Thursday, July 14, 2011

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Imaginary Girls 
Release: June 14th, 2011
Pages: 352 (hardcover)
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Netgalley
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.
Review: Imaginary Girls is a haunting tale of two sisters and the power sisterhood can have.

Chloe has always been "Ruby's sister" to everyone in her town. Ruby is magnetic and powerful there. So much so, Chloe thinks that there isn't anything her sister can't do. When Chloe comes back to town to live with her sister, she finds that things have changed. Someone who she thought was dead is alive, and no one but her seems to think it's odd. People listen to Ruby more than Chloe realized...and Ruby may have more power and deadly secrets than Chloe could ever imagine.

The pacing is slow going at first, but once the mysteries surrounding Ruby and London start being revealed, the pace picks up. Plot-wise, it's difficult to say anything more than I've already said for fear of spoilers. There's this constant eerie undertone to Nova Ren Suma's words, and I was always left with questions and enough intrigue to keep going by the end of every chapter. When it began, I thought it was entirely contemporary. Yet, it transcended it's contemporary roots and delved into something supernatural and utterly unusual. I can honestly say I've never read anything like Imaginary Girls, and I want more of it. 

Highlights: This book isn't about boys or romance, but instead the author focuses on sisters and family. Yes, there are a few "romance" moments, but the sisterly bond is the more important aspect of the story. Ruby herself is so magnetic, hypnotic, and very much like a firework - she sparkles, shines, she might be dangerous, but you just want to get closer. Her character was really well done. The underwater city of Olive was especially interesting to me, and I wish we could know more about it. The magical realism, the secrets, the twists, the reveals, and the surprising conclusion were all welcome highlights to Imaginary Girls.

Lowlights: The first couple chapters after the intro almost put me off the story completely. It took some time to get into the author's writing, the slow pacing and constant thought of "What is going on?", but I found it worthwhile once I made it further into the book. The focus on Ruby through Chloe's perspective could also be overwhelming at times, but I did get used to it.

Rating: 4



  1. I LOVED Imaginary Girls. I really liked how unusual it was. The slow pace at the beginning didn't really bother me, but to each her own. Fabulous review! :)

  2. This really does sound so different from what's out there! I thought it may be too dark/sad for me but now you've got me curious.

  3. I'm really looking forward to reading this one, I think the twists and the focus more on sisters than romance sound like a refreshing YA read:) Good to know it's a bit slow and takes some getting used to though, I like knowing those kinds of things going in. Thanks Lea!

  4. Sounds like you enjoyed this one! I've really been on the fence. I love the premise and the cover but I've read a lot of mixed reviews for it. I think I might check it out though ^-^

  5. It is so refreshing every once in a while to read a book where the main focus isn't on the romance but on a sisterhood, like in this one, or a bromance, like in Witchlanders. Also, I love mysteries!

  6. It does sound different than all the romance, love triangle, mean girls, angsty YA that is out there

  7. I've heard really good things about this book but, for some reason, have been reluctant to pick it up. I love how you did both highlights and lowlights!
    Thanks for the great review-
    Mary @ Book Swarm

  8. I am definitely going to check this one out. Thank you for the warning about the opening chapters.

    Great review! :)

    Paranormal Author E.J. Stevens
    From the Shadows

  9. Sounds a bit confusing with a different girl telling the thoughts of the other one. I'm not sure this is for me, but thanks for the great review.

    Pages of Forbidden Love

  10. This book reminds me soooo much of Wherever Nina Lies. Its sounds just as good too, cool to see a new book moving away from the paranormal and into the...unusual lol!

  11. I can't wait to read this. I like stories where family in an important part and books that surprise you. Great review :)

  12. I was at the bookstore yesterday and picked this up, but then I put it back! Now I'm super bummed I didn't get it! Oh well, I guess another trip to the bookstore is in order (twist my arm, why don't ya!)

  13. I have this one on my Nook and I've been really looking forward to reading it, so I'm happy to hear it's good. Also, that's cool that the book focus on sisters and family- what a refreshing change!

  14. Love the creepy vibe but the slow start would be hard for me.