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.
I immensely enjoyed Jennifer Castle's first novel, The Beginning of After, so picking up her second book was an easy choice for me. The two books are very different, but they're both well-written, very emotional, and just wonderful stories. What struck me the most about You Look Different in Real Life was how well Castle portrayed the blurry line between public and private, especially for teens whose lives have become shaped by a documentary on them (instead of their lives shaping the documentary). But as scary as that notion is, this novel is not a cautionary tale. It's the story of five teens brought together under unusual circumstances who've mostly grown apart and need to find a way to work together to find some peace in all of their lives. And Castle writes this all spectacularly, making for a beautiful and ultimately heartwarming read.
Review copy from BEA