Faye, la Patata's Reviews > You Look Different in Real Life

You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle
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An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review. No money or any form of transaction was exchanged.

You Look Different in Real Life is the prime example why I do not want to partake in the activities of Facebook anymore, where people post everything about their lives, including the mundane and who-cares stuff, for the entire world to see and scrutinize and for people comme moi to ridicule (just kidding). I do not condone activities where the private and vulnerable moments of people are made public, so when I read this book's synopsis, I truthfully winced.

But like any other bookish individual out there, I'm a sucker for good stories, especially the ones where there are a lot of character development and values to learn from. So, I decided to let myself loose and enjoy the ride for what it was.

And overall, I found the book pretty decent. We're introduced to 5 individuals who've known each other since they were six, as they were the main cast of this documentary where their lives were followed by cameras (which, also, became the most talked about documentary, like, evah). This little project is actually a 4-part project where every 5 years this cast of characters would be featured on film. First when they are six, then when they are eleven, sixteen and ultimately twenty one. They're all teenagers now, at the prime and sweet youth of sixteen and a third movie is in the works, however, it will ultimately prove to be a rocky road as things have changed and the five are not as close anymore. Why and what happened?

The Good Stuff

The side characters. I think they were the most interesting and strongest factor of this novel. There are five, right? Justine, Felix, Nate, Keira, and Rory (Justine is the main character and we see the story unfold in her perspective). All of them are flawed and struggling individuals, having something that happened in their lives that contributed to the rather broken selves they are now. They're all different from one another and amazing in their own way. I loved how I got to know each and every one of them in Justine's eyes, and the metamorphosis they all went through. It's both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time as they tried to find closures for their present and past selves that were seen and watched on film. Wonderful characterization!

The romance at the end. I really liked how the book wasn't centered on romance at all, as in, I actually thought there wouldn't be any of it in the first 95% of the book. LOL! Then it appeared at the end, but interestingly enough, it neither irked me nor felt random; in fact, it felt right and in place given the journey and realizations the characters went through in the majority of the book. It made my heart do a bit of backflips, to be honest. It was such a tease, though, because there were only so little of it! :<

I thought the narration was pretty well-done. It's not a plot-driven story, so if you're looking for a fast-paced drama here and a slap with accompanying "HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO ME" dialogue there, nope, you won't find it. It's very "showing", in which, we are given a clear and bright view of the main character's psyche as well as her opinion and background of the other four. I think it was overall excellent as it did its job of making me engrossed in the story, and also, the author's prose was delightful and musical to read, so, props to that.

The Bad Stuff

Despite having an excellent narration, I disliked the narrator, Justine. Holy crap, not only was she fickle as hell, it also seemed she didn't have any sense of privacy majority of the time. At first, she didn't want to do the movie at all because of, I don't know, issues, and then in the next chapter she wanted to take back her words because apparently, she wanted to piss the directors off or something by coming up with an entirely different appearance. Hum. ¬_¬There were also a lot of vulnerable moments with regards to the other characters, and there were times Justine would simply take out the camera and record it without asking for permission, knowing full well this moment would be caught on film and edited for the viewing pleasure of the whole world. It didn't help that in the first part of the book, she was complaining of how the producers and directors or whoever took advantage of Keira's private moment when she was at her weakest in the first film, and then here she goes, doing the fricking. Same. Thing. What a hypocrite! There were times she felt so insensitive, too. Other characters opened up their sob stories and you know what she said? "Hey, put that on the film! It would make a great inspiration story!" I call bullshit.

The ending chapter felt... how do I say this? In tagalog, we would say, "bitin". I honestly don't know how to expound on that. LOL. It's like it ends, but you feel something is missing and it could have been much more, but it's not exactly "rushed". I think I was supposed to get on to something here, but I don't know what.

So far, it was an interesting read. Not perfect, but not bad, either, and I think I'd recommend it for those who want to read something touching with a lot of character development. It's quite slow, but the slowness fits. Final verdict: 3.5 stars

Read this and my other reviews over at The Social Potato!
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Reading Progress

May 4, 2013 – Started Reading
May 4, 2013 – Shelved
May 4, 2013 –
2.0% "I just want something quick and maybe fluffy and contemporary, after all the technical confusing stuff from Data Runner. Ugh."
May 4, 2013 –
7.0% "This is really good and refreshing. :O The narration is excellent and genuine. You can really feel the dread and weariness in her voice."
May 4, 2013 –
16.0% "Um, right. Because having your life documented and scrutinized by the whole world is such a brilliant, brilliant idea. Of course. ¬_¬"
May 4, 2013 –
25.0% "I am really really liking this now. I think I kind of understand why she wanted to be in a film for the third time."
May 4, 2013 –
30.0% "I thought you wanted to give these two dipshits a lesson, but why are you telling them your lifestory? You open up and the first thing they say is, "Wow, thanks for sharing that. Now, partner, how do we edit that and make it a dramatic moment on film?" -_-\n \n ISN'T THIS WHAT YOU WERE TRYING TO AVOID?! WHAT THE FUCK"
May 5, 2013 –
73.0% "Holy crap. This is nuts. Who the fuck would agree to have their intimate and vulnerable moments caught on film and be seen by everyone in the whole freaking world? WHO?? Holy frack. I'm really angry that these teenagers have no sense of privacy at all."
May 5, 2013 –
82.0% "Heroine is fickle as frack and I can't stand it."
May 5, 2013 –
84.0% "Holy shit. What a nasty.... the guy's opening up to you and you go, "Hey, why not say that on film and let the whole world know? It would be inspirational!" No, you shit excuse of a friend, NO. HOW COULD YOU EVEN SAY SUCH A THING. BE A BIT MORE SYMPATHETIC WOULD YA??"
May 5, 2013 – Finished Reading

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