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My Invented Life Hardcover – CLV, September 29, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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A brilliant new novel about a young man who overcomes a crippling loss and finds the courage to live after meeting an enigmatic girl. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Self-proclaimed drama geek Roz Peterson has an active fantasy life, which she often confuses with reality. She thinks that her sister Eva, who is no longer confiding in her, is a lesbian and in love with her friend Carmen. Roz dreams of Eva's boyfriend, Bryan, reciprocating her longtime crush. In an effort to encourage her sister, Roz decides to come out at school and invent a new sexual identity for herself as a lesbian, the only problem being that she is basically heterosexual. The hapless Roz is an exceptionally unreliable narrator who makes clumsy attempts to figure out what is going on with all the other people in her life. All this real-life gender-bending takes place during the drama club's production of As You Like It. This novel is particularly good at evoking teenage confusion about sexual preference and identity, and Bjorkman's depiction of the drama-club crowd is absolutely spot-on, especially the characters' trading of Shakespearean insults online and the practical jokes they play on one another. Narrator Roz is funny, well intentioned, and likable despite her cluelessness, and she is surrounded by a realistic cast of adult and teen characters representing a wide variety of viewpoints and sexual preferences. This is an enjoyable read that will be especially appealing to theater aficionados.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Bjorkman sets her debut amid the high school theater crowd, peppering Roz's internal narration with imagined scenarios and Shakespearean humor, evoking all the drama inherent in putting on a play. Roz's voice is witty and genuine as she moves through the ups and downs of coming out (and eventually coming clean). Evocative of Boy Meets Boy and Dramarama, this makes for fun, thought-provoking reading.” —Publishers Weekly

“This debut is a supportive, enjoyable read.”—Booklist




Product Details

  • Hardcover: 233 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1st Edition edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805089500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805089509
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,016,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up on a sailboat, sharing the tiny forecastle with my sister and the sail bags. Against all odds, we are still friends. We started sailing in California and ended in Argentina. My favorite stops along the way were Costa Rica, Panama, Isla Providencia, Key West, the Azores, the Canary Islands, and Brazil.

During our voyages, my sister drew beautiful paper dolls for the both of us. We sewed amazing wardrobes for our stuffed animals. We became excellent swimmers and beach combers. We made up new lyrics for old songs. Canned food dominated our meals on crossings, so we really appreciated fresh fruit when we came into port. I dreamed of ice cream on the open ocean.

We kept up with school through a program called Calvert out of Maryland.

My dad read to us at night by the light of a kerosene lamp. Since then, I've always loved stories and wanted to write my own.

I live in Taos, New Mexico with my husband, and two sons. We often see coyotes outside our window.

For more, please visit my website at http://www.laurenbjorkman.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have a sister (nah, you don't say). I also have a best friend. The subject in those two statements are one in the same. In that way I can relate to much of what Roz is feeling with her sister. At some point, although it's easy to remain close, you also grow apart, it's simply a part of life. You go from stuffed animals and movies to boyfriends and... movies. Now, we're not the huggy-huggy tell-you-anything type family, but I know without a doubt if there was something I had to tell someone, or needed to trust someone with, I could go to her. Which is what completely breaks my heart about My Invented Life: The fact that Eva doesn't think she can trust Roz.

The beginning of My Invented Life is cute, sarcastic, and filling to the brim with sibling rivalry. The middle is full of mystery and Shakespeare. And the end is a tear jerking conclusion full of sibling revelations and self-discovery (and more Shakespeare). The plot was a tiny bit confusing at some points, and when Roz and Eva are talking to each other I got lost in who was saying what. Speaking of Roz and Eva, I love them so much. They are such believable teenagers, as well as believable sisters. I loved most of the side characters as well, and one thing I can say that everyone will get once they read it: I did not expect Bryan to be that way. I also absolutely LOVED the Shakespearean insults. They're so ridiculous sounding, it makes it even better and even funnier, and makes it easy to turn a heavier scene into a lighter one. It's weird to hear (read?) someone insult someone else and want to laugh.

