Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Both Kyla and Alex are lost. They feel so alone, despite everyone around them, and don't have anyone that truly understands their uncertainties, fears, and insecurities. Both deal with their feelings in different ways. For Kyla, it's partying and the never ending parade of guys. Alex, an introvert, seeks comfort in ballet. When they meet up in an online chat room, they find understanding and acceptance in each other. But despite their connection online, meeting face-to-face is different, and they find that neither of them are exactly the same as they are online. Can their relationship endure?
Written by Sara Kadefors, a Swedish author, Are U 4 Real was originally published in Sweden and is its bestselling YA novel of all time, and with good reason. Kyla and Alex's characters are full of depth and dimension, from Alex's uncertainties about dancing and wanting to discover his true motivations for continuing it, to Kyla's confusion and her fierce protectiveness and independence. Both Alex and Kyla are struggling with their identities and figuring out who they are and who they want to become. Their efforts and the pressures exerted on them don't always make them the best people, and they continually mess up in their search for acceptance. Both make mistakes, and both learn how to correct them and admit they were wrong, which is one of the most important and endearing aspects of the novel. Kadefors also deal with the issue of coping, and demonstrates how different people can be, despite how they may feel inside.
Despite the writing being occasionally vague and slightly bumpy in spots (which may be a result of how the novel translated into English), Are U 4 Real is a realistic, straightforward, and appropriately and believably complex novel for anyone who has ever felt alone in life. It’s a book about reaching out, searching for connections, and learning how to deal with differences and mistakes. Are U 4 Real? is as genuine as it gets.
Cover Comments: Though I would have expected something a little more serious for the cover of this novel, I do like it. The computer mouse influence is cute, and I like the colors used, though I would argue that it makes the book appear to be more of a light-hearted romance than it is. I don't love the cover, but I like it, and it works just fine.
Also, besides being Sweden's bestselling YA book of all time and winning the Swedish equivalent of the National Book Award, Are U 4 Real? was also made into a movie called Sandor Slash Ida (the book's Swedish title). I was able to track down a trailer for it with English subtitles. What do you think?