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.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 18 Years|
About the Author
JESSICA LOVE is a high school English teacher in Southern California, where she met her husband and her two tiny dogs online. She is the co-writer of Push Girl with Chelsie Hill.
Read an Excerpt
In Real Life
By Jessica Love
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 Jessica Love
All rights reserved.
My best friend and I have never met.
We talk every day, on the phone or online, and he knows more about me than anyone. Like, deep into my soul. But we've never actually seen each other in real life.
Sometimes, when I'm talking to Nick, I wonder how we managed to get ourselves into such a bizarre, complicated friendship. At first glance, our relationship probably doesn't seem all that odd. Like right now, it's the Friday afternoon that kicks off the spring break of my senior year. I'm lying out next to my pool with my feet dangling in the chilly water, my back flat on concrete, and I'm talking to him on the phone. This is how I spend pretty much every Friday from 3:30 to 4:25-ish, before he goes off to band practice and I have one of my various school or family obligations. Sounds pretty normal.
But the thing is, Nick lives in a different state, 274 miles away. Yes, I looked it up.
"Ghost," he says, because he never calls me Hannah, "you know I will do anything for my best friend, and this is no exception. I'll have this girl killed for you without a second thought. Just give me twenty-four hours."
I laugh as I swish my feet back and forth in the pool. "There's no need to resort to murder. It's just a stupid student government trip. I'll be over it by the end of the week."
As tempting as it is to plot Aditi Singh's violent end, the only reason she applied to go to the national leadership conference when it should have been a given that the senior class president (aka me) was going was because I got into UCLA and she didn't, so a big ol' middle finger to her. But she can't see my middle finger, because she's in Washington, D.C., for spring break and I'm at home with no plans like a big loser.
"Well, if you change your mind," Nick says, "just let me know. That's how much our friendship means to me. The code word is 'Platypus.' Just say it, and — poof! — I'll make her disappear."
I sit up and pull my feet from the pool, crossing them in front of me. "And how can you do that?"
"Hey, I live in Vegas. I have connections to the mob. Everyone here does."
"You're a senior in high school, and you live in a tract home in Henderson. You're not exactly Al Pacino."
"You don't know. Everything I've told you for the past four years could be a front. I need to have a cover. No one suspects the quiet, nondescript white boy."
"You're right. There is a lot I don't know about you. I mean, there are any number of huge secrets you could be keeping from me." I say it just because I'm playing along, but it's not true at all. I'm pretty sure I know everything there is to know about Nick Cooper.
I know when my sister met his brother at a concert four years ago and they told us we should start talking online, he thought I was one of his brother's friends playing a joke on him until I e-mailed him a picture. I know in the middle of junior year, he shaved his head when his favorite English teacher started chemo. I know the gravelly scratch of his voice when he wakes up in the middle of the night to answer one of my random "I'm bored, talk to me" phone calls. I know the hole in the sleeve seam of the lucky Rage Against the Machine T-shirt he inherited from his brother, Alex, since I've seen so many pictures of it. I know his middle name (Anthony), the date and time he was born (September 24 at 3:58 A.M.), and his favorite color (gray). And he knows more about me than absolutely anyone else, even the über-embarrassing stuff. We've IM'd, texted, sent a million pictures, mailed each other packages, video-chatted, and talked on the phone.
We've just never been in the same place at the same time.
I don't think it's strange to be so close to someone I've never met. Yeah, he's in Nevada and I'm in Southern California, but I talk to him more than to people I've been in classes with since kindergarten. I do wish we could go to the movies together or something normal like that, but we watch the same movies at the same time and mock them over video chat, which is pretty much the same thing.
On the other end of the phone, his laugh stops abruptly and his voice changes. "Secrets? What kind of secrets could I have?"
"Who knows!" I try to sound shocked and serious, but I can't keep a laugh from creeping in. "For all I know, you do have a secret mob life. Do you have some sort of gangster name I'm supposed to call you?"
His voice lightens again when he realizes I'm joking. "Oh yeah. Knuckles Nick. Or, no. Wait. Nick the Click."
"What does that even mean?"
"I don't know. It rhymed. Don't those names always rhyme?"
"I know nothing about mob names, Nick the Click. But rhyming names do make mobsters seem a bit less murder-y."
There's a shuffle, a thump, and a squeak on his end of the phone, and I imagine him collapsing backwards onto his twin bed. "I just hate that you're still bummed over missing out on the trip."
