Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Pub Date: March 1st 2016
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
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 Las Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.
Hannah's surprise romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. 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.
My first thought when I read this synopsis was “OMG… CATFISH!!!” I had to know what Nick’s big secret was! Is Nick really a girl? Does he look totally different from what Hannah thinks he’s supposed to? Is he older and married?! Etc. A million possibilities crossed my mind and I just had to know!
In Real Life is a super cutesy read about a millennial love story of two people, Hannah and Nick, who were matched up to be friends by their siblings. Hannah’s sister and Nick’s brother met at a concert, hit it off, and both felt their siblings would hit it off as well. For four years now Hannah and Nick have built a super solid friendship filled with tons of inside jokes and real support for one another. Only problem is they’ve never met. She lives in Orange County and he lives in Las Vegas. Hannah is one to always abide by the rules, but it only takes a little bad influence from her hometown bff Lo and her rebellious sister Grace to embark on a roadtrip to Sin City and surprise Nick!
One of my favorite things about this story is the super diverse characters! We have Hannah and Grace who are both Korean, Nick who’s white, and Lo representing Mexicans. A little bit of everything! Hannah plays the more common role of super smart, senior class president, abides by the rules Korean while Grace is the boy crazy black sheep. I loved that Jessica Love didn’t follow any script and really made this story her own.
I’ve got two things to say about Nick that made me really dig his character: His profile picture was the House of Stark logo (#WinterIsComing #TheNorthRemembers) and he went to a super fancy restaurant and ordered tacos. LOL My kind of man!
Although this story is aimed for a younger age group, I could at times relate to some of the characters. Hannah and I are both over thinkers and I found it hilarious how things as simple as someone being an hour late would make her instantly think they must have been kidnapped! I’m not proud of this, but an overactive worrisome imagination is something I suffer from at times. Lol They couldn’t have possibly just ran late; they were obviously in a car accident on their way home and what if the person they crashed with got so angry that they kidnapped them and now have them tied up in their basement!! Haha I shit you not, this really goes through my mind. All in a span of 10 seconds! Those kind of moments when an author writes about something you can really relate to helps you bond with their book in a special way.
There were two major things that really put a damper on the story for me. The first was how bratty and whinny Hannah could be at times. We get it. This is a roadtrip that would not have happened if it wasn’t for you, but bring it down a few notches. I understand that her character is young so I cut her a lot of slack for that, but she really pushed it at times. The second thing I disliked were some of the things done about Nick’s big surprise. I’m keeping this totally spoiler free, so I can’t go into details, but once you read the story you’ll know exactly what I mean. I just wasn’t okay with how things went down and I wish they would’ve been handled better.
All in all, this is a really quick read with a youthful feel. I’ve heard before that reading is a cheap way to travel and this book nails it in that department! Jessica Love does such a great job with description and will have you feeling like you’re in Vegas yourself!