Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Publication Date: September 2009
What would you do for your sister? How far would you go to make sure she was happy and with the person she loved? Sisters Roz and Eva used to be close, until Eva pretty much deleted Roz from her life a few months ago. Roz knows that something is going on with her sister, but doesn't know how to figure out exactly what it is. Dramatic and prone to random acts, Roz dreams of getting the lead in the school play, As You Like It, and maybe stealing Eva's boyfriend. In an attempt to get Eva to open up, Roz invents a girlfriend. Soon, the school is buzzing about Roz and Eva is irate. From an unexpected source, Roz figures out that just maybe by paying more attention to what is going on around her she might find out how to help Eva.
The first time I read My Invented Life, I wasn't sure what to expect. I initially picked it up because it was a 2009 debut, but I was very happy that I did. Reading it for a second time with the knowledge of how everything turns out, I found myself even more drawn into the story. Ms. Bjorkman does a great job of showing just how confusing high school can be for certain teens and that having people willing to help you navigate the confusion and uncertainty can make all the difference. She also includes a wide range of characters, so that almost all readers can find someone they relate to.
Told from Roz's point of view, My Invented Life included a funny, updated look at As You Like It. I really liked Roz as the main character, even though she was overly dramatic, a bit of a blabbermouth, and oblivious to a lot of what was really going on around her. Her sister Eva, on the other hand, is more reserved and quite private. Much of the conflict between the sisters comes out of them having different personalities. It was obvious just how much Roz loved Eva and how much it hurt when Eva literally deleted her from her life. The lengths she went through to find out why Eva froze her out really got across just how much she wanted them to be okay again. The scenes where it was just the two of them were my favorites because you could see how much of Roz's self-worth and confidence was tied in to being compared to and being rivals with her sister.
Even though Roz and Eva were the central pair, the other characters felt very real. Each of them was unique and the group together really captured the range of personalities that can be found in high school. It was interesting to see the changing pairs and the dynamics each pair brought to the story and to their interpretation of As You Like It. Throughout rehearsals, acting lessons, and chat room conversations the reader really gets to see each character's true personality.
My Invented Life was a quick read that dealt with heavy topics in a funny, lighthearted manner. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to lovers of Shakespeare, humorous stories, or those who are looking for a book that deals with identity and figuring out exactly who you are.