"It's not that I'm bummed, it's just ... I followed all the rules, Nick. I did exactly what I was supposed to do. Serving four years as class president means I go on that trip, not Aditi Singh. Onetime vice-presidents don't get to go! It's supposed to be my year. She broke the rules, but she got picked. How do you break all the rules and get what you want like that? It isn't fair."
"Well, you know what they say...."
"Life's not fair?"
"Well, that, too. But I was thinking rules are made to be broken."
Yeah, that is what people say, but it goes against my Good Korean Girl DNA. Rules are made to be followed — at least that's what my parents, who aren't Tiger Parents or anything but are still pretty serious, drilled into me starting the second I learned to crawl. And I've always followed every rule, done exactly what I've been told, and it always worked out to my benefit.
Until it didn't, and I found myself at home over spring break, trying to figure out how to make an Aditi Singh voodoo doll.
I hate rules.
A door slams somewhere in Vegas and echoes through my phone. "Oh, crap," Nick says. "I have to go, Ghost. The guys are here."
"Getting ready for the show tomorrow? Are you nervous?" Nick's band Automatic Friday landed a huge gig opening for a popular Vegas band by entering and winning a Battle of the Bands at UNLV back in February. I always knew they were awesome, aside from their dumb name that I tried all junior year to convince him to change, and I was stoked that other people would have a chance to fall in love with their music, too.
"Ummm, let's see. Instead of our usual backyard birthday party, Automatic Friday is opening for Moxie Patrol at the House of freaking Blues on the Strip. This will probably be the one and only chance to perform at a legit venue like a real band. I'd say 'nervous' doesn't quite capture the level of sheer terror going on over here."
"I'm coming to your show, by the way," I say. "I'll be in the front row. With an 'I Heart Nick' sign. Will you throw a guitar pick at me?"
"Even better," he says. "I'll throw the guitar at you."
"Hello? Concussion!" We both laugh. "I do wish I could see your one and only real show, though." He doesn't say anything, because we both know the odds of me ever seeing Automatic Friday play are right up there with me piercing some body part that's never meant to have a hole in it. "Okay, thinking about this is bumming me out. I'll let you go. Say hi to Oscar for me."
"I will. Did you get our package?"
"Oh yeah! I love the T-shirt. I wore it to school today." Yeah, after I slept in it last night. The black T-shirt with the band's name in the middle of a hot pink bass drum, the A and F made from drumsticks, is the best present he's sent me so far. I guess the box of cake balls I sent last week decorated to look like my cat, Bruce Lee, was a hit.
"Oscar designed the shirt. He wanted you to have it."
"Tell him thanks." I smile down at the T-shirt as I smooth the front of it. "Now I'll have to find something extra creative to send you back."
"I'll be waiting at the mailbox. Talk to you later, Ghost."
"Text me when you're done with rehearsal."
It never feels like our conversations are over when we say good-bye. I always think of a hundred other things I want to say after I hit End on my screen, but I save it all for later, because there's always a later with us.
I crawl back to the grass and flop down, letting the afternoon sun warm my face as I drift off into my typical Friday 4:26-to-4:45 post–phone-call daydreaming. After we hang up, I always zone out and imagine what hanging out with Nick in real life, knowing each other in-person instead of being only online friends and phone buddies, would be like. Today I'm actually picturing myself at one of their shows, cheering and dancing like a maniac in the crowd as he plays guitar, when —
"What are you dreaming about, weirdo? You have a huge grin on your face. It's creepy."
The sliding glass door slams shut, and I know my real-life BFF Lo will be standing over me in a matter of seconds. She's spending spring break at my house, along with my older sister, Grace, who is a senior at UCLA, while my parents celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary on a cruise down to Mexico. Mom and Dad said they wanted Grace to keep an eye on me and Lo, but knowing my sister, I'm pretty sure it's the other way around.
"Oh, you know," I say as I stand up, trying to shake the mental picture of Nick out of my head as I brush grass off my jeans. "Just thinking about hiring a mob boss to dispose of Aditi Singh for me. No big."
Lo has changed from her school look of jeans and hoodie into a short floral dress that covers her bikini, and she let her long, wavy black hair out of its usual ponytail. She looks me up and down and shakes her head. "You were talking to Nick, weren't you?"
I shrug. Being my real-life bestie, Lo knows all about Nick. Well, not all about him; I'm selfish when it comes to my friendship with him, and there's a lot I keep to myself. Even without knowing everything, though, Lo has insisted for years that I must be secretly in love with him. Lately she's been getting snippy when I bring him up, like she's jealous or something. Lo isn't the type who likes to come in second.
She drops her overnight bag on the grass, and she lowers herself to perch on top of it.
"Girl, you know what I'm going to say. It's high time you did something about this situation. Grace and I were literally just talking about this in the kitchen." She stretches back onto the grass and screams for my sister, who had been raiding the fridge when I walked outside to answer Nick's call. "Grace! Get out here! We need to powwow!"
I moan. "You really don't need to get Grace involved."
But it's too late. It's only a few seconds before my sister, Grace — clad in her usual uniform of black jeans, black T-shirt featuring some obscure punk band with a weird name, and wearing thick black eyeliner — is outside, too. She throws herself on one of the chaise longues next to the pool, a turkey sandwich hanging out of her mouth.
"What are we talking about?" she asks through bites of sandwich.
"We need to debrief about Hannah and Nick," Lo says. "Hannah, what is the deal here? Why haven't you guys met? You've been talking to this guy online for, what ... four years? That's a long time. Are you sure he's legit?"
I shake my head, as if I could shake away this line of questioning. "He lives in Las Vegas, Lo. It's not like he just goes to a different school. And of course he's legit. I met him through Grace. Ask her."
Grace throws up her hands, sandwich flailing. "Oh no. Don't bring me into this. I met his brother one time at a show when I was in high school and talked to him for, like, a minute. I'm absolutely not vetting this dude."
"But you know Alex is real," I say. "And Nick and Alex look exactly the same, so you know he's not a troll or anything." I've shown Grace photos of Nick. She agrees that with his messy brown hair, thick-rimmed black glasses, and wide open smile, he's a dead ringer for his older brother, who caught Grace's attention at a concert all those years ago. The full-sleeve tattoo on Alex's right arm is the only visible way to tell the Cooper brothers apart at a quick glance.
Grace shrugs and goes back to mauling her sandwich. "Whatever."
I gather my hair and twist it into a bun. "I mean, Las Vegas is four hours away, across a state line. You know how Mom and Dad feel about this."
Lo stands and paces along the edge of the pool. "Here's the thing, Hannah. You're almost a legal adult. You have a car. I assume he drives. If you wanted to, you could make this happen. It's not an impossible distance."
"We tried once," I say. "It didn't work, and ..."
"And what?" Grace has finished her sandwich now, and she picks the crumbs off her black jeans like she's hunting for treasure. "Yeah, that one time was a total disaster. And it was mostly my fault, which I still feel bad about, by the way. But why didn't you ever try again?"
Lo stops pacing when she reaches Grace, and she stands shoulder to shoulder with my sister. A united front. "That was years ago, girl. Things have changed."
That day is one of my huge regrets. Once I got over being half-relieved that our plans fell through, I used to wish there were a way to go back in time and have a redo. But Lo knows how my parents are. Mom said I wasn't allowed to drive out and meet Nick. And once Mom says no to something, I can't just go and do it. I mean, I'm not Grace. Far from it.
Grace and Lo keep staring. I never react well under pressure like this, with people in my face, trying to pry me out of my cozy comfort zone. The urge to run from their interrogation is strong, so instead of answering, I do the super -mature thing and roll my eyes. Then I do a nonchalant shuffle toward the house for a safe haven from their badgering. "I have to pee," I call back over my shoulder.
I don't have to pee, though, and I head upstairs to my bedroom instead of to the bathroom. I just need a break from Grace and Lo, so I flop down on my bed and click through my iPod until I find Ghost in the Machine, one of the playlists Nick made for me. It's a mix of Automatic Friday songs and other indie bands with the same mellow style. This particular playlist is my go-to because it has a lot of the angsty unrequited-love-type songs that have always been my favorite. I click Play and smile as the first familiar notes of the lead singer and songwriter's raspy voice fill my room.
I can't count how many times I have fallen asleep to these songs or driven around in my car with them blaring in my ear, taking over my thoughts. And there have been times, especially recently, where a lyric struck me in such a deep way that I wished it were Nick who had written it, and that he'd written it just for me. It was an unusual thought, because that's not how things are between us. Not at all. But there's something about the music that takes my head to strange places.
