Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Review: Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Finished: January 11, 2012
Pages: 304 (Ebook)
Add It: Goodreads
Publisher: Penguin

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.

Read the first four chapters of Imaginary Girls here.

Quote: When something big happens, you don't immediately point the finger at one person. A bridge collapses, and maybe that's what people call an act of God, not of the little girl in the backseat of a passing car wishing something would happen to keep her from having to stay the weekend with her creepy uncle. A plane loses its propellers and crash-lands on water, and no one blames the guy sitting in 13B who can't get a date and wants to die over it and doesn't care if he takes the whole damn plane with him. No human being could take credit for changing fate. Except for Ruby.

Cover Love? Absolutely. This cover is not only lovely but perfectly fits the novel. The girl floating underwater. The sort of creepy quality to it. I wish they had kept this cover for the paperback.

Thoughts: Imaginary Girls is my favorite novel in which nothing at all happens. It is also my favorite novel that includes an entire cast of pretty unlikeable characters. Doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement? It is.

I've had some trouble committing to books at the start of this year but Nova Ren Suma pulled me in and soon I was drowning in the spooky setting of this book. I wanted to know just what was going on in this ghost filled world. This isn't a mystery though, this novel is a member of the "magical realism" genre. If you're not familiar or keen on that sort of thing then this book won't be for you. Because truly, almost nothing happens. This isn't another action packed dystopia. You probably won't fall in love with the characters. What you'll find in this novel is something different than a lot of what is out there today. This story is quiet. It is slow. It feels a lot like sinking*. It's not a trilogy. It's not even a romance. It's love, ghosts and magic. A whole town of ghosts trapped forever beneath.

It's the story of two sisters who are obsessed with each other in a very unhealthy way. Loyal until death. Attached at the hip in an unhealthy way that makes you want to reach out and shake Chloe. Wake up, Chlo. Ruby is the Regina George of your world. She always gets what she wants and we're all left to wonder why. The writing in this novel is so beautiful though, that none of that even matters, and you feel like you are floating in the water of the reservoir yourself; filled with anxiety over what may just grab your ankles in the pages to come and pull you in.

Looking for something a little different from YA? Imaginary Girls is your story. Nova Ren Suma is a beautiful writer and I can't wait for her next book. 

* I really just wanted to throw in as many bad water references as I could here. No shame. Plus it's true. This novel does feel like sinking, right?

Recommendation: Those who like magical realism and ghosts. Lovers of pretty prose. Anyone looking to get away from your usual YA romances. Those who don't mind developing irrational fears of reservoirs and balloons.


Four out of Five Coffees

Imaginary Girls is on sale now in hardcover. You can purchase it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository and other retailers.


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