons of teens, and adults have online friendships/relationships, and I felt the author executed their connection realistically, making this aspect super relatable.

After popping up on oblivious Nick in Vegas, things get a bit interesting and a whole lot of annoying. We find out that Nick has a girlfriend hence the big-boobed-redhaired-vegassocialite-blogger extraordinaire thing I mentioned earlier. Problem was, Hannah was just so damn angry about this, and while I get it, it was technically her fault. So okay, he didn't tell his best friend he had a girlfriend, whoopy do, he's also been dropping a thousand and one hints that he liked Han (for 4 YEARS) who kept shooting him down. What's a boy to do? Wait around for her to finally admit that she's in love with him? Yeah, in her dreams. I just felt she was being a bit selfish. Not only was she pissed-then-not-pissed-then-pissed again at Nick like the entire time, she also took her frustrations out on her sister and best friend. By this time, I was pretty much done with her constant whining that I almost gave up, but her jealously towards Frankie (the girlfriend) and a bunch of other entertaining things, (like trying to make Nick jealous) is what kept me going. I enjoy reality TV like drama okay, don't judge.

To be honest, I expected more. I felt the story could've covered more ground than just following the plot line of Hannah pinning after Nick, but I guess I get it. He was her bestfriend, and she wanted him. Do what you gotta do to get what you want . . . not my advice btw.

If you're looking for an easy read full of drama, vegas attractions, and cute boys, then this is a book for you. If not, still read it.

I was guiltily entertained.
Profile Image for Morris.
964 reviews164 followers
March 31, 2016
Real rating: 3 1/2 stars

“In Real Life” is a quick read that still packs a punch in the acceptance of the difference between expectations and reality.

I really appreciated that the book took seriously the importance of friendships that can form online. Some of my best friends were met online through mutual interests (let’s be real, those interests revolve mostly around books), and I value them as much as the ones made “in real life.” The expectation of someone you have met online measuring up to what you have made them out to be in your head is a major part of the book, but the same thing is true of those we meet elsewhere. Learning to adjust your expectations to reality is a part of growing up. Honestly, many a failed relationship is due to not accepting that, including everything from friendships to marriages.

The characters were typical teenagers, and I believe their reactions to circumstances were accurately portrayed. However, Hannah could be more than a little bit judgmental, and the adult in me wanted to scream at some of the bad decisions they were all making. None of this ruined the plot for me, but it did cause me to deduct a star.

Bonus: It’s a diverse book!

“In Real Life” is a book that will resonate with anyone who has a bond formed with someone they met online. I believe it’s a good read for anyone upper middle grade and up.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,375 reviews207 followers
July 29, 2016

Long distance friends, Nick and Hannah, have been talking, sharing, and possibly falling in love for years in texts, calls, Skype, and more. All online. But in a very out of character, spontaneous burst of rule breaking, Hannah decides to head to Vegas with her sister and best friend to surprise Nick. They’re finally going to meet in person! And Hannah is finally going to confess her feelings (aka LOVE) for Nick. Or is she?

Boom! Let the chaos, misunderstandings, half-truths, lies, and heartache being! Ms. Love sets a fast, nonstop, fun filled pace with suspense and hope laced in to keep readers on the edge of their seats. Will they or won’t they get together? Will their friendship even survive this? GAH!

This sweet, sweet romantic read set in Sin City comes alive in music, adventure, and casino neon lights. As we flash back and forth between then and now, big moments in Nick and Hannah’s friendship are highlighted as the present hangs in the balance. What’s real? What’s true? Can Nick and Hannah figure out how to take their online love into real life?

Jump in and find out. This adorable friendship is one you have to feel from the very first chat to the last. I adored meeting these two! Friends that listen and remember and cherish every moment they’ve shared over the years. My heart ached and swooned! From songs to stories to pressed penny love! *sigh* In Real Life will sweep you off your feet.

Highly recommended.

Profile Image for Mon.
615 reviews17 followers
November 20, 2015
I received a copy of this book for free through NetGalley

So I ended up finishing this due to a train delay.

I thought I was going to like this but unfortunately it didn't peak my interest at all. The characters were very one dimensional and generic whilst the plot itself was a little slow. I did like the little twist with who Nick was but that was about it.

I would still recommend this though if you like easy/cute contemporary reads.
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