You Look Different in Real Life
  • You Look Different in Real Life
  • You Look Different in Real Life

You Look Different in Real Life

4.2 9
by Jennifer Castle

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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.


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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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Justine was six years old, she and four classmates were chosen to star in a series of documentaries filmed every five years to trace their changing personalities, interests, and concerns (the premise clearly owes to the Up series of films that have followed a group of British children until adulthood since 1964). Now it’s time to make the third installment, and 16-year-old Justine, having mixed feelings about her celebrity status, isn’t sure she wants to take part. After some coaxing, she reluctantly agrees, but she has no idea that the filming of her all-too-mundane life will lead her and the other participants on an unforgettable journey. In a sudden act of rebellion, the five decide to dismiss the director’s plans and take the recording in a new direction. Although the story is told from Justine’s perspective, her four classmates are equally complex and interesting, with deep personal conflicts. Castle (The Beginning of After) succeeds in providing suspense and drama as each character’s emotional baggage is unpacked on and off the screen. Ages 13–up. Agent: Jamie Weiss Chilton, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Ten years ago, five kindergarteners and their ordinary lives were the subject of a documentary. Five years later, they were featured in a second documentary. Now they're 16 and it's time to once again be in front of the camera. Many changes have occurred since the last time they were filmed: Rory's been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder; former best friends Nate, who has reinvented himself as a cool jock, and Felix no longer speak; Keira, whose worst memory was caught on film, is a member of the popular group; and Justine, the break-out "star" of the two earlier films, feels that she's no longer interesting and hasn't accomplished all she had hoped to. The producers struggle to find usable footage and resort to staging some scenes, which in previous years was unnecessary. A team-building weekend ensues, which Keira uses to further her own agenda. While the book starts off slow and a bit tedious, it becomes much more interesting and exciting around the time of the bonding weekend. This novel is an interesting look at difficult subjects, such as autism, homosexuality, and friendship. A perfect fit for fans of Siobhan Vivian, Deb Caletti, and Sara Zarr.—Melissa Stock, Arapahoe Library District, Englewood, CO
Kirkus Reviews
Five teens linked by a documentary following their lives reunite to film a third installment. As 6-year-olds, they became easy friends, playing dress-up, watching cartoons and trying to stay quiet enough to win a prize from the kindergarten treasure box. At 11, their lives were more complicated. Autism, the loss of a parent and bullying are all caught on tape. When the filmmakers return five years later, the five barely speak to one another. Felix feels invisible. Nate is big man on campus. Keira is coldly beautiful. Rory is an awkward loner. Justine, the star of the first two movies, drifts without purpose. The reunion promises, for better or worse, to change everything. Multiple storylines and characters are slowly revealed through snippets from the films as well as Justine's memories. The five teens are well-rounded and interesting. Unfortunately, the story is unnecessarily complicated by a too-big cast and throwaway characters. Additionally, Justine's abrupt change from hating the camera to loving its voyeuristic power feels false. The story lags in the middle, making pacing an issue. In spite of these glitches, Castle's individual scenes shine. Unfortunately, the sum of the parts does not equal a whole. Clever premise, uneven execution. (Fiction. 13 & up)
The Horn Book
“This provocative novel explores what makes observing strangers fumbling through life so addictively entertaining-and so eye-opening, too.”

