Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 348 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: 14 June 2011
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.(Goodreads)
I'm really kind of unsure about this one. I had heard so many wonderful things about Imaginary Girls, so I guess I was expecting a lot. I don't like writing negative reviews, but I think they also play an important role. With that said, I can say that Imaginary Girls just wasn't for me. I enjoyed Nova's writing style for the most part, but I couldn't get into the story. I also couldn't find one redeeming character, which made the whole process of trying to like the book that much harder. Unfortunately. My opinion on this novel is so confused, I don't know that any rating (or review) will be able to sufficiently depict my muddled feelings.
Other than what is stated in the synopsis and book trailer above, I knew absolutely nothing about Imaginary Girls before I jumped into it. I guess you could say it's about two sisters, a mysterious reservoir and a summer when everything changed.
As I mentioned before, I couldn't find a single likable character. I wanted to like Chloe. I wanted to like Ruby. I wanted to like the fact that they were two sisters who would do anything for one another (much like I would do anything for my sister). But I didn't. I didn't like Chloe. Her actions never seemed genuine to her character. I couldn't sympathize with or get intrigued by Ruby. Though she is described as having a magnetic personality, I could never see what was so wonderful about her. As for their sisterly relationship? Well... they were strangely obsessed with one another, to say the least. I'm extremely close with my sister, but Chloe and Ruby had a disturbing, unhealthy relationship. The secondary characters were also very unappealing. The "love interests" in the novel were anything but interesting. The parents, friends and other various people really didn't play much of a part in redeeming to story to me, either. With the exception of Ruby being larger than life, every character was flat. Maybe if the characters were a little more fleshed out, I might have enjoyed the book more. Maybe.
The setting of the small town next to the mysterious reservoir had some serious potential, but I don't think it was used to it's full capacity. Really, the reservoir is the star attraction as far as the setting is concerned. Apparently there used to be a town where the reservoir now is, but it was destroyed long ago. Ruby tells Chloe a story about what happened, but with Ruby you never know what is fact and what is fiction. I would have liked to know what really happened and if any part of the myth Ruby told was actually true. Like I said, there was a lot of potential to develop the setting, but it too fell flat for me.
I guess one positive thing I can share about Imaginary Girls is that it was never predictable. There was a fair amount of suspense and I wasn't able to guess one single thing that was going to happen. I had absolutely no idea what was going on the entire time I was reading it. The bad side of that, however, is that even after finishing the novel, I still had no clue what the book was about. I had so many questions while I was reading and none of them were answered. Not a single one. Also, just when I thought the story was going to pick up, it fell flat and ended. The climax was so... it was so anticlimactic! It got my hopes up and then left me feeling very disappointed and deflated.
Imaginary girls was suspenseful and intriguing to a point, but I just didn't get it. I might not have enjoyed it much, but that's not to say nobody else will. I know there are heaps of people with rave reviews, but I'm sad to say I'm not one of them. The best advice I can give is to keep your mind wide open if and when you read this one and be prepared for an insane, surreal ride.
A favorite quote: "The story you choose to tell isn't always the story you believe."