Title: In Real Life
Author: Jessica Love
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (Macmillan)
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
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.
Contemporary novels aren't my first choice when looking for review books, but sometimes I'm pulled in by a concept. In Real Life is an example of this. I grew up in the 90s & 00s when online friendships and relationships were new creatures, and I've traveled the spectrum personally. I read In Real Life to glimpse the online awkwardness through the eyes of the next generation.
I liked Hannah, her sister Grace, and best friend Lo a lot. Hannah reminded me of me in high school - overachiever, good-two-shoes, and fixated on the long-distance, unobtainable love interest. Except Nick isn't really a love interest - he's just her eBFF, who she bares her heart and soul to. Well, except when it comes to him. Speaking of Nick, I didn't really like him at first, but as the backstory was given to me - the reader - through flashbacks, I became a little more accepting of him.
The story is set mostly in Las Vegas, but I'm not sure how believable the teen antics are. I went for the first time in my thirties, and I got carded a great deal. I guarantee you that more attention was paid to my ID than Hannah and Lo's fake ones. That being said, I know that this is fiction, and I went along with it. I just wouldn't try it, dear reader, if you're underage and heading to Vegas.
In Real Life was an enjoyable enough read, but the writing was not as clean as it could have been. That may be because the book was an advance copy. I was finding myself skimming the pages from time to time. When I caught myself doing so, I would go back and reread, but I usually wasn't missing much. Hopefully that is tightened up by the pub date.
Overall, In Real Life was a fun buddy story, and I could definitely relate to a lot of it. I would read this author again for sure.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.