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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You Look Different in Real Life 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Kimmiepoppins More than 1 year ago
I immediately developed a soft spot for Justine even though she's a bit of a snarky character who has moments of being unlikable. I'm personally drawn to a character with that kind of dimension. Perhaps it's because a flawed MC is comforting to me, I'm loaded with my own chips and cracks. Or maybe it's the complexity of character that keeps me so interested. More likely a combination of both, which in my humble opinion is even better. Additionally, all of Castle's supporting roles had range and depth of character that held my attention the whole way through. But I have a favorite reason for loving this book. It made me think and rethink about reality television, particularly the role of media fame on children. In fact, I think I'm still digesting it, even though it's been a few weeks since I turned the last page. What does it mean to grow up in the public eye of reality TV? This is a harder and harder question to answer as our media opportunities are casting an ever widening net.  Maybe watching Miley Cyrus, Brittany Spears, Amanda Bynes, and Lindsay Lohan, to name just a few, really illustrates why a book like this so important. It feels to me as if those young girls are the unreliable narrators in their own life story. We only see parts of their story and some of those pieces do not give us the complete picture we need. Castle's book gives a deeper look into what can happened when a child's life becomes too transparent.  YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE is a fabulous, richly-textured, thought provoking read that you shouldn't miss.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
Have you ever met someone famous? Well I have. I met a person from a REAL WORLD season and ask them,” Hey, aren’t you…” I didn’t even get a chance to finish my question before this girl began rolling her eyes and muttering how she can never go no where without being asked that questioned. In all fairness, I was asking cause I wasn’t sure. And she didn’t have to be so rude about it. After that, I change my outlook on famous people. Not all are nice or even come close as they are made out to be. Plot: I really loved the idea of the story. A documentary of kids being followed as they grow up. Their all different and they grow up. gearing up to their next filming, I began to wonder what would happen. Some were reluctant to even being film, other had secrets that they wanted kept quiet and other were just fighting a hard past. If anything, I loved how to story unfolded, letting the reader see each story clearly and powerfully. Characters: Meeting and knowing people in real life is different from what you see on tv. Producers pick certain scenes, attitudes of characters traits to show so that the film makes it. Each characters has something to bring to the table. The reader gets a pretty clear vision of every character as soon as a certain someone gets behind the camera. And let me tell you that this characters blooms. She knows exactly how to capture the right moment at the right time. Love: This was a pretty unexpected element. I honestly didn’t think that anything would develop being that there was so much going on between them as it is. Still, it’s a nice element that I felt gave the story some hope after all the drama went down. Anchored beautifully in the real world and on tv, You Look Different In Real Life has much to offer. Exhibiting life long friendships and overcoming fears, Castle gives the reader a real adventure. With raw material happening before your eyes, You Look Different In Real Life captures.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Justine is used to people recognizing her, acting like they know here even if they're strangers. That's what happens when your childhood is filmed as part of an award-winning documentary. It started when Justine was six. She was filmed with four other students in her kindergarten class. Then again when she turned eleven. Justine is sixteen now and it's time for Lance and Leslie to come back for another film. But Justine doesn't want anything to do with it. She can see why Lance and Leslie picked the other kids: quirky Nate, smart Keira, outgoing Felix and Rory who did whatever she wanted. Justine never saw that same spark, that piece of interesting, in herself. Reviewers always call Justine the star, the edgy one. They expect great things from her. But now, at sixteen, Justine feels anything but as she is forced to look not just at her unamazing life but also at the friendships that have shattered since Five at 6 and Five at 11 were filmed. Now that a new film is coming Justine isn't sure if she should be excited or terrified. This film might be her chance to finally prove that she is as amazing as everyone thinks and maybe even fix some friendships along the way. But it also might not fix anything. It might just confirm Justine's suspicions that she is anything but film-worthy in You Look Different in Real Life (2013) by Jennifer Castle. Sometimes when you read a book you go in with expectations of the story you will get. And sometimes that expected story is nothing like the story the author has written. Unfortunately that was the case with You Look Different in Real Life. I went in wanting details of the previous documentaries and the current filming. Instead I got cursory flashbacks and vague references to the crew. In the second half of the novel the documentary plot became very secondary to another character's storyline so that the whole premise began to feel more gimmicky and less vital to the story. You Look Different in Real Life also ends just when things should be getting interesting. Justine has a breakthrough about some aspect of the filming. But we never get to know what it actually is. By the end of the book it felt like Castle was only giving readers half the story as the documentary was forgotten (having already served its purpose as an inciting incident.) Justine should have been a sympathetic, authentic narrator. She should have had original experiences and a unique take on things thanks to being the subject of a series of documentaries. Instead Justine came across as very one-dimensional and unbearably whiny. While she does have a clear development from beginning to end, her lack of self-esteem and confidence in the beginning was overwhelming to the point that her own self criticisms began to make me feel bad about my own life. That's completely unacceptable. Justine's short-comings are lessened, slightly, thanks to the supporting cast. That is until a lot of them fell into predictable character types with equally unsurprising side stories. There are a lot of near-misses and false starts at the characters try to reconnect and, ultimately, it all just felt very