Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: May 2014
Synopsis: It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk 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. This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other’s lives, who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn’t belong in their lives. A story of those moments when we act like people we aren’t in order to figure out who we are. A story of the roles we all play-at school, at home, with our friends, and without our friends-and the one person who might show us what lies underneath it all.
Comments: I’m indifferent to this book, overall. I didn’t love it nor did I dislike it. What I enjoy the most are the chapters written in the MMO world. MMO= Massive-multi-online. Usually you’ll find RPG following those three letters. RPG = role playing game. Anyway, I found myself more invested and attached to the chapters written from the game view of the game characters. Maybe it’s cause I’m also a more-than-normal-habitual online gamer and it amuses me to read those chapters. Okay not maybe… it did amuse me. But overall, on the chapters that count… where the book focuses on the real people… I just couldn’t bring myself to care.
There are two main characters in this book: Lesh and Svetlana. The book alternates viewpoints between the two characters in first person point of view. Lesh is a metal person… Svetlana is bohemian-ish. The synopsis lies. Lesh isn’t a RPGer. He, in fact, doesn’t care for it one bit. He only goes into the MMORPG because he got grounded and his friend pushed him into it. I expected a gamer dude… which Lesh is not quite. And I don’t particularly care for Lesh. He just didn’t provoke any response from me. He felt too fluid… carried by the tide of the people around him. Readers are told how Lesh is… and is given things for Lesh to be these things… but he didn’t feel like his heart was in it. Svetlana I was more emphatic to but not by much. She had frustrations and self consciousness and seemed to care about them and how they made her feel. I guess I just wasn’t too impressed by the relation of these two characters. I appreciated the family life and portrayal in this book and the family and parental presence was great and nice to have in a contemporary novel. The two main characters, however, made me response-less. (I tend to make up words…)
The gaming aspect of it was nice, but I don’t think it was ground breaking. Males playing girls online. Gender Identity… As much as I would have liked the book to explore this aspect… it did not go there and find it really hard to take as I hear the gender identity and struggle thing a real “thought/question” about this book. There was no gender confusion at all in this book.
Ultimately, another not for me book.
(Covers are hyper-linked to their Goodreads’ page.)
Winter Town by Stephen Emond
Why the Recommendation: The relationship of both of these books seem to revolve around the difference of the two main coupled characters. In both pairs, the boys seems very different to their girls. In both relationships, there is always this lingering discomfort of awkwardness from the needs of the characters and the relationship they both are in. It’s not quite love – in the dreamy eyed, sighing sense – but the relationship must be more than friends, right? Right?
Why the Recommendation: Boy meet girls in unexpected ways. Okay not really but… Boy falls for girl because they are “forced” to do something they don’t really enjoy and the circumstances kinda brings them together. Both girls sew? Okay that was a weak attempt to link the similar themes in both books… but the start of both relationships do start off seemingly because both boys ended up doing something they don’t typically do because of parental forces, thus sparking the relationship with who could be the girl of their dreams.