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ARE U 4 REAL? by Sara Kadefors


by Sara Kadefors

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3276-6
Publisher: Dial

Alex and Kyla feel trapped in their respective lives—he as a socially outcast ballet dancer fulfilling his mother’s dreams by proxy, she as a lonely, hard-partying Hollywood girl barely propping up her depressed mom—and both think they’ve found a true friend in an online chat room. Beginning with half-truths and outright lies, the teens quickly drop their façades to be “4 real” with each other. Friendship turns to a crush as supportive, combative, bantering, flirtatious e-mails between the teens punctuate the alternating strands of their struggles with homophobic bullying, crippling shyness, ghastly frenemies, drunken misjudgments and parents who just don’t understand. Their first face-to-face meetings are disastrous, as they allow anxiety and the skepticism of others to poison their idyll, but even after months of no contact, neither can shake the possibility that they share something special. Predictable but addictive plotting, combined with Alex’s and Kyra’s trenchant, deeply conflicted inner monologues, will keep readers rooting for these two crazy kids to navigate the messy transition from online to real-life romance. (Fiction. YA)