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Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Imaginary GirlsChloe and Ruby are half sisters and best friends. The enigmatic Ruby is beloved by almost everyone in their small town, and though Chloe has always lived in Ruby’s shadow, Chloe would do almost anything for her sister. After all, Ruby takes care of Chloe in the way only an older sister knows how. But it seems that Ruby can’t protect Chloe from everything, especially when Chloe discovers her classmate London floating in the reservoir—dead. Chloe leaves town, only returning two years later at the request of her sister. Chloe is shocked at what has changed, and more importantly, what hasn’t. As Chloe delves into Ruby’s secrets and the truth of what really happened the night London’s body was found, she’ll push the boundaries of her own reality and discover the horrible strength of her own sisterhood.

I’m not sure why, but I was expecting a lot from Imaginary Girls. I’m generally intrigued by manipulations of the flimsy boundary between life and death, so I wanted to see how this debut young adult author would approach the topic. Sadly, I can’t say that I am pleased with the result. On one hand, I found the writing to be particularly well done and the characters mostly realistic, though very eerie and disturbing. It was the story itself that I didn’t like. I was creeped out by the intensity of Chloe and Ruby’s sisterly relationship and Ruby’s almost entitled possessiveness over all those around her. The portrayal of Chloe and Ruby led me to think that there would be an elaborate but twisted psychological explanation for the incident with London at the reservoir, but other elements of the story persuaded me that the explanation was actually more fantastical. By the end of the story, I was unable to determine which explanation prevailed, and that was immensely unsatisfying for me. I felt the ending of the story to be its largest flaw because it really didn’t seem like anything had been resolved. The reason I kept reading on was because I wanted to find out what had actually happened, and no explanation was clearly conveyed. There are other points of interest in this novel, particularly the in depth look at the strength of sisterhood, but they are not sufficient enough to outweigh my disappoint at the book’s ending.

Imaginary Girls may still be enjoyed by readers who liked Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus and The Lying Game by Sara Shepard.

Rating: 2.5

Review copy from NetGalley

2 munch(es) :

We Heart YA said...

Doh... We just bought this book and have really been looking forward to it. But there have been mixed reviews (both good and bad and good-and-bad-in-one)... Well, we'll just have to read it and see what we think. Thanks for doing this writeup!

Shannon The Bookstalker said...

I liked this book more then you did but I definitely understand what your saying about the lack of explanation and the not very wrapped up ending. Great review!

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