LOVE, IRL | Kirkus Reviews

Teens forge an in-person connection online.

Two random Canadian teenagers start chatting in a random-people-chatting app, and both decide they want more. The two boys choose code names, Tristan and Dorian, to discuss their favorite books, roommate drama (Dorian left home and lives with a friend), and their growing attachment to each other and anxieties around meeting in person. In a story told almost entirely in chat transcripts, Alejandro Marquez and Jacob Greenspan, classmates and mild antagonists in real life, fall in love online. It’s only toward the end that the story reveals that the characters present in the few interstitial third-person chapters are the same ones baring their souls over text, but it’s so clearly laid out that the reluctant reader target audience will enjoy being in on the surprise and figuring things out before the characters do. In this extremely wholesome depiction of queer teen dialogue, cis Jacob responds with a perfect script when Alex discloses his trans history, and Jacob is a fan-fiction–style tough guy with a hard life hiding a secret cinnamon-roll interior. Authentic adolescent drama abounds over the course of the few weeks the characters meet, fall in love, and then meet for real. Neither characters’ racial or ethnic identities, hinted at in their names, are ever discussed

A light and fluffy queer romance.

(Romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: today

ISBN: 978-1-4594-1565-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: James Lorimer

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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