Monday, March 28, 2016


With spring in the air, it seems fitting that our YA Diversity Book Club choice for March was a light-hearted rom-com. IN REAL LIFE by Jessica Love tells the story of Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper, two teens who have been best friends for years, even though they've never met.

Facing the prospect a slow, dull Spring Break, Hannah impulsively decides to drive to Vegas to see Nick. (Don't worry, she brings her big sister and best friend along.) But when she gets there, she learns that Nick hasn't been completely truthful with her -- about his band, his friends, or himself.

Hannah and Nick have excellent chemistry, both as friends and as maybe more. But outside of their tingle-inducing moments, my favorite aspect of the novel was something I didn't expect at all: the setting!

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Even though my parents are not gamblers, they love Vegas, so I've been many times throughout my life. I think author Jessica Love does a really nice job describing and making use of the unusual locale. (Unusual meaning we don't see it too much in YA lit.) She captures the energy and eclectic-ness of the Strip. She spotlights a few key landmarks and attractions, like the Eiffel Tower and the rollercoaster. And she also points out that this flashy Vegas is not the home of locals like Nick; it's the party spot, the tourist trap, the postcard. Nothing wrong with that. It's just an important note.

Las Vegas Strip 065

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Anyway, it's a good analogy, actually, for what's going on with Nick throughout the story. (And even Hannah, to a degree.) The way we show people only certain aspects ourselves, even if they may not accurately represent the whole picture.

Will Nick and Hannah learn to reveal their whole, true selves to one another? Before it's too late? You'll just have to read to find out.

* * * * *

For more on IN REAL LIFE, check out:

Our group discussion at The Reading Date
Q&A with author Jessica Love at Teen Lit Rocks

The entire YA Diversity Book Club archives can now be found on Tumblr, along with information about our upcoming book selections.

Next month we're reading FIFTEEN LANES by S.J. Laidlaw. Join us!

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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.


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on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Transparent
Froi of the Exiles
Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
Bitterblue
The Fault in Our Stars
Pretties


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