Lauren Bjorkman, October 2009. "I wish my coming out had been real so I could write about it online!" exclaims high school junior Roz after reading some stories about the newly uncloseted. Roz has a lot going on: her sister Eva, who used to be her best friend, is ignoring her....and she thinks Eva might be gay. Eva does have a boyfriend, Bryan, but he keeps flirting with Roz. Roz, in turn, flirts with Jonathan, who turns out to be actually gay. Then there's Carmen, bitchy genius and surprisingly good theatrical director, and Nico, whom no one can quite figure out. Eyeliner Andie, who describes herself as "no-sexual," rounds out the ensemble of teens putting on a production of As You Like It. The book tells the story of their complicated-to-the-point-of-farcical love lives as Roz pretends to be gay in order to find out if Eva is, and then has to figure out how to get a boyfriend despite pretending to like girls, and then has to deal with the possibility that she does indeed like girls. This is complicated by her role as Rosalind in the school play, for which she has to dress as a woman dressing like a man. Roz is not only the narrator, but the stereotypical fool who is the last one to figure out what's going on. She's always wailing, "But I don't understand!" as the other characters roll their eyes knowingly. This use of the protagonist serves both as an effective plot device and a smart parody of same.
Imagine if Paula Danziger had written a Basic Eight/Twelfth Night fanfic with help from the writers of Three's Company; that will give you an idea of the red herrings, misunderstandings, gender-bending, secret-keeping, and unreliable narration that make this book the intriguing chaos that it is. My favorite gay YA read of the year. Highly recommended.
May 21, 1973: Noel Fielding is born.
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