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In Real Life by Jessica Love

In Real Life by Jessica Love
Pub. Date: March 1, 2016
Source: e-ARC via netgalley (Thank you, St. Martin’s Griffin!)
Summary: 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 Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

Hannah’s romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and meets Nick’s girlfriend, whom he failed to mention. And it turns out his relationship status isn’t the only thing he’s been lying to her about. 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.
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Sometimes you just need a light-hearted novel full of fun and fluff to get you through the day. Enter In Real Life. The moment I saw that beautiful cover I was intrigued. When I read the summary – two besties have never met and when one is finally ready to confess her feelings it totally backfires – I knew this was a book I wanted to read.

Ever since their older siblings met at a concert, Hannah and Nick have been best friends. Now, four years later, they still talk for hours, tell each other their secrets, know everything there is to know about the other. The only problem? They have never met in person. Since middle school, they have been carrying on their friendship online. After one disastrous attempt at meeting, they’ve never suggested it again. However, with her senior year coming to an end, good girl Hannah knows she can’t go anywhere by playing it safe all the time: she needs to see Nick and finally let him know that her feelings go far beyond a bestie.

With her older sister and (real life) best friend by her side, Hannah makes the 200-mile trip from California to Vegas where she plans on surprising Nick and his band at their first Big Deal show. When she gets to the concert, however, she realizes there were things Nick hasn’t told her about. …like Frankie, the super sweet girl on his arm. Or that his role in the band isn’t lead guitarist like she thought, but merch guy. Devastated, Hannah wonders what other secrets has Nick been hiding and is there any chance of saving their friendship?

In Real Life is exactly the kind of story to get lost in for the afternoon. Or, in my case, 1:00 in the morning. There’s a gooey, sugary sweetness to this story that I couldn’t tear myself from – especially once Hannah gets to Vegas and meets Nick’s girlfriend! I’ll be honest, I actually cringed during that scene.

With her sister and best friend immediately leaving her to hook up with Nick’s friends, Hannah is left playing the awkward third wheel and bouncing back and forth between wanting to tell Nick her feelings and being angry with him. I get he wasn’t completely up front about parts of his life, but I understand why. At one point he told her he had feelings for her and she rejected him in the worst way possible. Now she’s upset and hurt that he has a girlfriend. No way, Jose. So, SO much of the drama could have been spared if these two just talked. Instead Hannah literally runs away the second things go bad.

Don’t let my thoughts on Hannah’s attitude fool you: I really enjoyed this one. As someone with a few online friendships passing the 10-year mark (yikes, that makes me feel old!) and who has had the chance to meet some of them in person, I loved the premise behind In Real Life. While reading I was practically glued to the page and tore through it in record time, but an entertaining read doesn’t mean it’s without faults. I’m glad to have read it, I only wish there would have been more meat and substance to the story.

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