Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Review of 'Imaginary Girls' by Nova Ren Suma

"Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. After a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers a dead body floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away-- away from home, away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns home at last, she finds a precarious and deadly balance waiting for her.  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.

Imaginary Girls is a masterfully distorted vision of family with twists that beg for their secrets to be kept."

This was such a strange read... let me explain.

The general story line was intriguing-- there's this subplot about the former village of Olive and this other small New York town that rests outside of Olive, now surrounded by a dam and flooded entirely.  Apparently everyone who has tried to swim across the two mile stretch of reservoir has never made it out.  Two sisters with the closest relationship I have ever seen reunite for the summer after being separated for two years after a girl drowns in this reservoir.

It's a great concept, but there are a few things that were lost in the execution of this story.

The relationship Chloe and Ruby share has almost a creepy feel to it, especially as one reads farther and farther into the book.  She asserts more and more control over Chloe and what's even scarier is that Chloe willingly and gladly complies with nearly everything Ruby tells her to do!  Chloe has no head of her own, which makes her such a flat character.

Ruby was definitely the most developed out of the cast of characters, although to carried an unhealthy amount of power over this one small town.  It was really uncomfortable...

I was really confused by what was going on at the ending.  It seems that Ruby is a sort of medium or psychic... it's never explicitly said, however.  There's no background information for the readers to glean this information.  I also wasn't clear how the reservoir played a part in the story for the longest time.  Nova Ren Suma kept mentioning it and referring to it, but for most of the book it wasn't clear what the role was.  Suddenly, it becomes a big thing and it's still not entirely clear why.  Is all of this drama all in Ruby's head or is it actually a thing?

Also, where are the parents when all of this is happening?  Chloe's father and stepmother have apparently been calling since she left, but did they never think to call the police that she'd run away or think that she would probably go to Ruby again?  If I were her parent, I would definitely drive up to that town, even if I didn't know where precisely she was.  It's not that big of a town.

Overall, this was a book that was alright and it really helped that it was a relatively quick read.  However, there were a few shortcomings that just wouldn't let me believe the story.

I give 'Imaginary Girls':
Thanks for Reading!



  1. I admired the writing of this book but it didn't really connect with me although I hoped it would because of the sister-sister relationship, which is always of interest to me.

    1. I felt the same way. No connection at all. I have a sister, but I was never this protective or secretive towards her. I don't think my sister has been this way towards me either...

      It was just a very strange set-up for me.

  2. This does sound like a very confusing story line. I’m not sure I would like reading a story with that much confusing information in it. Thank you for posting this book review.

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    1. Maybe I'll have to read this again someday and then I'll pick up on something I missed... but yes, it was confusing because I couldn't tell if they were just talking about the history of this town underwater or if it was simply a ghost story. There was very little information about that.


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