In Real Life by Jessica Love
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
There's a running meme about the television show Seinfeld that theorizes that the show would be basically uninteresting if they had cell phones, since most of the conflicts could have been resolved with them. In Real Life is kind of like that, except Seinfeld existed when cell phones weren't ubiquitous and In Real Life is a present day story where things like Google are real.
Hannah and Nick have been friends for ages, with phone conversations and online chats and such. They've also never met in real life. So Hannah decides to crash a concert for Nick's band in Vegas and she learns that there are things she doesn't know about Nick along the way.
The description sounds more like a cautionary tale than it really is. There's no real danger in the plot here, and Nick and Hannah do know each other, just not as well as they thought. Having basically experienced a lot of my teen years through online friendships, and having met many of my closest friends via the internet, this story isn't strange at all. What's strange is that the major plot point hinges on something that, with literally 5 seconds of Googling, would have been solved. It defies belief that Hannah would not have explored this specific plot point (which I'm not going to spoil here) pretty quickly, and it just throws the rest of the story into question. It all ends in a very tidy way, and that's all well and good, but this is such a blatant, avoidable flaw that I'm surprised that either a) no one caught it or b) it was seen and allowed to continue onward (especially since I can think of a half dozen ways to mitigate it without disrupting the plot).
Overall, just a major miss. I'd love to see a book like this that handles the topic of online/non-"real-life" friendship in a better, healthier way.
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