Monday, February 3, 2014

Review: My Invisible Boyfriend - Susie Day

My Invisible Boyfriend by Susie Day
Genre: YA, comedy, contemporary, romance
Published on April 1, 2010
Published by Scholastic Press
Pages: 288
Read From: 1.18.14 - 1.19.14
Final Rating: 3/5 strawberries

Heidi has the perfect solution to her popularity problems - a fake boyfriend. She's even made him a real-life Internet profile that makes him look like a motorcycle-riding bad boy who reads poetry for fun. *swoon* Heidi's friends are impressed. So impressed they start e-mailing Heidi's fake boyfriend for advice about their own problems. Including their problems with, um. . . .Heidi. 
As if that weren't bad enough, a mysterious, rather delicious, and possibly single person who calls himself "A Real Boy" e-mails Heidi to say he knows the truth. Can Heidi escape from her (worldwide) web of lies before it's too late? Or will her chance at a real romance disappear faster than you can type gtg?  
There's only one thing that's certain: A fake boyfriend causes a lot of real problems.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Well, considering that this is a chick-lit, I can't exactly say much about the cover, because it does fit the genre. And since I'm not a fan of chick-lit in general, I'm also not a big fan of chick-lit cover art. This one is better than most, because it at least has something going on, whereas most chick-lit books are like Sarah Dessen - there's nothing happening. It's just . . . a sunset. Or a random pair of legs. Yawn.

Characters: Heidi was rather adorable in all of her nerdiness. She also had a good sense of humor that made for an amusing narration style. I totally sympathized with her feeling like she'd suddenly lost her friends as they all became interested in having boyfriends and not doing their usual stuff. But wanting so badly to fit in to the point where she made up a boyfriend? Hm. Her friends were all pretty cliche - actually, they were extremely cliche. There was the ditsy friend who said "like" and "omg" way too often, the Goth friend with the serious chip on her shoulder (I liked her, though), and the gay guy friend. Surprisingly, though, Dai (the gay guy friend) didn't irritate me nearly as much as I thought he would. I actually kept forgetting that he was a guy (mostly due to his name. How is that pronounced anyway? Day? Die?) The invisible boyfriend - Ed - was rather amusing, too.

The Romance: This is a chick-lit, and is therefore steeped in teen romance. Not a fan, hence why I don't read a lot of chick-lit. I can't say that I was interested in any of the pairings, especially not Dai's boyfriend Henry (at least they didn't kiss). And Heidi's romantic escapades were interesting. ;-)

Plot: Heidi and her friends have always been the misfit band at the exclusive boarding school they attend. But suddenly all of her friends are interested in boys and don't seem to want to be the misfit gang anymore. There's only one thing for Heidi to do: she invents a boyfriend for herself, who conveniently lives up in London so no one can meet him. But as her deception becomes more elaborate, she has to create an online social network profile for him, and that's when the trouble begins. Suddenly her friends are emailing "Gingerbread Ed" about their problems - including their problems with Heidi. And then someone named "A Real Boy" contacts Heidi - and he knows her secret. My Invisible Boyfriend has a pretty typical romantic comedy plot: misfit girl looks for true love, hilarious (or not so hilarious) chaos ensues, friends are misunderstood, and everything turns out well in the end amid giggles and smiles. Not my kind of story, right? Well, My Invisible Boyfriend actually was kind of fun in a "I have nothing better to do; let's read something different" sort of way. It was sugary and it was silly and it was mushy. Heidi keeps digging herself in deep with this massive lie and any moment she's going to be tripped up. This book has a few things going for it: one, it's not very long. Two, it takes place in England, and therefore everyone in it (including Heidi) is in some way British, which somehow made things funnier. Three, everyone is curious to see how an "invisible boyfriend" prank will turn out, so how could I refuse? Oh yes, and the hidden nerd references. Mycroft Christie - a time traveling detective with a pretty companion? Hm, sounds a bit like a Doctor Who reference to me. Yes, the plot drags - there's only so much of high school life and teen drama I can take. I enjoyed the moments when Heidi was elaborating on her boyfriend Ed, but the in-between stuff was pretty dull.

Believability: Well, Heidi does a good job of faking her boyfriend in a believable way.

Writing Style: First person, present tense. There are a lot of snippets of emails and instant messaging, but that was okay. I got used to that sort of writing a long time ago. I'm not sure, but I think there were a few moments when the narration switched to past tense, and then back to present, which got confusing at times. Since Heidi is the narrator, her humor is a constant in this book. It was rather amusing to see how her brain worked, but at times it got a little irritating. We get it, Heidi - you're obsessed with Mycroft Christie.

Content: Kissing, teen drunkenness and sly winks towards so-and-so sleeping together. Nothing serious.

Conclusion: Right when the plot really started to drag, A Real Boy shows up! And it got to be interesting again. Except Heidi really needs to work on her deductive skills, because I had the identity of A Real Boy pegged from the very beginning. And it got super annoying that it took so bloody long for Heidi to finally figure it out. It, in fact, made her look pretty dense. But as is typical with chick-lit and romantic comedies, the conclusion is all happiness and giggles with everything resolved. My Invisible Boyfriend is not my typical read, and I have no intention of making chick-lit a regular habit. But a coworker said I would find this one amusing, and I thought, "Why not give it a try? I'm in the mood for something completely different." While this will never be a favorite book, and I'd never read it again, it was rather amusing and kinda sweet. A good weekend read.

Recommended Audience: Girl-read, fifteen-and-up, good for fans of chick-lit and romantic comedies.

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