Title: Guy In Real Life
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Published: Balzer & Bray, May 2014
Genre: Young adult
How I got the book: I got it as a gift
“Boy and girl collide on a dark street in Saint Paul, Minnesota, at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Bjork 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.
I got this book as a Christmas gift and I was surprised when I first opened it. It’s rare that I receive a book that something thinks I might like. I was excited to try something new and, after reading the blurb, I found it especially interesting because it’s centered around video games, one of my favorite things.
Lesh and Svetlana are the two protagonists. They both had dull personalities and boring home lives. Each one of them kept to themselves most of the time, Lesh really only having one good best friend, Greg, and Svetlana having a small group of friends she role-played with.
I felt as though they were a good choice of protagonists because even though they were “different” from one another and their lives intertwined, they really weren’t different from each other at all. It was interesting to see each of their lives, how they dealt with certain situations, and how they kept one another standing.
This is where my confusion comes in. From the summary, the protagonists bump into each other and end up friends. Cute romance story, right? Well, yes, they bump into each other one night when Lesh is drunk, but that’s about it. They end up sitting together at lunch the next day at school because Svetlana is trying to get away from someone. This is the extent of their friendship/relationship for more than half of the book. They didn’t start really hanging out with one another until there was about 100 pages left or so in the book. They took things very slowly.
In the meanwhile, Lesh creates Svetlana in his MMORPG game and pretends to be her. That was out of left field for me and for a while I thought this book had a deeper meaning to it: Lesh may be struggling with wanting to be a girl. The point is, he doesn’t know what he wants.
While there was a plot, and it was good, weird, but good, I felt as though the summary was misleading. The book was not at all what I had originally thought it would be.
Steve Brezenoff has a great way with words. Each chapter alternated (for the most part) between Lesh’s POV and Svetlana’s, as well as Svvetlana’s (Lesh’s gaming character).
However, I felt as though there wasn’t too much of a difference between Lesh and Svetlana. They both had similar personalities and therefore they had the same voice sometimes. They weren’t really unique from one another. I found myself more submerged in Svvetlana’s world than the real characters. But that could just be the gamer in me.
This was a good read. I was excited to try something new and I wasn’t disappointed. The story definitely got weird at times and I think that was because it was out of left field from me. The summary was misleading and the characters could be bland at times. But, if you’re interesting in a boy-meets-girl type of a novel mixed with a little gaming here and there, this is one to try.
Guy In Real Life by Steve Brezenoff gets…
4 out of 5 stars
“I can’t quite look at her directly, after a quick nod of acknowledgment, because it’s like staring at the sun.” –Steve Brezenoff, Guy In Real Life
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