Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
What is it about? Chloe’s older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can’t be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby’s friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby. But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood. -Summary courtesy of Goodreads
What did you think of it & why did you pick it up? Imaginary Girls was bizarre. It was crazy and it was unnatural. Bottom line, I did not enjoy reading this book. For me it was like running. To understand this comparison you have to know that I am very un-athletic and uncoordinated. I run because otherwise I would sit on my couch eating cookies and watching the Mentalist. As I’m doing it, I’m wondering why in the world I chose today to become healthy. BUT that does not mean I don’t greatly respect people who run. I respect Nova Ren Suma for writing such an excellent piece of literature. I also realize that this novel isn’t for everyone and that if I were to rate it solely on my enjoyment level, it would have only have gotten a 2.5 out of 5 stars. The writing level though, was a definite 5.
Nova Ren Suma somehow managed to manipulate my emotions so that I purposefully felt confused and disorientated. For half the book I felt as if I were just as crazy as Chloe and Ruby. The fact that I didn’t know it was a paranormal book might have played a part in that, but I doubt it. Mostly because the main reason I continued to read on was because I wanted NEEDED to know what Ruby was hiding from Chloe and why the whole town just seemed to give Ruby everything she wanted. I thought to myself, that doesn’t happen. Sure there are girls that can persuade a lot of people to do things for them, but not stuff that involves the other person not getting anything in return. That’s just not really how people work. What I’m trying to say, is that Nova Ren Suma made me wonder and think about her book. That’s amazing because this novel has all of the qualities I really dislike about books.
For example, take Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers or Breathless by Jessica Warman and compare it to Imaginary Girls and you’ll find they are extremely similar. All three novels are set in smallish towns or within small communities. The protagonist in them is always what I call a “stairwell kid”. This is someone who isn’t necessarily a bad person, but does do some drugs (marijuana, for the most part) and gets into bad situations. Often times these narrators speak…starkly, and the book comes off rather un-charming. The ends usually leave you up to your own assumptions. In Fall for Anything and Breathless I felt detached from the characters and I just didn’t care. Once again, this proves that Nova Ren Suma is truly talented because she made me almost care. (I don’t know about you, but it is slightly hard to care about and relate to a crazy person for me.)
There was one thing I seriously disliked about the book, and that is that I really didn’t know it was a paranormal book until the end. I realize that maybe that might have been the point…but it always bugs me when I have no idea what I’m getting into.
In the end, you may not love, or even like this book. Obviously, I too, am on the fence. But if you do decide to pick it up, you will see what I’m talking about when I say that Nova Ren Suma is a great author. She was always in characters; she used vivid imagery, and had a superbly developed setting.
I would suggest this for: Paranormal book-lovers, and people who like their YA with a dark edge!
Review by Lauren B. Grade 8
Thanks for the review Lauren!