[eARC Review] Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

Monday, May 26, 2014

Title: Guy In Real Life
Series: None
Genre: YA Contemporary, Gaming
Format: Hardcover, 386 pages
Release Date: May 27th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads

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 St. 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; and 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.

From the author of the universally praised indie hit Brooklyn, Burning comes a funny, unforgettable, and completely original love story.

I went into this book knowing it was about online gaming, and I honestly thought I would be fine with the subject matter, but to be honest I felt very overwhelmed while reading and my inexperience of the subject matter really effected my enjoyment of this book.

Guy in Real Life follows two characters, Lesh and Svetlana and we get both of their POVs within the book. I always say that one narrator always appeals to me more, but honestly this time I disliked both of them equally. I don't want to be mean in this review because that is not how I review books. I always like to have a leveled review (that means both good and bad qualities) in each one I write. But I honestly i did not expect the amount of online gaming that appeared in this book. Not only was Lesh part of an online gaming community, but Svetlana was a Dungeon Master and therefore there was a whole other "world" that I was not familiar with. I feel like that hindered my enjoyment of the book A LOT. Most of the time I did not know of what I reading was part of a game of real life, and that got very confusing and frustrating over time.

The characters were another thing that I could not connect with, both Lesh and Svetlana were very reclusive and to themselves so we don't really get to see them interact with other people as much as I would have liked. I always say that dialogue is the key to getting to know a character, and when there is no dialogue, then I find it very hard to get to know a character. I will say that I really enjoyed the interaction between Lesh and Svetlanna because when they were together, I found myself reading faster and with a smile on my face. They were very cute, in that teenager way and I really enjoyed reading the growth of them together. Not so much when they are apart.

Overall I did not enjoy Guy in Real Life as much as I was hoping too. There was too much gaming and alternate worlds for me, a person who has NO interest in that world whatsoever, so I think that fact made it harder for me to connect to these characters considering I was not a fan of their pastimes. I will also say that the ending was not what I thought it would be and I was a bit disappointed to be honest. I felt a little cheated, and at at time very confused. But that ending just added to my overall dislike of the book, but if you love gaming and that kind of thing, I honestly think you will love this book.

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