I asked Nick about the lead singer once, if the passion in Jordy MacDonald's songs was inspired by a girlfriend or some big lost love. Nick said Jordy's a total player, and I know he didn't mean of instruments. He said Jordy was with a new girl every weekend, and the other band members don't even bother to learn the girls' names anymore. I yelled at Nick about that because it made him sound like a total jerk, and he assured me he was just kidding, then proceeded to name the last twelve girls Jordy brought around, first and last names, told me what they all looked like, and added something degrading Jordy had said about each one the following day. I gave up on Jordy's sensitive side after that and stopped searching for a meaning behind the songs. But I didn't stop wishing.
Since Nick is on my mind, I pull out my phone and text him, even though I doubt he'll answer because he's at practice.
I HOPE YOU GUYS ARE PLANNING ON PLAYING MY FAVORITE SONGS AT YOUR BIG DEAL SHOW TOMORROW.
I always beg him to at least play the guitar parts of my favorite songs on our video chat sessions, but he's too embarrassed. I make do with imagining him playing my dream set list at his gigs.
My phone beeps his reply almost immediately. Odd.
WE PLAY THEM EVERY TIME, GHOST.
I look out my window and see Lo has stripped down to her bikini and jumped in the pool. She floats on my inflatable dolphin and talks to Grace, who made herself comfy on the lounge chair. From Grace's bobbing head, I assume they're rehashing Grace's recent breakup with her long-term live-in boyfriend, Gabe, for the millionth time, because it's all she seems to talk about these days. At least my sister isn't crying anymore. That's a happy development.
And this is my wild and crazy life, everyone. Spring break of my senior year, and I'm going to spend it sitting around the pool with Lo and Grace, swimming and hanging out, like we've done every weekend since Grace's breakup. My parents are out of town, college is around the corner, and I should be doing something exciting. But I'm staring down the barrel of the most boring, predictable spring break ever while Aditi Singh is on my student government trip and my best friend plays with his band at the House of freaking Blues in Las Vegas like a rock star.
Excerpted from In Real Life by Jessica Love. Copyright © 2016 Jessica Love. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is so good i read it in like a day and a half and spent all day in my room reading. Its about long-time friends who have never met in person. And i totally recommend it trust me u wont be disapointed!
I have to be honest. When I first became interested in this story it was purely because of the cover. but then people started saying amazing things about it and I knew I needed it to be mine. I thought I had learned my lesson about cover obsession buys, but apparently not lol Hannah and Nick are best friends and have been for four years. They seem to know more about each other than their respective siblings. But oddly enough, they've only talked to each other behind computer screens. They live in two different states, four hours away. But one day, Hannah decides she needs to surprise Nick... And things end up not being at all as she pictured it. The main thing that kept me hooked to this story was the amazing writing style. I laughed out loud, I blushed when I Hannah or Nick were embarrassed, and I even got angry when one of them did too. I felt so connected to their awkwardness and I thought it was absolutely adorable. Plus, it helped that Love made their journey so funny lol I got weird looks from everyone when I was laughing in the muddle of a quiet room. There were really only two things about this that I didn't like. I wasn't a fan of how predictable it was. I mean, come on I TOTALLY called that ending. But I still thought it was super cute even though I knew it was coming. It still made me smile. Also, I didn't like how big of a hypocrite the MC was! She was so angry at all that was happening, which I totally understand, but she also wasn't very truthful herself. To be honest, it could've been avoided... And that's all I'm going to say. And then, she never had to tell the truth, so it seemed like she got off scott free and I didn't like that. I wanted her to finally own up to it. Even still, the story was light and fluffy and just what I need right now. I swooned, I laughed, and I got angry and that's really all I ever want in a story. it may not have been five stars for me, but it was certainly something I'm glad I didn't miss!
