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Guy in real life
2014
Availability
Fiction/Biography Profile
Genre
Young adult fiction
Romance
Topics
School
Love
Labor Day
Friendship
High school students
Setting
Saint Paul, Minnesota - Midwest (U.S.)
Minnesota - Midwest (U.S.)
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Publishers Weekly Review

Ever since sophomore metalhead Lesh Tungsten collided with geeky 17-year-old outsider Svetlana Allegheny on the street, he can't get her out of his head. When she begins to join him at lunch to thwart a classmate's lecherous advances, focusing on anything but her becomes nearly impossible. Meanwhile, Lesh is being drawn into a multiplayer online RPG, but the avatar Lesh most enjoys playing as a buxom elf he names Svvetlana-doesn't exactly distract him from her real-life counterpart, who is struggling to keep her Dungeons & Dragons-style gaming club afloat. Brezenoff (Brooklyn, Burning) successfully immerses readers in the characters' progression from awkward acquaintances to adorably besotted teens. In addition to alternating between their perspectives, he also spends time within both the digital and analog RPGs, exploring sexism and gender stereotypes, while highlighting the way that both types of games are often driven by a novelistic kind of storytelling (even if some gamers skip past those scenes). An idiosyncratic romance that offers plenty of cultural food for thought. Ages 14-up. Agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-After some late night drinking at a heavy metal show, high school sophomore Lesh Tungsten literally runs into senior Svetlana Allegheny when her bicycle crashes into him. What begins as an accident evolves from wariness to friendship, especially after Lesh discourages an unwanted admirer of Svetlana's. They soon discover their mutual interest in gaming-he, online, and she, role-playing-and as they navigate their differences, the teens learn that the roles they play aren't as important as who they really are, especially when together. Whether reading it as a brief glimpse into the world of gaming and MMOs (massively multiplayer online games), a romance, or a tale of self-discovery, Brezenoff's novel works on many levels, and its depth and humor will appeal to many readers. Told in the alternating voices of Lesh, Svetlana, and their online personae Svvetlana and Kugnar, the story deftly navigates the real and virtual worlds of the characters, and while the gamer-speak can be a bit much, it gives the audience a better understanding of who Lesh and Svetlana truly are. Although they are flawed and have traits that are unlikable, they come across as authentic teens who will have readers rooting for them as individuals and as a couple. Their sweet-natured romance isn't overly saccharine and offers a charmingly awkward look at first love, and the supporting characters, particularly Svetlana's friends, are well developed and just as quirky as the main protagonists. For fans of Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl (St. Martin's, 2013), gamers, and readers in-between.-Audrey Sumser, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Mayfield, OH (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

Lesh wears a black trench coat and listens to heavy metal. Svetlana embroiders her flowing skirts and blasts Bjork. Lesh, with his bad-boy persona, appeals to Lana in a way she would have never anticipated. And Lesh's attraction to Lana is so intense that he creates an elf princess, Svetlana, in a MMO game with Lana's same long blond hair and lithe body. Soon Lesh finds that he can't wait to play the game and assume a female persona. In the swift, action-­filled chapters that describe Lesh's game, Lana grows in strength and integrity and gains an admirer. Meanwhile, IRL, Lana copes with her disintegrating after-school gaming club, which plays tabletop RPGs. As with Lesh's online-gaming adventures, Lana's game scripts play out in engaging stories. The overall effect of the novel, then, is of marvelous fantasy sequences interspersed with the messiness of real-life romance. Lesh's predicament that he loves becoming Svetlana as much as he loves Lana is presented sweetly and believably. Like his easy evocation of gender-free characters in his Brooklyn, Burning (2011), Brezenoff deftly handles one teen's experience of gender dysphoria.--Colson, Diane Copyright 2010 Booklist

  Horn Book Review

Sophomore metal-head Lesh meets geeky and artistic senior Svetlana, and, intrigued by her, does exactly what any hardcore gamer would do: he reproduces her as an elven character in a MMO. Told from the alternating perspectives of Svetlana, Lesh, and their gaming equivalents, this novel presents teens with acutely realistic voices navigating social groups, relationships, and the realities within fantasy worlds. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
<p>From the acclaimed author of Brooklyn, Burning comes Guy in Real Life, an achingly real and profoundly moving love story about two teens that National Book Award-finalist Sara Zarr has called "wholly original and instantly classic."</p> <p>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.</p> <p>But they don't.</p> <p>This is a story of the roles we all play--at school, at home, online, and with our friends--and the one person who might be able to show us who we are underneath it all.</p>
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