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Review: In Real Life

Jessica Love - In Real Life
Expected publication: March 1st, 2016 by St. Martin's Press
Pages: 240
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find on: Amazon, GoodreadsBook Depository
Rating: 2/5

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There's just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she's supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

Hannah's romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and meets Nick's girlfriend, whom he failed to mention. And it turns out his relationship status isn't the only thing he's been lying to her about. Hannah knows the real Nick can't be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has one night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

I'm stunned by the five-stars this has received.

Okay, I get it. We aren't all alike. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. Blah, blah. Please just listen for a sec.

Hannah and Nick have been best friends since elementary school. Eighth grade, to be exact. They've spoken on the phone, texted, IMed, etc. He calls her "Ghost" more than her actual name. The only problem, they've never actually met. Hannah's older sister, Grace, had been crushing on his older brother, Alex, a few years ago and she was like, "Hey, sis, he has a younger brother. Here's his number."

Nick claims he's part of his brother's band. As Nick endlessly brags about late-night concerts, Hannah is fiercely enamored by this fact. Soon, she manufactures the idea to find him in Vegas and "surprise" him at one of the shows, so she invites her sister, Grace, and her best friend, Lo, along for the trip.

So with fake IDs and an emergency credit card in tow, they manage to successfully sneak into every Vegas venue. But when Hannah finally spots Nick, she's immediately dismayed. He's not part of the band as presumably assumed and he has a girlfriend, whom he never mentioned. Hannah has been successfully Catfished in the matter of two minutes and she's reasonably devastated. When Nick tries to approach her, pleading his innocence, she thankfully had none of his shit.

Though after a few minutes of conversation, Hannah and Nick are soon on the road to becoming more than friends. Although, he has a girlfriend, one who Hannah routinely slutshames - mind you - but it's A-OK in the name of instalove. Soon, Hannah's sister and best friend are ditching her for other guys while Nick's ditzy girlfriend becomes a parody because her lexicon features mainly "LOLs."

To a point, this was similar to Anna and The French Kiss. When Nick was with his girlfriend, Frankie, he'd play the dutiful boyfriend role. Hold her hand, coddle her. But whenever he strayed away from Frankie for a moment, he'd be pawing on Hannah and flinging desperate compliments.

Hannah's overreactions were frequent and unnecessary. She'd pick apart Frankie's mannerisms, her outfits, her appearance. Like, who even are you? Thought I'd share a quote as proof.

"Yeah." Frankie says. "He won't even share his food with me when we go out. I always like to order one dish, and then have the person I'm with order something else and then we can split our stuff to try more things. But Nick orders what he orders and doesn't want to split or share with me. Not even a bite." 
I feel such a strong stab of jealousy that I flinch. I've known Nick for so much longer than Frankie, but I've never been out to eat with him. I'd never reach over to his plate and try to take some of his fries, because I don't like to share my food either. Other people touching the food on my plate? No way.
Almost everyone does that, Hannah. Everyone.

The only reason I didn't downgrade this to a one-star was because I actually liked that Hannah didn't let Nick get away with flatout Catfishing her. The ending was far too Disney for me. Also, throughout this whole Vegas extravaganza, not one parent called to check in. Definitely a teenager's dream scenario, I guess.

The writing was seemingly average and the cast is bland. There was barely a withstanding friendship. Unfortunately, not a recommend here.



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