Review * You Look Different In Real Life by Jennifer Castle

May 9, 2013 Reviews 14 ★★★

Review * You Look Different In Real Life by Jennifer CastleYou Look Different In Real Life by Jennifer Castle
Published by HarperTeen on June 4, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Around the World Arc Tours
Add to: Goodreads
For the rest of the world, the movies are entertainment. For Justine, they're real life.

The premise was simple: five kids, just living their lives. There'd be a new movie about them every five years, starting in kindergarten. But no one could have predicted what the cameras would capture. And no one could have predicted that Justine would be the star.

Now sixteen, Justine doesn't feel like a star anymore. In fact, when she hears the crew has gotten the green light to film Five at Sixteen, all she feels is dread. The kids who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who hardly know one another. And Justine, who was so funny and edgy in the first two movies, feels like a disappointment.

But these teens have a bond that goes deeper than what's on film. They've all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how it feels to have fans as well as friends. So when this latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to see yourself is through someone else's eyes.

Smart, fresh, and frequently funny, You Look Different in Real Life is a piercing novel about life in an age where the lines between what's personal and what's public aren't always clear.

What I Thought…

  • I liked You Look Different In Real Life, but it didn’t blow me away. I was really excited about the concept (reality TV is always intriguing), but I just didn’t seem to connect with any of the characters nor really care what was going to happen to them in the end.
  • The concept behind You Look Different In Real Life is different from most books, which I really liked. You have 5 kids whose parents made the choice for them when they were 6 and 11 to be a part of the documentary film. Now that they are 16 most parents are giving them a choice, though there is a heavy does of guilt and coercion going on between the parents, producers and others in the group for them all to do it.
  • Justine spent a lot of time examining her past self in the other two movies, especially Five at Eleven. She made some bad choices in that film that have haunted her a bit since then, but now have come back in full force and she isn’t sure how to handle things. I didn’t like or dislike Justine. She was just.. there.
  • Through out the book you get to find out about all 5 of the kids pasts and how their life changed a bit by the filming of the movie. Felix and Kiera’s back stories were my favorites to read about. I think this book could have easily been a 5 book series with each book focusing on each kid. There is just so much more that could have happened, I felt a bit cheated in this aspect.
  • Felix was by far my favorite character. He was funny and so determined that this would be “his time.” He was also dealing with some unfortunate family issues.
  • Kiera seems like she is a real bitch at first, but really it’s just a tough covering due to life circumstances. She is also dealing with some family issues, albiet much different from Felix’s. The thing that the producers did in regards to her in Five at Eleven made me all sorts of angry. I understand why they did it, but that doesn’t take away the anger.
  • Nate is the one who went through the most changes since Five at Eleven. His problems were not family problems, but rather peer problems, which sometimes can be much worse.
  • Rory’s biggest problem was actually Justine, and is the reason why Justine has the feelings that she has today. The relationship between Rory and Justine is one of the most real in the book. I enjoyed their dynamics when they were essentially forced together for the new movie. I also loved how they all looked our for Rory.
  • Leslie and Lance (the producers) decided to amp things up again and send the kids to a team building workshop. Pam the workshop leader is hilarious. As you can imagine taking 5 teenagers to a team building workshop does not work out exactly like the producers of planned.
  • One of the things that struck me as kind of ridiculous is that one of the producers, Leslie was actually surprised that the kids aren’t friends and didn’t hang out all together. To expect 5 kids to remain close friends from 11 to 16 is a bit on the ridiculous side, but Leslie is a bit ridiculous in general so this totally fits her.

Overall I liked the book but I wanted a bit more from it.

* I received a copy of You Look Different In Real Life from Around the World Book Tours. I was in no way compensated for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


14 Responses to “Review * You Look Different In Real Life by Jennifer Castle”

  1. Midnyte Reader

    This is such an amazing idea. It really would make good documentaries. It’s really a shame that the book didn’t live up to expectations. It’s also too bad you didn’t connect with Jusinte.

    • Kimberly

      It happens, but it does take something away from the book. It’s definitely an awesome idea.

  2. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

    There was actually a British documentary series like this, where they interviewed kids when they were like 7, then again at 17, then again at 27 or something. Must go look it up… Annnnd 30 minutes later I found it! It’s called The Up Series and they started when the kids were 7, then interviewed them again when they were 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, and 56 (that was last year). I’ve only seen the first couple, but it was really fascinating and I want to watch all of them! Thanks for reminding me–now I’m going to make sure to put them on my Netfllix queue!

    Sorry you didn’t love this one, but I think I’ll still have to check it out since I really enjoyed that documentary series. Great review, Kim!
    Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (24): Hover (The Taking #2) by Melissa WestMy Profile

  3. Kate- Midnight Book Girl

    Great review, Kim! Although I liked the book more and connected with the characters. I do think it could have been a series, because I did want to know more about the other kids. I wanted to meet the author at BEA, but it just didn’t happen (honestly, they should let us schedule the author signings so they stop putting awesome authors with other awesome authors at the exact same time!).

    Love your comments set up! I am totally switching to WordPress soon. Especially since my anger towards Google is just growing rather than diminishing. And because your blog looks unbearably cool. ;)
    Kate- Midnight Book Girl recently posted…Book STD: The Meme that Shares!My Profile