Guy in Real Life (Review)

Friday, December 4, 2015
Hi guys!! So I read Guy in Real Life back in January, but back then I didn't have a blog, so I never formally posted a review. I uploaded one to Goodreads at the time, but I figured I'd bring it to the blog since I just rediscovered this review and wanted to share it since I really enjoyed the book at the time. I will admit that my taste has changed over the past year, but I still think the book is worth a read.

Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary
Page Length: 386 pages
Format: Hardcover (purchased)
Date Read: December 28 - January 4

About Guy in Real Life (via Goodreads):

From the acclaimed author of Brooklyn, Burning comes Guy in Real Life, 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 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.
A girl rides her bike and nearly runs over a drunk boy on the sidewalk. This is the way that Svetlana Allegheny and Lesh Tungsten meet. As their lives cross for the first time, they quickly depart from each other's lives, not realizing that their lives have been greatly changed by this encounter.

What initially made me want to read Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff was, I admit, the cover and title. Although it is minimalistic, the cover was intriguing without being loud. The next thing that drew me in was the front flap summary, naturally. Not only did it pique my interest in a general sense, but the summary also reminded me of a book I absolutely adored: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. I was not expecting a book quite like Rowell's, as she is one of my favorite authors, but Steve Brezenoff's novel does hold dear to my heart in its own way.

Brezenoff deftly weaved teenage humor and wit into the story. I laughed out loud so many times I could not keep track, often surprised by the guffaw that would suddenly burst forth from my mouth. (Luckily nobody was in the room at the time, and equally if not doubly lucky that I do not guffaw on a regular basis.) Growing up with an older brother, I can very much confirm the way Brezenoff describes Lesh's gaming schedule: very often and for very long periods of time.

To be completely honest, I was quite worried about the gaming scenes, however Brezenoff easily held onto my attention by writing the gaming scenes from the perspectives of the actual avatars within the game, fully immersing me into the world of MMOs and RPGs.

As far as the romance between Svetlana and Lesh, I greatly enjoyed how complex, real, and raw the emotions were. It was far from insta-love, which I am quite glad about, and the gradual buildup made it all the more enjoyable. Although at times I wanted to scream at the characters for their stupid decisions and behavior, I knew in my heart that it was only what real people would go through. For that, I have to give Steve Brezenoff credit. I believe he was extremely accurate in his character development and relationship development. Although at times, I was not quite sure how it would work out between Lesh and Svetlana, two very different characters, I could truly see how, as the front flap describes, "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."

Despite many times where I felt my heart nearly getting wrenched out of my chest, the overall story was quite heartwarming. I believe the ending was a perfect ending to the book. It wasn't a true happily ever after, it definitely had it's fair share of bittersweet elements, but there was still hope by the end, and for me that was enough. I loved Lesh and Svetlana's journey throughout the pages of this novel, and by the end could see how they truly came out as better people in the end, through all the good and the bad, and with help from each other.


  1. Oh I was trying to do that will all the books I read before I started making my blog. Turns out it didn't really work well because I had nothing to say. So this book sounds amazing from your review but after reading the synopsis I just don't think it's for me. Wow 4 stars is so rare nowadawys in reviews. We, as bloggers, seem to be very harsh.

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

    1. Aww that's okay, Alex! I don't think this book is for everyone. In fact, I think it kind of reaches a very limited audience. But I enjoyed it at the time. I'm not exactly sure if I'd love it as much if I read it now, since I've read so many amazing books since (so I'm not sure if my rating would be the same), but I just left it since I just have no idea. And I know -- I used to rate things way too high, but I've been getting much much better at rating things now.