After a whole summer away from her friends, Heidi is thrilled for the start of the term and the chance to be one of the gang again.
But before she can say “frog girl” Fili has found the only other Goth at the Finch, Ludo is snogging a guy with piercings and peroxide blonde hair. Big Dai isn’t even big anymore. After a summer of intensive training he’s downright svelte. And dating Henry Kim.
Heidi is exactly the same except for her awesome, slightly dodgy looking, new trench coat. It’s kind of quirky and it looks exactly like something Mycroft Christie* would wear on Mycroft Christie Investigates while running about with the dashing Jori Song.
Heidi is fifteen. She isn’t very dashing. She didn’t have an exciting, transformative summer. She spent the summer working at The Little Leaf with her crazy boss while admiring her boss’ beautiful son Teddy from afar. Heidi is very single.
When Ludo assumes Heidi’s coat is from a boyfriend instead of the rubbish bin things start spinning out of control. Before Heidi can say OHM EYE GOD the assumption has become a rumor which has run off and become fact.**
Which leaves Heidi two options: Fess up and admit she’s the same, boring Heidi and say goodbye to her friends. Or she can make a boyfriend who is conveniently far away and solve all her problems.
Well, honestly, what would you do?
It’s not like a whole imaginary person can create that many problems. That is, until he does in My Invisible Boyfriend (2010) by Susie Day.
My Invisible Boyfriend is a comedy of errors in the truest sense of the phrase, which is actually appropriate since one of the big plot elements is Heidi’s involvement in a school production of Twelfth Night: The Musical (set in the 1980s). Over the course of the story Heidi’s made up boyfriend learns secrets, solves problems, and starts talking back to Heidi.
This is a funny book that moves really fast. Heidi is almost as adorable as the dashing Mycroft Christie she talks with in her head throughout the story. The other characters, sadly, are less compelling as they verge into one dimension with their EMPHATIC (and capitalized) talking or seemingly random jealousies.
Day blends a lot of fun elements together in a recipe for humor if not for the most well-developed plot. The fun premise suffers in the last quarter of the novel as Heidi almost literally flails trying to find out who knows her secret (and has started emailing her as “a real boy”) in all the wrong places. The plot is very true to traditional Shakespearean comedies but sadly lacking the voice of a wise fool to balance all the crazy and add a touch more depth to the characters.
My Invisible Boyfriend has a lot going for it but ultimately not much to set it apart. I loved Heidi except for painful denseness with the “real boy” in question, the writing is snappy (until the last quarter), and the peripheral characters are diverse and well chosen but not especially well developed. And ultimately that’s a whole lot of caveats for one short book.
*Mycroft is a made up character on a made up show (that I sooooooooo wish was real, even with the Horrible Beard and awful dead wife). As far as I can tell he is a cross between The Doctor, Captain Jack Harkness, and Sherlock from the new 21st Century remake. The book never says it overtly but I’m certain Rufus Sewell would be playing him. (Am I showing my geek cards by mentioning this?) Mycroft might have been my favorite character in this whole zany story.
**This sounds totally improbable as a premise except . . . it actually happened to me once. I have this boxy jacket that used to be fitted. But then I lost some weight and it was too big. And one day a woman at work saw me with it on and asked if it was my boyfriend’s. Being an idiot, I said yes before I understood the question. Of course I didn’t even have a boyfriend at the time. Not even a made up one.
Possible Pairings: Will by Maria Boyd, Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe, Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson, Alice McLeod, Realist at Last by Susan Juby, Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan, The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart, The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford, Dr. Who (television series), Sherlock (television series), Torchwood (television series)