I was so excited to see this book lying around at my internship. The premise is amazing, Nove Ren Suma’s agent is great (and works for the company I intern for), and I so so so admire the editor of Dutton, so I knew it was going to be incredible. It did not disappoint!

Speed Read:

   It sounded impossible, something no one would believe if anyone but Ruby were the one to tell it. But Ruby was right: The body found that night wouldn’t be, couldn’t be mine.

Chloe left her small, mountain town two years ago after a terrible summer night at the reservoir. A girl died, and Chloe left, leaving her older sister, Ruby, behind. Now, Ruby has come to get her back, at least for the summer, and so Chloe returns to the town where it all happened.

Everything is the same. Her sister is still the center of the town’s attention, able to convince anyone to do her bidding with a quick smile. Chloe’s mother is still drunk, hanging around at the only bar in town. Everything is how she left it, even the things that should have been gone a long time ago.

 

The Deal:

Ok I thought Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was freaky, and then I read this book. Peculiar Children was in-your-face creepy, like watching Psycho. Imaginary Girls was more like The Sixth Sense…you’re watching and watching and suddenly you realize you’re completely freaked out and you don’t know when it happened and then it ends and you’re left by yourself with a little bit of an eerie feeling that makes you keep looking back over your shoulder in case someone is there.

But don’t worry, I just looked, and we’re all good. I mean, I am. You probably are.

But just like The Sixth Sense, this book is beautifully crafted, one of those stories that’s good aside from the creep factor. The writing is creative and spare, and Ruby is a wonderful, larger-than-life character that fills up the pages to their very edges. That said, I think it’s going to be a book that people either love or hate. It’s surrealism is part of it’s appeal, but I can see how it might be frustrating for readers who like their books a little…neater. This one leaves a lot up to the reader, which means a greater closeness to the book, its characters, and the world they live in, but can also mean it’s not as easy to breeze through and leave behind you. The story will stay with you, for good or bad.

How Far Should You Go:

There’s this really creepy place in my hometown, all windy roads and overhanging trees and shadows, where crazy teenagers go and dare each other to get out of the car. You know, “I dare you to run to that mailbox in front of the abandoned mental hospital,” or “I bet you won’t last four steps to that creepy ramshackle hut with the light on inside.” I was the girl who would never unbuckle seatbelt, let alone set foot outside the safe confines of the car, but for this book, I’d run all the way up to the abandoned mental hospital and might even touch the doorknob.

The 13/16 Test:

Fine for Sixteen, but I think Thirteen should wait a year. Maybe next summer, before she starts high school? I think any of the different factors by themselves would be fine, but add a creepy dead girl sitch, a high school girl with, shall we say, challenging parents, and an older sister who didn’t have much guidance growing up and it just gets to be a little too much for a thirteen-year-old at times. Next year, for sure.

The Low Down:

Imaginary Girls
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Published: June 14th, 2011
Classified as: Young Adult

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