I never know what to expect when I'm trying out a new author. Will I like their writing style? Will their story be engaging? Will I read a few chapters and want to put it down, or will it suck me in and cause me to read the entire book in one sitting? Well, the good news is In Real Life was a hit! As far as YA contemporaries go, this was such a delight! Hannah and Nick are best friends who chat online and talk on the phone on a daily basis. What's different about their relationship, you ask? Well, here it is... they've never met. Hannah's sister met Nick's brothers back when they were young, and immediately felt that Hannah and Nick would hit it off. So for years they've been communicating solely over technology. They've thought about meeting up before, but it just never worked out. Living on a few hours apart, these two were bound to meet eventually. And that's where this story takes us... to their first meeting. Already intrigued? Yeah, I was too!! Such a fun premise, if you ask me. :) I adored Hannah and Nick!! This is the perfect example of a "first love" romance. These two have such strong feelings for each other, but are struggling with all the usual questions teens experience with their first love, including "Does he/she like me too?" and "Should I tell him/her I like him/her?". This story is sure to bring up memories of the butterflies you felt with your first love. The doubt, the questions, the overwhelming emotions. This story totally brought me back to my teenage days, in a very good way! If he's kissing someone who isn't me, I should be kissing someone who isn't him. It's only fair. Yes, this story was a bit cliche. Yes, it had parts that were aggravating, like when you just want Hannah and/or Nick to say or do something differently, yet they just won't listen to you screaming loudly (and a bit excessively) into the book at them. But even with that being said, I LOVED IT!!! This story completely reminded me of a romantic comedy, which just so happens to be my favorite movie genre to watch. Fun, silly, humorous, and all kinds of adorable, this story gave me the warm fuzzies, giddy gigglies, and the silly smilies. I love when a story makes me feel like it was written just for me. ♥ In Real Life is a quirky, entertaining, and fun one-sitting type of read. With friendships mirroring Emery Lord's stories, romances similar to Stephanie Perkins', and all the emotions you'll find in a Morgan Matson book, this story is sure to please many. If you're a YA contemporary reader, this is one you won't want to miss! (Thanks to St. Martin's Griffin for the review copy!)
Original review @ 125pages.com You know how some days you just want a nice vanilla sundae with some hot fudge? Not overly complex, fast but still really good… In Real Life was the book form of that for me. Good story, a quick read and it totally hit the spot. Hannah and Nick have know each other via computer and phone for years but have never met. They are best friends and know everything about the other. When Hannah gets the chance to surprise Nick and finally meet she jumps on it. But then complications, such as his girlfriend she didn’t know about, ensue. Can Hannah and Nick remain best friends, morph into something more, or is reality going to rear its ugly head and slap them down? Jessica Love created a very real world in In Real Life. The settings were well thought out and made sense in the story. The writing was great and Love really nailed the teenage heart. There was a nice emotional quotient; friendship, love and family all played large roles. The pacing was quick and no scenes lingered. The characters were well fleshed out and you understood their motivations and actions. The plot, while simple, packed a lot in and made an impromptu road trip weekend something special. In Real Life is one of those YA books that I could re-read as it hit just what I needed. I particularly enjoyed that this was a YA minus absent or uncaring parents. While they did not play a huge role, they showed their children consideration and genuinely cared about their well being. This is Love’s debut as a stand alone author (she has one other co-authored title) and I think she did it extremely well. While this was not a weighty tome with deep undertones, it was just what I needed to refresh after a bit of a reading slump. In Real Life is a sharp story with heart and emotion, and I highly recommend it for those days where you just want a book to make you smile. I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This was such a cute contemporary romance read. I devoured it as fast as my schedule allowed; it’s a fast enough read that you could definitely read it in a day, if you had the time. Thank you Netgalley for providing me a copy in exchange for a honest review. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars. This book was one of my Waiting on Wednesday picks, and I’m so glad I finally read it. I’m always looking for new contemporary favorites, and this one is right up there. The relevance of the main topic, online friendships/relationships, is prevalent in our society nowadays. With all the different forms of social media out there, people are finding others to befriend that are halfway across the country, halfway across the world. I think Jessica did a great job with the subject matter at hand. The summary and the cute cover is what made me really want to pick up this book. After reading, I can conclude that this book definitely met my expectations, and even exceeded it occasionally. Hannah was a pretty great, realistic main character overall. She annoyed me a few times, along with her sister and her best friend, but people annoy you sometimes [in real life]. Note: pun intended. I liked Grace, Hannah’s sister, for the most part. Hannah’s best friend, Lo, annoyed me more than other characters, but even she had some great aspects to her character. The other characters were all fine, but didn’t make a huge impression on me overall when compared to these girls (other than Nick, of course). Nick was adorable; definitely book boyfriend material. He’s more nerdy chic than some of the other love interests in YA books nowadays, which I love. Not every guy looks the same, and Nick is still handsome in my opinion, based on the descriptions. Unfortunately I haven’t seen him in person. Drats! The friendship between Hannah and Nick was amazing. I wish I had a guy best friend that I could share everything with, who I constantly talked/texted/video chatted with. The book had tension/drama throughout, leading up to the fantastic conclusion. The slight annoyances were easily overcome by the happy feelings I had while reading the book at all the swoony parts. I’d love to see more of Nick and Hannah’s story in the future! I don’t think that’ll happen though, so I guess I’ll just have to daydream about them instead. I didn’t make note of any favorite lines, because I was too busy reading this cute book as fast as I could. Final note: Another contemporary romance favorite to add to my growing list. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone that wants swoony romance on a socially relevant subject matter.
Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since eighth grade. They chat and text constantly. They talk on the phone for hours. They know each other better than anyone. They've never met. After years of following the rules and doing what everyone expects, Hannah's summer plans are ruined. Instead of spending her last high school summer on a trip to DC, Hannah has no plans whatsoever. With nothing holding her back and a sudden desire to be reckless, Hannah decides to take the ultimate risk and road trip from California to meet Nick in Vegas. With her older sister and best friend on board, Hannah expects it to be the perfect summer trip. But when the trio arrive in Vegas to surprise Nick everything starts to go wrong. Instead of being able to admit her more-than-best-friend feelings for Nick, Hannah finds out that Nick has been less-than-honest with her. Hannah still thinks the Nick she's known online can't be that different from Nick in real life. But she only has one night in Vegas to figure that out and decide if she's ready to risk her heart trying to make their friendship into something more in In Real Life (2016) by Jessica Love. Hannah is a guileless narrator in this story about stepping out of your comfort zone and taking big risks. Although the night is filled with adventure (and some kissing and drinking) the story reads young enough that it can easily appeal to the younger end of the teen reader spectrum. Hannah and Nick are an interesting pair but missed connections, white lies, and intentional misinformation from both often leaves this couple lacking in chemistry or much of a connection once they're face-to-face. Hannah is accompanied by her (much more adventurous) older sister and best friend. Unfortunately any potentially empowering friendship moments quickly vanish as each girl is abruptly paired off with a guy and effectively disappears from the narrative. This leads to more than a few hurt feelings and a solid heart-to-heart before the novel's end. It also leaves Hannah in her own head for most of the novel. Like many road trips the path from start to finish is messy for Hannah and filled with bumps in the road. Readers looking for a story that addresses the merits and value of online friendships realistically (even with some madcap adventures) will find a lot to enjoy here. In Real Life is a funny novel with a romance that ends on a sweet note. Possible Pairings: The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando, Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg, The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu, The Truth Commission by Susan Juby, The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, Dumplin' by Julie Murphy, Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales *A copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*
Real rating: 3 1/2 stars “In Real Life” is a quick read that still packs a punch in the acceptance of the difference between expectations and reality. I really appreciated that the book took seriously the importance of friendships that can form online. Some of my best friends were met online through mutual interests (let’s be real, those interests revolve mostly around books), and I value them as much as the ones made “in real life.” The expectation of someone you have met online measuring up to what you have made them out to be in your head is a major part of the book, but the same thing is true of those we meet elsewhere. Learning to adjust your expectations to reality is a part of growing up. Honestly, many a failed relationship is due to not accepting that, including everything from friendships to marriages. The characters were typical teenagers, and I believe their reactions to circumstances were accurately portrayed. However, Hannah could be more than a little bit judgmental, and the adult in me wanted to scream at some of the bad decisions they were all making. None of this ruined the plot for me, but it did cause me to deduct a star. Bonus: It’s a diverse book! “In Real Life” is a book that will resonate with anyone who has a bond formed with someone they met online. I believe it’s a good read for anyone upper middle grade and up. This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
'In Real Life' by Jessica Love definitely lived up to the title. The story revolves around Hannah and Nick, best friends who live hundreds of miles apart, in southern California and Las Vegas. The fact that they have never met makes it so that their first meeting in real life has a lot of hype to live up to, especially since they have had opportunities to meet that have passed by without coming to fruition due to any number of circumstances. Hannah, however, has decided to use her senior year spring break to finally go and see Nick, whom she has told her best friend, Lo, as well as her sister, Grace, and even herself, that she doesn't have feelings for. At least not like that. Little does she know that the trip will be the catalyst for a number of realizations on her part, not only about her true feelings for Nick, but about her feelings about herself and what she wants out of life. Lo and Grace accompany her to Las Vegas, picking up fake IDs along the way. When they get to Las Vegas, they surprise Nick, which sets off a chain of events that lead Hannah on a path through a very chaotic night that only serves to stir up trouble