The Facts Title: Girl Meets Cake (published in the US as My Invisible Boyfriend) Author: Susie Day Publisher: Marion Lloyd Books Date of Publication: April 2009 Length: 240 pages
From Susie's website:15-year-old Heidi’s stuck at the boarding school for crazy drop-outs where her parents teach, with only a cake-shop Saturday job to escape to. When her coupled-up mates assume she’s got a secret boyfriend, she can’t resist agreeing! Enter Gingerbread Ed, a sexy lovemuppet with a motorbike. He’d be perfect, if he actually existed. But now her friends are sending him all kinds of revealing messages… and ‘A Real Boy’ knows the truth. Will all those little white lies destroy her chance at real romance?
Oh Heidi! A fangirl after my own heart! Heidi Ryder is such a likeable character – I found it really easy to connect with her, and Susie Day has given her this brilliant, funny lingo and language quirks that I loved. One of the highlights of Girl Meets Cake, for me, are the scenes in which Heidi has these imaged dialogues (and the occasional tango) with Mycroft Christie, the decidedly Doctor Who-ish hero from her favourite show. These bits are so fun and enjoyable to read! Because really, who hasn’t fantasised about liaisons with their TV crush (c’mon .... Bueller? Bueller?)
There’s also Heidi’s group of friends – Ludo, Dai, and Fili-are a little flaky but enjoyable to read and feel age-appropriate. I’m also rather fond of Teddy and Betsy – the mother-son-tea-serving-team from the Little Leaf Cafe, Heidi’s after-school job.I also love that Heidi gets it wrong – (and she gets it really wrong at times) and her wannabe detective antics throughout the book tie many storylines together nicely.
Of course, as I’m a total theatre geek, the whole subplot involving the school production (a musical version of Twelfth Night! But in the 80s! Set at a nightclub! With lycra!) and which Heidi’s whole friendship group are involved in, really appealed to me. Even though it’s a a small detail, but I adored the costume descriptions for the show (oh my goodness – the Tron inspired lycra jumpsuits = genius!). Susie Day really made me want to see this play - though I kind of imagine it to be like Hamlet 2 and Rock of Ages' love-child.
Another thing that appealed to me about Girl Eats Cake (besides the fandom-loving heroine and the sparkly-theatre bits) was the use of social media and the role it played throughout the novel. I’ve been really interested in this lately, and have been thinking about the role of social media and the internet in YA fiction (I find it interesting that some texts utilise it and others ignore it, which seems to be a deliberate choice as it obviously plays such a big part in today’s teen, with some stats here). I’m now on a bit of a hunt for more books in which social media/life online plays a critical part in the narrative, so if you have some favourites (or books where you think it really doesn’t work), let me know in the comments!
Girl Meets Cake is a fun, slightly fluffy read. I feel like I should say – don’t be put off by the UK cover (I know it’s a bit tweeny and I’m sure I’ve seen it at my local library a number of times without borrowing it), but I promise you it has some absolutely laugh-out-loud funny moments and is really quite charming.