The only problem with My Invented Life is that there doesn't seem to be one clear shot of conscious plot. There is the main story line, which is Roz trying to figure out if her sister is in fact a lesbian.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Absolutely hilarious--with as many twists and turns as the school production of Shakespeare's AS YOU LIKE IT which provides the backdrop for the action in this playful romp.

The writing is crisp and clever, making the book a quick, fun read. I especially adore the way Bjorkman peppers the story with Shakespearean insults and even includes a glossary of terms in the back of the book.

Roz and Eva's sisterly antics ring so true--just the right blend of love and competition. And who couldn't fall in love with Roz whose misguided good intentions lead to all kinds of laugh-out-loud moments.

My favorite thing about this book is the way Bjorkman makes us laugh while also making us question our assumptions about people. Ultimately it's a story about complex relationships, figuring out who we are, growing up, and forgiveness. Truly great read!
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Format: Hardcover
When I read the description of this book, I thought it would be right up my alley. Unfortunately, it just wasn't.

First of all, the characters. The main character--Roz--got on my nerves. Her way of talking and think just got annoying. And enough with her invented life scenarios (yes, I know this is the title of the book, but we got it). While I don't have a younger sister, I think if I did have one, and she was like Roz, we would not be close at all. A lot of the things she said and did were immature. My favorite character was actually Eva. Yes, I know she was standoffish, but there was just something about her that made me sympathize for her. And I think she was a pretty normal teen that is an older sister--wanting her privacy. And I didn't get Andie or Nico at all. Andie was hot and cold, cool in an eccentric way one minute, and just odd the next. And I didn't find any appeal in Nico at all. But I definitely like Jonathon. I have a lot of gay guy friends and I could see a lot of them in his character.

Next, the writing. All of the Shakespeare, olden days talk got old quickly. At first I thought it was neat, but then it was just too much. I was part of the theatre crowd in high school and college and no one talked like that.

But I do have to say that I like the way that it covered teen sexuality. Like I said before, I have a lot of gay friends. I have known some who came out when they were adults, and some who came out as teens, before I knew them. Luckily all of my friends have supportive parents. But I know that's not always the case. And I know some of the guys came from a high school where being gay was completely accepted and others who were outcast. And that's so wrong.
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Format: Hardcover
MY INVENTED LIFE is a spunky and witty GLBTQ book that deals with the fluidity of sexual identity, and the complexities of placing labels on people. The fantastic narrative voice and the unique premise will make this a delightful read for nearly anyone.

This book's strongest point is its protagonist. Roz is a feisty girl with a good blend of sass, passion, and self-delusions. Her witty, laugh-out-loud narration--always direct, never dully over-eloquent--will draw you into the story even if you may cringe at some of her behavior and want to shake some insight into her. For the most part, the secondary characters are also well-drawn: they're people with endearing quirks, people who you'd like to hang out with. They're complicated and funny, occasionally bitchy and selfish. In other words, they could've been our high school friends.

Because MY INVENTED LIFE is so energetic and fast-paced, it occasionally runs the risk of getting annoying. Every once in a while I felt like I had gotten too much of Roz's snarky mentality, and her secret desires--her invented life--sometimes gets repetitive, in an "okay we get it already" way. Similarly, I had trouble understand the sisterly dynamic between Roz and Eva. Sibling relationships are especially difficult to write about, since they contain the requisite family love as well as voluntary platonic devotion, and I felt that Roz and Eva's relationship--particularly Roz's almost grovel-like approach to her sister--pinged around in all directions in a way that jarred me and made me the slightest bit skeptical of the believability of their relationship.

That being said, MY INVENTED LIFE is a fresh approach to homosexuality. In this story, the characters' sexual orientations are rather fluid, defying categorization.
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