based on everything she thought she knew about Nick and their friendship being turned on its head. The truths and lies that spring from their first meeting are realistic enough, and they help prove the point that you can never know someone fully, especially if you have spent most – or all – of your time talking to that person online, as Hannah and Nick have always done. While most would think their relationship would only grow from an in-person meeting, they are reminded that not everything works out the way one always hopes or expects it to, and sometimes phone and Internet conversations can be easier than in-person ones. From taking chances on boys to feeling the pain of losing everything you thought you knew, anyone who has ever experienced emotions such as these will find themselves immersed in this book and eager to learn the outcome of Hannah and Nick's first real-life meeting. Jessica Love has captured my interest with 'In Real Life,' and I look forward to reading more of her writing as time goes on. Beth Rodgers, Author of 'Freshman Fourteen,' A Young Adult Novel
3.5 In Real Life is the new young adult novel from Jessica Love. Hannah is the quintessential 'good girl' - good grades, listening to her parents and never breaking the rules. Her biggest vice is talking online to her friend Nick. Nick from Las Vegas that she's never met in four years. Nick that really knows her and gets her. Nick that maybe she maybe likes as more than a friend...... "My best friend and I have never met. We talk every day on the phone or online, and he knows more about me than anyone." So when Spring Break rolls around Hannah decides it's finally time to break some rules. Hannah, her friend Grace and her older sister decide to head to Vegas....to meet Nick. Love has come up with a great premise - someone's online presence can be completely different from 'real life.' (and have you watched Catfishing?!) I was completely taken with Hannah. I loved her voice and her thoughts and found myself casting back to those uncertain teenage years. And Nick reminded me of someone from those teen years as well - kind, quiet and a keeper. The supporting cast is somewhat cliched, but serve as perfect foils for the main plot. Love captures the yes...no...maybe so dynamic perfectly. Missed cues, missed opportunities and missteps populate the pages of In Real Life. Is In Real Life based in reality? Parts of it yes and parts of it no - some of the Vegas behaviour was a bit over the top risky. But putting that aside, it was a fun, cute, escapist piece of light contemporary teen romance that I quite enjoyed. With a few little nuggets of wisdom thrown in that anyone can appreciate... "You don't have to choose Hannah. It's not success or fun. It's not life or love. You don't have to just pick one door to walk through."
As I finished reading this novel, I had to come to grips with what I had just read, this book was simply breathtaking. My heart was pounding as I closed the final pages for I had just witnessed something amazing. This book was dramatic, beautiful and one of my hair-dryer novels. The anticipation stretched from scene to scene, the tension building and I hoped for the best but as reality kicked in the characters had to come to grips with what their reality really was. I loved how the author set up the story, Nick and Hannah built their relationship on disguised concepts. Four years they had been responding to each other daily without one physical contact. Living over 250 miles apart they had not once seen each other in person. Four years! They allegedly labeled their relationship as a friendship yet inside their emotions were saying something else. You could feel it in the writing; their connection appeared to be something more as the author shares some of their personal feelings. They struggle to understand their relationship and its future. It was these emotions and tensions that encompassed this novel that I loved, I was fueled by them and the pages of the novel turned more quickly then I wanted. Nick and Hannah had a perfect friendship, marked by 274 miles between them. Hannah decides to surprise Nick during her spring break and catch his band’s performance with her older sister and her best friend. This will be Nick and Hannah’s first physical encounter since their relationship began four years ago. Talking every day, they never run out of things to say and the two of them know more about each other than anyone, they are a perfect match. They each want to move their relationship further, yet they still remain friends. The anticipations build immediately as there Hannah starts to have second thoughts and she begins to reflect of how this encounter will transpire, if she goes. Words cannot explain how excited and how nervous I start to feel for Hannah at this moment. There are no do-overs and this moment will change their relationship forever, if she goes. I was not expecting what occurred during the rest of the novel, I was captivated and felt totally in love with the novel. It was real; it brought out the worse and the best in people. I will definitely be reading this novel again for I loved it for its originality and for allowing me to climb inside its pages and escape for a while. This is definitely a great read! Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for sending me this novel to read in exchange for an honest review.
