Today I’m honored to be a part of the blog tour for In Real Life by Jessica Love! I’ve got a review, excerpt, playlist, and giveaway of the book to share with you all. It’s a long post, so bear with me!
Here’s the playlist for the book on Spotify – listen while you read this post if you’d like! Check it out here.
In Real Life by Jessica Love | Goodreads
Release Date: March 1st, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, Skype all the time, regularly send each other 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 at school, she decides to finally break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Vegas, with her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-a-friend feelings for him.
Hannah’s romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and meets Nick’s girlfriend, whom he failed to mention to Hannah for the past three months. 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.
One of the reasons I was so excited for this book is because I relate to Nick and Hannah’s relationship. Their online relationship that blurs the line between in real life and only internet, the fantasizing about meeting them in real life but also a bit frightened. I’ve experienced that friendship with countless friends who I’ve made through blogging, and so for me, I hope that this book would succeed in encapsulating this relationship.
And it was. Hannah’s narration about her fears about meeting Nick, but also the crazy excitement. The feeling like they know you just as well as the people you know IRL, but also in a different way. I loved how real this book was – the awkwardness when you meet one another for the first time, but how it gets better. What makes In Real Life so great, though, is the surprise thrown Hannah’s way. You’re wanting Hannah and Nick to get together for the ENTIRE book, but there’s a girlfriend in the way (who I kind of hated) and the fact that both Hannah and Nick are completely frightened of telling the other one how they feel.
What results from this quandary, though, is an adorable and addicting novel. I was hooked from the beginning and read the entire book in about an hour and a half. Hannah and Nick are the kinds of friends I have, and their journey from friends to maybe something more results in both of them taking risks and following their heart. In Real Life funny, relatable, and the perfect novel to lose yourself in. For fans of contemporary, get this book – you’ll adore it – and for anyone who has internet friends, trust me, you’re going to love it. A lot.
CREDIT: In Real Life by Jessica Love; Courtesy of Thomas Dunne Books.
My best friend and I have never met.
We talk every day, on the phone or online, and he knows more about me than anyone. Like, deep into my soul. But we’ve never actually seen each other in real life.
Sometimes, when I’m talking to Nick, I wonder how we man- aged to get ourselves into such a bizarre, complicated friendship. At ﬁrst glance, our relationship probably doesn’t seem all that odd. Like right now, it’s the Friday afternoon that kicks off the spring break of my senior year. I’m lying out next to my pool with my feet dangling in the chilly water, my back ﬂat on concrete, and I’m talking to him on the phone. This is how I spend pretty much every Friday from 3:30 to 4:25-ish, before he goes off to band practice and I have one of my various school or family obligations. Sounds pretty normal.
But the thing is, Nick lives in a different state, 274 miles away. Yes, I looked it up.
“Ghost,” he says, because he never calls me Hannah, “you know I will do anything for my best friend, and this is no exception. I’ll have this girl killed for you without a second thought. Just give me twenty-four hours.”
I laugh as I swish my feet back and forth in the pool. “There’s no need to resort to murder. It’s just a stupid student government trip. I’ll be over it by the end of the week.”
As tempting as it is to plot Aditi Singh’s violent end, the only reason she applied to go to the national leadership conference when it should have been a given that the senior class president (aka me) was going was because I got into UCLA and she didn’t, so a big ol’ middle ﬁnger to her. But she can’t see my middle ﬁnger, because she’s in Washington, D.C., for spring break and I’m at home with no plans like a big loser.
“Well, if you change your mind,” Nick says, “just let me know. That’s how much our friendship means to me. The code word is ‘Platypus.’ Just say it, and—poof!—I’ll make her disappear.”
I sit up and pull my feet from the pool, crossing them in front of me. “And how can you do that?”
“Hey, I live in Vegas. I have connections to the mob. Everyone here does.”
“You’re a senior in high school, and you live in a tract home in Henderson. You’re not exactly Al Pacino.”
“You don’t know. Everything I’ve told you for the past four years could be a front. I need to have a cover. No one suspects the quiet, nondescript white boy.”
“You’re right. There is a lot I don’t know about you. I mean, there are any number of huge secrets you could be keeping from me.” I say it just because I’m playing along, but it’s not true at all. I’m pretty sure I know everything there is to know about Nick Cooper.
I know when my sister met his brother at a concert four years ago and they told us we should start talking online, he thought I was one of his brother’s friends playing a joke on him until I e-mailed him a picture. I know in the middle of junior year, he shaved his head when his favorite English teacher started chemo. I know the gravelly scratch of his voice when he wakes up in the middle of the night to answer one of my random “I’m bored, talk to me” phone calls. I know the hole in the sleeve seam of the lucky Rage Against the Machine T-shirt he inherited from his brother, Alex, since I’ve seen so many pictures of it. I know his middle name (Anthony), the date and time he was born (September 24 at 3:58 A.M.), and his favorite color (gray). And he knows more about me than absolutely anyone else, even the über-embarrassing stuff. We’ve IM’d, texted, sent a million pictures, mailed each other packages, video-chatted, and talked on the phone.
We’ve just never been in the same place at the same time.
I don’t think it’s strange to be so close to someone I’ve never met. Yeah, he’s in Nevada and I’m in Southern California, but I talk to him more than to people I’ve been in classes with since kindergarten. I do wish we could go to the movies together or something normal like that, but we watch the same movies at the same time and mock them over video chat, which is pretty much the same thing.
On the other end of the phone, his laugh stops abruptly and his voice changes. “Secrets? What kind of secrets could I have?”
“Who knows!” I try to sound shocked and serious, but I can’t keep a laugh from creeping in. “For all I know, you do have a secret mob life. Do you have some sort of gangster name I’m supposed to call you?”
His voice lightens again when he realizes I’m joking. “Oh yeah. Knuckles Nick. Or, no. Wait. Nick the Click.”
“What does that even mean?”
“I don’t know. It rhymed. Don’t those names always rhyme?”
“I know nothing about mob names, Nick the Click. But rhyming names do make mobsters seem a bit less murder-y.”
There’s a shufﬂe, a thump, and a squeak on his end of the phone, and I imagine him collapsing backwards onto his twin bed. “I just hate that you’re still bummed over missing out on the trip.”
“It’s not that I’m bummed, it’s just . . . I followed all the rules, Nick. I did exactly what I was supposed to do. Serving four years as class president means I go on that trip, not Aditi Singh. Onetime vice-presidents don’t get to go! It’s supposed to be my year. She broke the rules, but she got picked. How do you break all the rules and get what you want like that? It isn’t fair.”
“Well, you know what they say. . . .”
“Life’s not fair?”
“Well, that, too. But I was thinking rules are made to be broken.”
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The giveaway is open until March 8th, and is open US + Canada only. Thanks so much to St. Martin’s Griffin for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour, and for reading!