With the auditions for the next TV star coming closer and closer, the students of THE Montessori of Asia and Pacific start to get more desperate. All the drama takes center stage as they start to realize that life often leaves you without a script.
Thrown into this wild world is the newcomer Olivia Pokangpokang-Schaultz. She’s got beauty, brains…and a dirty little secret.
Who doesn’t have a dirty little secret or two?
Olivia Pokangpokang-Schaultz’s dirty little secret is, admittedly, not what I was expecting. Although, the book doesn’t really hide it. You kind of get what it is as soon as author Siege Malvar gets to describing who she is.
But Roles isn’t just about Olivia. Once you read the novel, you might even argue that Olivia is not even the main character of the story. The real point of anchors are Nathan and Orestes–which is made even more evident by the novel’s end. So I have to wonder why the publishers thought it would be better to highlight Olivia’s character.
Is it because she’s the newcomer? Well, then the editor should have told Malvar to position Olivia better under the spotlight. Because, as it is, Olivia is barely a supporting player in this story about roles.
Yes, the story is about roles. Which is why I didn’t say Nathan nor Orestes are the main characters. They’re point of anchors because they connect the characters together, but the actual main character is expectation: the roles that people are making these characters assume.
Roles revolves around the lives of senior high school students who are ready to leave the lives they’ve led for lives that they can control. From being what is expected, they are now expected to be who they are–and this is all the more underlined when they are encouraged to be who they are…through an audition for a reality-based talent search being held in their school.
And although I’m not a fan of the abrupt ending, and the lack of clear structure, I must commend the book for what it is: an unapologetic take on teenagers and their issues, from the perspective of someone from the outside.
I also like the snarky humor that author Carlos Malvar employs.
To tell you the truth, I’ve never actually been intrigued by Roles. Or Crash, the sequel, for all the years I’ve seen them on bookstore shelves. There’s something about the cover, and the synopsis, that just doesn’t draw me. It was goodwill from Wakasang Wasak that prodded me to finally give this book a try.
So far, I’m not regretting my decision. But let’s see if I can still say the same when I finally read the sequel.