You know that book you got simply because of the cover? Well, this is the one that did it for me. There’s just something about those two girls making silly/glam faces that reminded me of the best times in high school, hanging out and goofing off with friends.
And the great thing about the novel is that it does capture the spirit of the cover. High school junior Roz is overdramatic in an endearing way – she wants to play Rosalind, the lead in the school play of Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT (even though normally the lead would go to her older sister, the more popular Eva) and would go to great lengths to get it. She also pines for Eva’s boyfriend Bryan and often “invents” love scenes between them. She’s very enthusiastic and exuberant, and jumps into situations without really thinking them through.
AS YOU LIKE IT, a play with elaborate gender reversals (Rosalind disguises herself as a man through much of the play), fits perfectly in this story that explores the sometimes blurred lines of sexual orientation. Just as Rosalind plays at being a man, Roz plays at being a lesbian (in a half-baked scheme to get her sister to come out) and learns some surprising things along the way. Although this idea really works on a conceptual level, I have to say it’s not that believable on a realistic level. Roz is written as a pretty self-confident teen – but confident enough to let taunts and slurs simply roll off her back? Now that is some super-human self-assurance.
Even though the story can be messy at times and it can be confusing to tell what is invented and what is real, I think it would be a great read for Shakespeare enthusiasts (for the Shakespearean insults alone), the drama crowd, and those interested in GLBT lit.
MY INVENTED LIFE is available now in hardcover. Find out more about it on the author’s website.
And as an extra bonus, I give you some silly photos of me and my friend Sommer in HS: