Book Addicts: 'You Look Different' is smart, fresh, funny

June 16, 2013 

  • 'YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE' by Jennifer Castle; HarperTeen ($17.99)

Publisher's summary: Readers of John Green, Sarah Dessen and Laurie Halse Anderson will be touched by the emotional depth and realistic characters of Jennifer Castle's novel "You Look Different in Real Life."

Justine charmed the nation in a documentary film featuring five kindergartners. Five years later, her edgy sense of humor made her the star of a second movie that caught up with the lives of the same kids.

Now Justine is 16, and another sequel is in the works. Justine isn't ready to have viewers examining her life again. She feels like a disappointment, not at all like the girl everyone fell in love with in the first two movies. But, ready or not, she and the other four teens will soon be in front of the cameras again.

My take: I've never read any of Castle'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 she has disappointed herself a little: not living out the dreams or goals she had at 11; letting friendships go because they didn't "fit" anymore; and drifting away from others for reasons she doesn't really understand.

As Justine struggles to figure out what to show the camera and what the public wants to see, she ends up discovering herself. She finds out who she really is and who her friends really are, and grows 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 four stars, as well as those characters 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 out of 5 stars, worth the read.

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