Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: Imaginary Girls - Nova Ren Suma

Where I got it: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 4.5 stars  
Cover Rating: 5 stars (Perfect.)  
Genre: Young Adult  
Publication Date: June 14, 2011  
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile  
Page Count: 346 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon

Chloe and Ruby are sisters, but Ruby has always taken care of Chloe like a daughter. Ruby is five and a half years older, and everyone in the town adores her. Anything Ruby says goes, and people are willing to do anything for her, including Chloe. That was before London showed up dead in a boat on the Reservoir. Chloe leaves to go live her father, rather than face the town where this girl dies. Soon enough though, Ruby decides she wants Chloe back, so of course Chloe comes back. Her sister is still telling stories about the underwater town of Olive and how Chloe can stay underwater forever. Chloe's back, and everything is the same as before she left, exactly the same. Chloe isn't quite sure what is wrong with the town and her sister, but she knows that something is up. If her sister is keeping secrets, Chloe will just have to dig deeper and let go of the ties that hold her to Ruby.

So this book has so many secrets here, there and everywhere. Writing about the book is difficult, because each of these secrets need to be kept until you unravel them yourself. I wish that I had a sister, or even an older sibling. It was tricky relating to Chloe, because I don't have that sibling that I look up to. I have a younger brother, and we get on okay, but brother/sister relationship are quite different from a relationship between two sisters. Regardless, Chloe was a believable and somewhat likable sister. It was a little upsetting that she hung off of Ruby's every word, but everyone else did too. Ruby was a highly interesting character, and even after finishing the novel, I'm not sure where she stands. She does some good deeds, but she did some pretty bad ones too. I loved hearing the stories that Ruby told, they were imaginative and playful. I loved the story of Olive, the town that wouldn't leave even when they faced being flooded. There was an interesting cast of characters, some you can love and some you dislike. I think Nova Ren Suma did a fantastic job with this, her sophomore novel, and I am going to get my hands on a copy of Dani Noir as soon as possible. When I started this novel, I thought it would be a story about Chloe drowning and becoming a ghost. I thought this would be a story about two sisters and their relationship through terrible things. That's not what this story is about at all though. This is a story that has old, deep stories interwoven throughout. Lots of twists and turns that tangle you in their web and refuse to let go until you've read the last page. I can't stop thinking about this book, even now nearly a week later. I will reread this one and recommend it to everyone I come across. This story was creepy and weird, something that will give you shivers and keep you reading into the morning.

First Line:
"Ruby said I'd never drown – not in the deep ocean, not by shipwreck, not even by falling drunk into someone's bottomless backyard pool."

Favorite Lines:
"'But,' she continued, cutting around a slow car, ' if I was going to lie, I figured I might as well make it fun. So I'd say, What do you mean where's her mother? I'm her mother. I'd tell them different things, depending on who asked. Like I married young and now I'm a widow. Or I got knocked up in Girl Scouts, when I was out selling cookies.'" 

"...I sat there in the boat under her stars and her moon, gated on all sides by the mountains, watching the last bits of her breath float up and away."


  1. Great review! I've been really looking forward to reading this one so I'm happy to hear that it's good.

  2. I've wanted to read this book for a while now and this review and your two favorite lines make me want to read it even more! I was never really sure what the book was about, but I'm all for secrets and tangled webs of lies and confusion. I cannot wait to read this one. Great review.

  3. This one is definitely one of those stories you keep thinking about after you're done - I'm still thinking about it!

    Wonderful review!


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