Friday, November 7, 2014

Novel Review: Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance, Gamer
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)
Release Date: May 2014
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the acclaimed author of Brooklyn, Burning comes Guy in Real Life, an achingly real and profoundly moving love story about two Minnesota teens whose lives become intertwined through school, role-playing games, and a chance two-a.m. bike accident.

It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.

But they don't.

This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other's lives, who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn't belong in their lives. A story of those moments when we act like people we aren't in order to figure out who we are. A story of the roles we all play-at school, at home, with our friends, and without our friends-and the one person who might show us what lies underneath it all.

The Cover:

I really like this cover. It's simple and pretty, and it really shows true to the gamer part of the book, which is a big part.


“My doctor once told me that if you don’t have to actually do things—don’t have to actually move within a physical space—time ceases to exist, and we can dream a lifetime in the most fleeting moment, like absorbing every frame of a whole movie as a single image. I admit I don’t get it, but I do like it.” (ARC, pg. 226)

I was a bit surprised by this book, but I enjoyed it. I’m glad I got it.
This is definitely a gamer book, and I would recommend it to anyone who plays games, especially roleplay based ones. There are a few gaming chapters, ones where Lesh is playing in-game, and where Svetlana and the group are playing D&D. There is definitely some gamer appreciation here, and those chapters were more high-fantasy than I prefer, but they were well done.
I did enjoy the characters. I’m not even sure who I preferred more, probably Svetlana. She has to deal with her family, but I liked being in her head, and I understood her, her loner and misfit frustrations. Lesh has friends, but his friends are also kind of jerks, and he has to deal with his new thoughts on that. I did like that their parents are present—they do play a part in their stories.
The climax was surprising to me, as I didn’t think the story was going there. I liked that several of the characters had to deal with getting a job, which I related to a lot. And then I found the ending satisfactory. I wasn’t sure at first, as it was a little open and inconclusive, but I think it fits.
I’m overall pretty happy with this book. I enjoyed it, it was fun.

 A review copy was provided by Cuddlebuggery's Little Blogger, Big Ambitions project and Coranna at The Best Books Ever. Thank you so, so much!

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