3.5 stars* for a cute, quick read with road trips and sister bonding and finally meeting the guy you've been friends with (for forever) in real life. IN REAL LIFE's premise is le blurb. As in, the blurb gives the exact summarization of what happens in IRL. Hannah is a "good girl", and her older sister is not. Her best friend is supportive of her finally meeting her other BFF, Nick, so, together, kind of randomly, the three girls take off to see him in Vegas. Enter me, as a mom, freaking out. Because: 1) They're in California. 2) They take off without telling their parents, allowing them to presume they're home, IN CALIFORNIA, while they go to yet another state. LAS VEGAS NO LESS. (Yes I KNOW her sister is older, but if my oldest took one of her slightly younger sisters OUT OF STATE while I thought she was chilling at home, so much crap would hit the fan, it would fall off the ceiling and make an absolute mess of the place.) Now, you're probably wondering, "Okay, but were they responsible? Was the older sister making sure they did the right things?" Um. Well. If you call buying fake IDs and driving to another state and gambling and drinking illegally responsible, then yes, this not-very-comfortable-with-doing-illegal-things person (ME) would say YES, I guess they were. I get how it's part of the excitement, I do, but having three teenaged daughters--currently--right now, this very moment, means the entire part of this storyline was poking and poking and poking at me and driving me crazy. I wanted to enjoy it. I wanted to get into what they are doing. But I was in mom mode, and it basically ruined everything. (Kind of like when I see Bella do stuff in the Twilight series and I am like NO YOU DARN KID!!! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!?!? Your mom needs to knock some sense into you! WHERE IS RENEE???) But back to the storyline, to Nick. Nick is cute. Nick is adorable. Nick isn't himself. (Sad face.) I'd say Nick was probably my favorite character of the entire story (with Hannah's BFF coming in for a close second). As Hannah realizes she actually didn't really know everything about him like she thought she did, things go a little off kilter and grow sad and frustrating (and maddening. Remember how you had this big plan for something to go a certain way, and then it didn't, and then you ended up pouting and behaving in ways you never thought you would because you were so darn annoyed at things, in hopes that New You would make things work in your favor? Exactly.) Did it seem realistic? Actually, yes. All of the decisions they made and even the way Hannah behaved (not really making up her mind for a while there) sound like many a teenage girl. And the way things were wrapped up in the end was cute. You were left satisfied with a pretty good idea on how things would continue. As for who might like this book, I'd say this is a chic book to the max with the cute band stuff and the girly road trip and Vegas. If you're looking for a fluffy, romantic read with cute boys and a bit of sight seeing, IN REAL LIFE is probably for you. *I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
At first I wasn't sure about this book and considered not finishing at about the 20% mark. I just wasn't super hooked by the voice and had just come off reading an utterly fantastic road trip book (KISSING IN AMERICA). But I stuck with it and I'm glad I did, because it really picked up and I really enjoyed it. I'm always a bit annoyed by books where everything could be solved if the main characters just have a conversation, so there's that, but still I thought the characters' choices were very authentically teen and toward the end I had that page-turning swoony feeling where I just couldn't wait to see what happened.
This book was cute, but the pacing was too slow for me. It's not something I would read again or necessarily recommend unless you like character-driven romances without much other plot. It reminded me a lot of Anna and the French Kiss, which a lot of people love. The story starts off well enough. Hannah, a rule abiding Korean girl, is staying home for spring break with her older sister and her best friend while her parents are away on a cruise. She's been friends with Nick for 4 years since their older siblings met a concert and thought they'd get along. But Hannah and Nick have never met. After a lot of badgering from her sister and her best friend, Hannah decides that they should take a road trip to Vegas to finally meet Nick. I love a good road trip novel, but nothing exciting happened on their trip. When they get to Vegas, Nick has a girlfriend he failed to mention. Basically the whole book is Hannah pining for Nick, but being too afraid to do anything about it. I like first person POV especially when there is a lot of internal monologue, which this book had, but it was too repetitive. Hannah drove me crazy! I wanted more action. The writing was good because this book made me so mad, but it didn't really make me want to keep reading it. It wasn't a book that I wanted to sit down and read at long stretches. Ultimately, the story was sweet. Nick was adorable - open and honest (most of the time) and so clearly in love with Hannah despite the girlfriend. Grace (the sister) and Lo (the best friend) were kind of awful. And Frankie (the girlfriend) was fun and super nice, and she had a blog, which I loved. I think this was a case of this book not being right for me. It's not a bad book, just not my taste. http://www.momsradius.com/2016/02/book-review-in-real-life-ya.html