Review: Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

18599748Title: Guy in Real Life
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date:
May 27, 2014
Pages: 386
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Series: Standalone
Source: Library
Rating: 4/5
Summary (from Goodreads):

An achingly real and profoundly moving love story about two Minnesota teens whose lives become intertwined through school, role-playing games, and a chance two-a.m. bike accident.

It is Labor Day weekend in St. 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; and 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.

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 My thoughts . . .

Guy in Real Life is unlike any YA novel I have ever read. It may seem like it solely focuses on life as a gamer, filled with fighting off mystical creatures and roleplaying, but it actually ventures into discovering oneself. Two main characters come into play who I have grown to love and admire, Lesh and Svetlana. Lesh: sixteen-year-old boy who dresses up in dark clothing, listens to metal, and soon finds himself sucked into the gaming world. Svetlana: seventeen-year-old girl who is the dungeon master at her school’s Gaming Club (whose members comprises of her close friends) takes her role seriously and enjoys drawing, sewing, and embroidery in her free time. As different as these characters may seem, they collide into each other early one morning and soon establish a friendship. I must admit, I found this book had some slow moments, but overall, I felt connected with the characters even though I have zero interest in RPGs.


This novel was very real; there was no sugar coating whatsoever. It covered life events (teenagers who drink and do drugs) and revealed that Lesh sometimes hung out with the wrong crowd. But luckily, it did not negatively affect him in the long run. It merely showed that not everyone is perfect and books can’t always hide the truth of reality. Some parts of the novel slowed down my progress, but there were moments that I adored. I loved reading about life as a gamer, but I most cherished the blooming relationship between Lesh and Svetlana. Both seemingly the exact opposite of one another, they somehow managed to connect and enjoy each other’s company. What I liked is that their relationship was slow and developed over time. It wasn’t a love at first sight ordeal. Although Lesh instantly developed a crush on Svetlana, Svetlana doubted her feelings and then soon accepted them.

Sometimes the characters got on my nerves at times, especially Svetlana who never wanted to spend time with her family (which saddened me) as well as what happened in the end on Lesh’s account (which infuriated me), but it’s easy for me to overcome these feelings because of how well crafted the story was and the very serious message portrayed.

What I also loved was that the book was written in two POVs, Lesh’s and Svetlana’s. It enabled you to get both sides of the story so you understood what went through both of their minds after a given situation.

Overall . . .

I would recommend this book, even if you have no interest in gamers in RPGs (like myself). As you read Guy in Real Life you will admire the uniqueness of this novel (a nice break from typical YA novels) and appreciate the original characters and their story.

* If you have already read Guy in Real Life, be sure to read this short story in Jelly’s POV:

Did you read Guy in Real Life? And if so, what were your thoughts on it?



One thought on “Review: Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

  1. Pingback: Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff | Lit Up Review

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