About the Book

Title: Imaginary Girls
Published: 2011
Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Cover Story: Floatalicious
BFF Charm: Nay
Talky Talk: Haunting
Bonus Factor: Sisters, Ghost Stories
Relationship Status: This book is from Venus…

Cover Story: Floatalicious

Hey look, everybody! It’s a floating girl on the cover! But this is NOT a new trend in YA covers, oh no. Nevertheless, I DO like the use of color here, so I’m going to give this one a pass.

The Deal:

Chloe worships her older sister Ruby. After all, Ruby would do anything for her, and has, since their mother’s too busy down at the bar. But at one of Ruby’s parties one night at the reservoir, Chloe finds the body of one of her classmates, and as a result is sent away from Ruby.

Two years later, the sisters decide it’s time for Chloe to come home. Little does she know the lengths Ruby was willing to go to get her back, or what’s in store for the both of them once she’s returned.

BFF Charm: Nay

BFF Charm that says "denied"

As a younger sister, I completely understand Chloe’s inability to see herself through any eyes but those of her older sister’s, especially considering the tour de force that is Ruby. When Ruby has an opinion, no one else does. Unfortunately, that means that I couldn’t really get to know Chloe outside of Ruby’s influence, so while I might have invited her to sit with me in the cafeteria, I wouldn’t be divulging my deepest secrets to her over popcorn and movies at my house. And you know what? I don’t think Chloe would care, because these two sisters really can’t see far beyond each other.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

From the opening chapter, Owen has the makings for some master swoon. He’s also kind of an idiot, like (not to generalize or anything) teenaged boys are (can be). So while it’s still pretty intense whenever Chloe sees him, he is a bit too realistic (and an idiot) to deliver the swoon for me.

Talky Talk: Haunting

Nova Ren Suma’s writing is beautiful. Everything is described in near-microscopic detail, but as if the lense on said microscope was slightly out of focus. I’ve always been way too scared I’d end up convinced my brain was in a cardboard box to try illegal substances, but this story had the surreal –and slightly disturbing– feel of experiencing life through Nyquil, and for the first half of the book I was entranced. However by the end, I just wanted to know what the heck was going to happen.

I should qualify this by saying that I’m a plot-driven person. Specifically, plot-resolution. Sometimes my husband and I will watch a movie that is visually stunning and beautifully told, but if I can’t connect with its characters, or feel that there’s no point to the story, I’m left underwhelmed, while critics and George will applaud. I felt that way about this book: while I can appreciate it, and know that many others LOVE it, it just wasn’t my bag.

Bonus Factor: Sisters

Claudia resting her head on Janine's shoulder (Kishi sisters from The Baby-Sitters Club)

In this book, there really were never such devoted sisters. For all her faults, Ruby –forced to take care of her younger sibling from an early age– truly loves Chloe more than any one else in the world.

Bonus Factor: Ghost Stories

Little ghost sugar cookies

If you love a good ghost story, this book will be right up your dimly-lit alley. From the onset of Ruby’s tales of the town of Olive –buried beneath the reservoir– to the last haunting pages, Nova Ren Suma delivers some delicious spine tingles.

Relationship Status: This book is from Venus

So a lot of this book’s exes had been telling me about it before we met. And, I mean, if it can still inspire love and longing from –not to mention stay friends with– its ex-girlfriends, there’s got to be something to it, right? But while I think the book is gorgeous and deep and mysterious, we really just didn’t click, you know? So I’ll happily say ‘oh, yeah, it’s cool’ when new potential soon-to-be-ex-girlfriends ask me about it, but I’ll stay in the friend-zone.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Penguin. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Imaginary Girls is available today!

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.