forced. If you want an okay book about a girl coming into her own and discovering her own talents and strengths, You Look Different in Real Life is a decent choice. It doesn't have the best heroine or language (Justine moved with surprising frequency between acting/sounding much younger than sixteen and acting/sounding much older) but all of the elements are there for a quick, fairly fun read. If you want a book that focuses more on the effects of being on film or performing you'll be better served picking up something like Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. Possible Pairings: Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti, Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg, Fat Kid Rules the World by K. L. Going, You Don't Know Me by David Klass, Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart, A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell *This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2013*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! Although you could kinda tell from the first minute they introduced Felix that he was gay- nothing in this book was predicatble. This book is all about findind and accepting yourself and its a great read for all teens and adults!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book that had me up all night captivated by true forms of love and friendship. Throughout the book I had a clear mental picture of what was happening, the author put a great spin from the original idea i had of this book. I reccomend ths book to everyone and anyone. THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most books today are so focused on romance that it becomes more important than the story. This book, one of the few truly ensemble-esque stories I've read, was about change and growing up. It is realistic and honest. It didn't glorify anything. This author told this story in a brashly blunt way from the get go. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good writing, great characters,, and/or comingof age stories.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
JUNE 4 You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle      I liked Justine and connected with her right away, I felt confused for the first part of the book. I knew the premise but it just felt like everyone was going around knowing something that I didn't. Why Justine had changed, why she felt like such a disappointment, and what had changed at school.       But I think that was the whole point. Because as you get into the story, Justine remembers the moments as the film crew is there again, and things all begin to fit together.       One of the themes is that Justine is disappointed, and it comes out as anger. She is disappointed that she didn't live up to what her eleven year old self thought she would be. But then she begins to see what is special about her, what makes everyone special. That we all have a story to tell. It may not be one that makes millions, and then again, maybe we aren't looking at it the right way. But I loved each moment where something clicked for her. Where she realizes that it is okay to change, that she needs to love who she has become, and that she can always start working for another goal again.        Another theme is friendship. How it can change or how some relationships just reach an end, whether natural or by a fight or other circumstances. I liked watching her with Felix, seeing how they encourage one another, how a true friendship should be and what we should strive for. Then there are the others that ended, and how Justine deals with the parts that were her fault.      There was one part near the end where they were all together and had went through a lot, and she said that they helped make each other whole. They realized more about themselves and life by being together.      The characters are all fleshed out well, and the pacing was good. The ending wrapped things up really well and I enjoyed the story overall.  Bottom Line: A refreshing premise that delivers emotion, and shows the lives of characters that were changed both positively and negatively by being on screen. 
RaeLynn_Fry More than 1 year ago
I’ve never read any of Jennifer’s books before now so “You Look Different” was a good one to cut my teeth on.  Justine has mixed emotions about the cameras that will soon be documenting her life again for the big screen. There’s too much to live up to and as she examines her own life, she realizes that she’s disappointed herself a little. Not living out the dreams or goals she had at eleven. Letting friendships go because they didn’t “fit” anymore, and drifting away from others for reasons she doesn’t really understand.  So agreeing to the sequel of Five at is less than exciting. As she’s struggling to figure out what to show the camera and what the public wants to see, Justine ends up discovering herself. She finds out who she really is, who her friends really are and growing into the person she’s always been, but never seen.  I really enjoyed reading this book. It’s fast moving, funny, and real. Castle did a fantastic job with Justine growing in each relationship with the other Five at stars, as well as each character growing on their own. Even though Justine is the center of the novel, the other characters are still given a fair amount of screen time.  My Rating: 4/5 stars, worth the read. 
Cupcakegirly More than 1 year ago
Intriguing and Relevant What I Liked: I really like this cover! This is well written with a premise that is not only intriguing but relevant in the voyeuristic society we live in. There is a natural curiosity that surrounds people who are thrust into the limelight, whether by choice or by accident, and the line between public and private gets blurred quite often. After awhile, it can be difficult to tell the difference between reality and fiction, not only for those on the outside, but the ones whose lives are being invaded. Such is the case with these five teenagers. As the years have gone by, they've had to learn how to deal with other people's expectations of who they think they should be and who they really are which is hard at any age but even harder at sixteen with a camera following your every move. Justine may be the center of the story but she's surrounded by a cast of characters who are equally engaging and it's her relationship with them, or lack thereof, that helps her figure out who she really is. The beginning got off to a slow start (for me) but picked up at the midway point and continued steadily until the end which wrapped up nicely. There are important lessons about friendship and acceptance to be learned and there's a romance that blossoms which came as no surprise but didn't feel forced either. What Left Me Wanting More: I struggled a bit to keep up in the beginning and I didn't really connect with Justine the way I had hoped too. (I felt more of a connection with Nate) Final Verdict: Intriguing and relevant.