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Monday, May 26, 2014

Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff [Review]

Title: Guy in Real Life
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Pages: 400
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
ISBN: 0062266853
Source: From Publisher for an honest review

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.

I wasn't sure what to think of GUY IN REAL LIFE initially.

Not many people know this, but I used to be a gamer. I was a terrible gamer, but a gamer nonetheless. I was a player in the World of Warcraft, and this book took me back to days where I raided and wiped the group over and over and over...

I also played DND for a while, though our group was definitely more focused on killing things than they were on the story, which is probably why I quit, I have experience doing both of the big activities in the book and I can say, it definitely brought back memories.

It's a world that if you're not a part of it - it gets really hard to understand. 

The book begins with a chance meeting, an ordinary run in that becomes more than that as the story is told. I'll be completely honest, not much happens in this book. It's very much a wake up, go to school, game, repeat kind of novel. It tells a story of average everyday life and while I don't think this is a problem I did fight the urge to put it down a few times.

I liked the story, and the characters, but I did feel it lacked action. It wasn't until the last seventy five pages or so that something BIG occurs, and this something big had me rethinking everything that I knew before.

I liked it, but I didn't love it.

I liked Lana, I think she and I would have been friends. Her focus on sewing, gaming, and doing other awesome things that others probably don't see as awesome was great for me.

Lesh felt less real to me. There were times when I really felt for him, but this may just be because I still haven't wrapped my head around the ending.

Which brings me to...
The ending is very abrupt, and I don't feel like it has a true conclusion. I know that it's almost a "What ending do you want" thing where you're supposed to determine how you feel - but I spent so little time knowing anything about this last part of the book that I don't know how I feel or what I think.

It wasn't a bad ending, it kind of blew my mind a little, but I wish I knew what actually happened.  I know this review is a bit strange, and it may sound as if I didn't like it, but that's really not the case. I did enjoy reading it, but the ending took me off guard and I feel like another read through would help me put together the pieces a bit more.

Overall: I would recommend this book, specifically to boys who like to game or if you're wanting to read something a little bit different. The idea is original and overall it is delivered, but watch out for the ending - pay attention to everything!

If any of you have read this title and wish to discuss the ending with me... please do. I want to know what others thought.


Tammy Oladipo said...

I read it and I even did a review of my own. I agree with you mostly except on one thing (and maybe this is just because I like books so much). I could barely put it down. I so badly wanted to know what would happen to them AT THE END you know. It felt like something with a capital S was going to happen. The ending threw me for a loop for a moment but I got it. He's the writer anyway.

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