I loved how You Look Different in Real Life focused on topics other than romance! There is a minor romance at the end, but the story is firmly focused on friendship, family, and finding your true self. Justine, Nate, Felix, Rory, and Keira haven't really spoken since their last film, with the exception of Justine and Felix who are BFFs. The filmmakers don't want to fabricate any storylines, but it becomes almost necessary since the teens have nothing to do with each other. However, when one of them finds themself in a difficult situation, the other four team up to help them and offer support. This is also where Justine finds her place: behind the camera, capturing their moments away from the pressure of a film crew.
There was also a good amount of diversity within You Look Different in Real Life. Felix is Hispanic, which was exploited in the earlier films, by showing him translating for his parents who didn't speak English well enough. Keira is half black and half white, dealing with a mother with mental health issues. And Rory is on the Autism spectrum, which is something I've only read about once before. I ending up really loving all of Rory's scenes, and witnessing her interactions with the world and with Justine who used to be her best friend. There are also gay characters, one of which is struggling to come out, but I won't spoil who that is.
In the end, I really enjoyed You Look Different in Real Life. It was definitely different than other YA books I had read, without being too over-the-top unique. It handled some sensitive issues really well, I think, and I loved the messages about being true to yourself.
Read more of my reviews at Pinkindle Reads & Reviews.