Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review: Imaginary Grils by Nova Ren Suma

Imaginary Girls
Nova Ren Suma
YA Contemporary/Magical Realism
Published: 2011

image: Goodreads
It's been a month or two since I read this book, and it's still sticking with me. It has mixed reviews on Goodreads; readers really love it or did not care for it at all.  Imaginary Girls captivated me from the start. It's haunting, strange, and not at all what I expected, in a good way.

Chloe and her older sister Ruby have a complicated relationship. Ruby essentially raised Chloe given their mother's unreliable behavior, and Chloe idolizes Ruby, who seems to glide through life like nothing can stop her. But when a girl drowns in the town's resevoir, Chloe is sent away to live with her dad.

Two years later, Ruby has convinced Chloe to return, and they're back to the way things were. A summer of late night drives for cheesecake and doing whatever they want. But Ruby is more protective of Chloe than ever, passionately so. At night, Ruby stares at the reservoir from a perch on the roof, always watchful. Then Chloe encounters a girl at a party--the girl who drowned. It can't be possible, and yet it is. She is living, but not quite normal. Ruby is protective of her too, meaning the only person Chloe has ever trusted has secrets that even Chloe can't know.

The relationship between the two sisters goes deep. They are fiercely devoted to one another to a codependent level. Chloe's doubts are interwoved with her love for Ruby and her inability to see wrong in her sister. The writing here is excellent, a little more on the literary side than commercial fiction. I don't know if this truly Paranormal, maybe Magical Realism as there are no "abilities" explained, only mystical elements clouded in mystery.

One of the coolest things I found out after reading the book is that the town is based on a real life place in the Catskills that is now covered over with water, an entire town razed, people relocated elsewhere to build this water reservoir. Here is a link to the history as provided by reviewer Wendy Darling on Goodreads (check out her reviews, they are awesome).

I listened to Imaginary Girls as an audiobook, which I would recommend.


  1. Whoa, that cover is amazing! Definitely have to check this one out :)

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, with Joy)

  2. I've been meaning to read this forever. I hadn't thought of getting the audiobook -- that's a really great idea :)
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

  3. I like a little weird in my books :) And I really like the cover which is always a plus.


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