You Look Different in Real Life

By Jennifer Castle
Published on June 4, 2013
Published by Harper Teen
Source: Edelweiss
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.

I started reading this book because I needed a break from the many fantasy books I have been reading and reviewing.  I am so glad I decided to give this one a try- it was fabulous!

Justine is almost an anti-hero.  She can be rude, crass, and has very low self-esteem.  She is pretty much how I viewed myself as a teenager (not that that was who I was, but it was who I saw myself as).  Teens will find her relatable and easy to understand as a character.  Although she is in an odd situation in front of cameras, Justine still deals with problems that all teens do-finding friends, feeling lonely, fitting in, liking yourself.

I am a self-proclaimed hater of reality tv- especially reality tv that has children.  I occasionally find myself hooked to a show, but for the most part find myself simply tolerating them.  I wasn't sure how that part of the storyline would fly with me, but I have to say- it felt new and unexpected in the best way possible.  I loved how the teens related to each other and how everything seemed to revolve around this movie. I can't really go into the relationships within the book; I feel like that would be revealing too much.  The character relationships are what drive this book.  The author is at her best when writing characters and their relationships and feelings.

You Look Different in Real Life is smart, funny, heartbreaking, and unlike any book I have read before.  I am so glad I picked it up and I will absolutely recommend it to fans of contemporary reads and people looking for something different.

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