Friday, July 12, 2013

You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle

You Look Different in Real Life
Good Reads Summary
You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle

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.

My Thoughts
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Dear Jennifer Castle,

How’d you do it?

The stuff in here has me flashing back to my teenage self. You’ve got me thinking you must have been in my head back then. Because despite the subject of reality TV stars being far from my reality (anyone’s reality, actually,) you’ve managed to make them all feel real.

Justine especially, echoes so many of the  thoughts that at one point or other were mine. Thoughts on longing, on guilt, on dissatisfaction, on being burdened, and even on being resentful for the last, then the back to guilt- a hop skip and jump away from the LONGING, yet again! Yes, it’s the makings of a cycle of feels that the lead is seems to be stuck in!   --- Seriously though, how’d you do it, Jennifer, getting in my head way back when like you have? It’s a feeling that’s doubled up given the parallels between her and a certain other member of the cast.

So, you’ve made them all feel real despite the set up of reality TV of kids growing up, becoming whoever they were to become at five, then eleven, and now sixteen. There’s that question on how the expectations of their audience shaped them, instead of the film simply being a platform to show them becoming whoever they were to become.   --- Ponder with me here, people because it’s things like these that revealed the surprising depth in this book.  Depth, which I loved.

Who’s Justine become? Who have they all become, really? Better who are they becoming? What’s their story? All these not-so-little things had the realness of her feelings jump out at me DESPITE the unreal-ness of the situation. The “this is my life now” dissatisfaction that she was feeling is the emotion that struck true the most for me; only instead of that, Past-Me would have been wondering “is this the best there is?”  --- Again, how’d you do it, Jennifer Castle, take this unreal almost Hollywood feel set up, flip it, and make it feel so very, very real?

Sure, sometimes you went for the obvious -  like with that ending that’s one part cheese and another part “makes sense,” (given the parallels, yeah?)  or with Felix and the question of who he was (not), but then there's the rest of it of you bringing it back to the longing and the guilt and all those other feels that had to do with how Justine thought she knew them all (but not really… ) and how the reverse applied  with others knowing who she was (or thinking they did.) All the “knowing” and “not-knowing” between them, among them of each other and then of their respective selves… well, all that? I wasn’t expecting any of it. --- So, how’d you do it? Because I’m hoping you’re going to do it all again.

Unexpected fan,

View all my reviews

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