Oh, and before we begin...
Remember how I said I was working on a FAQ page? February brought a number of challenges for me, and I've been focusing my energy on posting rather than working on extras. I don't know when I'll get back to it. HOWEVER, I will still try to post every week.
I also wanted to thank you for all of your wonderful emails regarding last week's post. Your support means the world to me. I really can't thank you enough.
Here's the cover of Jennifer Castle's YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE (otherwise known as the YA book I referenced above):
Before I share Goodreads's take, I want to clarify that the of Five films are released as documentaries and that there will be four movies: Five at Six, Five at Eleven, Five at Sixteen, and Five at Twenty-One. That was something that confused me a bit.
Goodreads tells us:
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.
It's been five years since the last one, and Justine knows what that means: another film. But it doesn't look like Five at Sixteen is going to be very easy for anyone.
Lance and Leslie. the masterminds behind the films, are fighting against the clock. Their last film was a flop, and they're trying desperately to keep the studio on their side.
*A word that's used quite loosely around here
I was waiting to check out some books at the library, and the title grabbed me. I threw it into my stack without really looking at it. In fact, I didn't see the cover until I got home.
Upon reading the summary on the cover flap, I wasn't sure if it was worth my time. I got a total of nine books that day, and I really only have so much time. But I adored SOMETHING REAL, and I think that contributed quite a bit to my final decision to try YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE.
(If you haven't read SOMETHING REAL, you should. It's amazing. I keep hoping I'll get the chance to reread it and write a review.)
Jennifer Castle gets points for diverse characters. None of the members of the of Five cast feel the same. They all have obstacles and journey as well as a unique background. Castle explores Felix, Nate, Rory, Keira, and Justine's lives, and I enjoyed how YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE tells not just one story but five.
Justine has always been the funny favorite of the cast, and her internal turmoil around the fans' expectations is very well done. I know that I struggle a lot with the expectations others place on me (I can't imagine the type of pressure Justine feels), and it was good to read about the burden of expectations.
On the not-so-positive side, it felt like the author was withholding information in the name of suspense, but I found that the lack of information did two things: a) it made it hard for me to relate with Justine and b) it irritated me. Justine's actions and feelings began to make sense as I learned more about her past with the other four member of the of Five cast, but when I'm almost a quarter into the book and all I've gotten are vague clues as to our protagonist's past, I tend to get an urge to throw the book across the room.
(Don't worry; no books were harmed in the making of this review)
The ending was unsatisfying and a tad disappointing. I kept hoping something unexpected would happen, but the plot held no surprises for me. That's not to say it wasn't interesting; the plot is entertaining. Just don't expect to be shocked.
I think YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE is a 3.5, but I would recommend it to all you writers out there. There's a lot you can learn from this book!
This post ended up being a lot longer than I thought it would be, and I'm glad you got to the end. Thanks for reading!