Wednesday 22 September 2021

BOOK REVIEW: Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes

Analee, In Real Life
Author: Janelle Milanes
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: 18 September 2018

Book Description:
Ever since her mom died three years ago, Analee Echevarria has had trouble saying out loud the weird thoughts that sit in her head. With a best friend who hates her and a dad who’s marrying a yogi she can’t stand, Analee spends most of her time avoiding reality and role-playing as Kiri, the night elf hunter at the center of her favorite online game.

Through Kiri, Analee is able to express everything real-life Analee cannot: her bravery, her strength, her inner warrior. The one thing both Kiri and Analee can’t do, though, is work up the nerve to confess her romantic feelings for Kiri’s partner-in-crime, Xolkar—aka a teen boy named Harris whom Analee has never actually met 
in person.

So when high school heartthrob Seb Matias asks Analee to pose as his girlfriend in an attempt to make his ex jealous, Analee agrees. Sure, Seb seems kind of obnoxious, but Analee could use some practice connecting with people in real life. In fact, it’d maybe even help her with Harris.

But the more Seb tries to coax Analee out of her comfort zone, the more she starts to wonder if her anxious, invisible self is even ready for the real world. Can Analee figure it all out without losing herself in the process?

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I wasn't sure what to expect with this one, especially after the first book I read from the Riveted by Simon Teen free read selection did not go over well, but I must admit, I quite liked being entertained by Analee and her crazy antics.

Analee Echevarria is a sixteen year old trying to get control of her life that somewhat spiralled after her mother passed away a few years ago. Following that traumatic, life altering event, Ana lost her best friend, Lily, who, from Ana's perspective, just shut her out of her life after starting a relationship with one of the popular boys at their school, Colton. If that wasn't bad enough, her father decides to invite his girlfriend, Harlow, and her eight-year-old daughter, Avery, to live with them, making her feel out of place in her own home. To add insult to injury, after only eleven months of dating and six months of living together, Ana's father announces his engagement to Harlow. Thankfully, Ana has her friend, Harris, to vent out all her frustrations. It's also a bonus that she has deep feelings for Harris, who may also feel the same way about her. The only problem is that she's never met Harris in real life, so she has no idea what he looks like or if he'll like what he sees. To complicate her life further, when her lab partner and school heartthrob, See Matias, suggest that they pretend to date each other to make his ex jealous and so Ana can become best friends with Lily again, Ana jumps at the chance to get her life back on track. The more Ana hangs with Deb, the closer they become to being friends and possible more than friends, which leaves her feeling more confused than she has ever felt since her mother's death.

I enjoyed Ana's journey as she tried to figure out who she was and what she wanted from her life. I liked the fact that there was a lot of interacting and bonding between Ana and her family as I feel that is often neglected in many YA books, so it was a refreshing addition. The only thing about this that had me not jumping out of my seat is the subtlety of plot and character development (not to say there wasn't any development as there was) and the lack of a climactic moment to leave a lasting impression. I liked Ana as a character, especially the fact that she wasn't a whiny character (thank goodness), and I am glad that her problematic situation wasn't fully resolved as though life can be fixed by a magic pill, but I would have liked more of a drive from her in terms of taking charge of her situation and taking risks (not with Seb, I must clarify) to accentuate her growth a little more. At the end, she still felt like the girl who was thinking too much instead of self actualising her thoughts as we saw in the beginning. Still, I did notice some growth despite its subtle portrayal.

A good and simple story about a girl on.a journey of self discovery.


Rating: 3 Star
Source: Riveted by Simon Teen

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