Friday, June 21, 2013

Book Talk: YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE by Jennifer Castle

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.

When Justine was five a camera crew walked into her elementary and picked her table group at random to be the cast of a documentary series. Five at Six was a big hit, showcasing five average American kindergarteners as they plowed their way through the first year of school. It was so popular that a second film was green-lighted - Five at Eleven. And now it's time for Five at Sixteen... but Justine is holding out.

The rest of the cast - Rory, Nate, Felix and Keira - are in, but Justine struggles with making the commitment. She was the media darling at five; the confident star of the show at eleven. Now the world wants to know how she turned out at sixteen. But she's not even impressed by what she's done with her life.

Beyond her own insecurities, how can she explain that her once-best-friend Rory was a great pal in kindergarten, but that her autism became a stumbling block in the road of friendship as they grew? Or why the perfect and poised Keira - hijacked by a divorce announcement in an earlier film - seems to hate her for no particular reason? Should she admit that she can't stand the once sweet animal lover Nate, who has turned into an uber-jock? Or that Felix seems to want more from her than friendship and she can't return that?

High school relationships have never been easy, but it's so much worse when the entire world is watching.

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