Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: March 1st, 2016
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: eARC from Netgalley
Summary (from Goodreads):
Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with 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, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Las Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.
Hannah's surprise romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. Hannah knows the real Nick can't be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has 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.
Okay, so I absolutely adored this book. It is really so far from anything that I would usually pick out for myself that I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about it, but I was very pleasantly surprised! This book was really quick and completely adorable! It kind of made me think of a teenage Hangover type story!
Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since the 8th grade when Hannah's sister and Nick's brother met and decided to hook up their siblings. They talk everyday about everything. Whether by phone or by text or by video chat. The only problem in their relationship is that they have never met in real life.
After one of their phone conversations, Hannah is getting picked on by her sister, Grace, and BFF, Lo, pretty much for denying that she has any kind of romantic feelings for Nick. She makes a split decision that they should use their spring break to go surprise Nick in Las Vegas where his band is playing a show the next evening. So they all pile into Grace's car and head to Vegas.
But Nick hasn't been entirely truthful about himself and their meeting isn't everything Hannah ever dreamed it would be. She spends an evening with a group of new friends exploring Las Vegas and trying to work up the nerve to tell Nick how she really feels about him.
I liked Hannah. I could really see my high school self in her. She is kind of a cautious, play by the rules kind of girl. She studies and gets good grades. She seems to think too hard about things and ends up making them more difficult than they need to be. She has so many things she wants to tell Nick, but she's scared to tell him because she had tried to deny it even to herself for so long. This impulsive decision to surprise Nick was her way of breaking the rules and trying to live a little!
Nick is adorable. He is kind of awkward in real life, doesn't seem to really know the right things to say or do, but neither really does Hannah. He's really private. He's super sweet and ahhh... just despite the circumstances of them meeting, I was just really rooting for Hannah and Nick to be together!
The romance in this book is so cute. Hannah and Nick have talked pretty much everyday for four years. They know everything about each other, but Hannah has a hard time admitting to herself that she has feelings for him. This is one of those incredibly frustrating books where things seem to be trying to work against them for the whole book. And then things get cute and it ENDS!
I just really enjoyed this book. It was a really quick read. It was fun and cute. I actually laughed out loud a couple of times while reading this book! I'm still just surprised that I liked this so much. I really don't usually choose contemporary books! I think what got me was the fact that I related to it! I had a nice boy that I used to talk to online for a couple years and kind of had feelings for. And considered going to meet. But that never worked out. It was fun reading about a situation where they got to meet and reminded me of those days!
I think that the only thing that bugged me about this book was how Hannah acted on the trip. As if they world revolved around her while they were on that trip. But at the same time, Grace and Lo both paired up with boys and pretty much left Hannah to deal with things alone when she needed their moral support. Which really annoyed me. Because I've been in that situation too. But really that's all that I can find to complain about.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book! If you're looking for something quick and easy to read with a completely adorable romance, you might like this book!
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.”
“A sweet, honest story that begins as so many of our relationships do: online.” —Emery Lord, author of Open Road Summer
“Love expertly creates a timely and entertaining story set on the glamorous Vegas strip, complete with rock and roll, gambling, love, and drama. Readers will relate to the characters in this book and their effortless use of technology to support relationships.” —School Library Journal
“[A] sweet story ideal for contemporary teens whose lives play out in similar computer-and-text-message-related ways.” —Booklist
“The story manages to find its heart when it focuses on Hannah and Nick's relationship. The warmth and intimacy of their friendship is convincing, and readers sighing over their long history will root for their relationship.” —Kirkus Reviews
“As Hannah and Nick work out the kinks of having to interact in person, they discover the advantages of taking things to the next level in this sweet, straightforward romance.” —Publishers Weekly
“A witty and entertaining story of friendship and secrets with a sparkly Vegas backdrop. Jessica Love knows love!” —Kristin Rae, author of Wish You Were Italian
About the Author
Jessica Love is a high school English teacher in Los Angeles, California, where she met her husband and her two tiny dogs online. She is the co-writer of Push Girl with Chelsie Hill.
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