Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review: Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

From Goodreads: 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. 

My Rating: 4 hearts

Thoughts on the Novel: At first, Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma seemed like a contemporary novel about two sisters, and I found it slightly hard to get into it because the narrator, Chloe, kept talking about her older sister Ruby. But then an unexpected twist occurred, the novel no longer fell within the contemporary genre, and things became interesting. Chloe starts discovering some hidden secrets, and at the heart of it all is Ruby.

The pacing of Imaginary Girls is slow, which makes it creepier and gives you time to enjoy Suma’s writing. She manages to create a surreal world that draws the reader in and blends the normal with the supernatural effortlessly. In this reality, there are no room for questions since anything is possible. It was only after I was done reading that I realized the supernatural elements were never explained in depth, and breaking down the story detracts from its enjoyment.

Heavily driven by its characters, the star of Imaginary Girls is Ruby, the charismatic and pretty older sister who creates her own reality. Suma purposely makes the reader form no attachments to Ruby so that she seems more sinister, and as such, it’s hard for me to figure out how I feel about her. On the one hand, Ruby is pretty much a bitch whose bad side you don’t want to get on, – look at what happened to Owen! – but on the other, her love for Chloe is obvious. Ruby will do anything for her younger sister. Likewise, it’s hard to form an emotional connection with Chloe. Not  only is her presence dwarfed by Ruby’s, but she’s also an unreliable narrator. You end the story having absolutely no idea whether Chloe is actually telling the truth about what happened or simply imagining things.

A mesmerizingly eerie read, Imaginary Girls was released in June 2011 by Dutton Juvenile. 

Comments About the Cover: I love it. The drowning is such a central part of the storyline and the bright blue, red and white quickly catch your eye. It’s hard to tell whether the girl is still struggling or has finally exhausted herself trying to regain control of the situation.

In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (Dutton Juvenile) for free via NetGalley.


  1. This review surprises me, Z. I guess that is because I've read some negative reviews for IG and immediately crossed off my TBR. But I definitely need to reconsider because I like the mix of contemporary and supernatural elements *cough*IF I STAY*cough*

    Ruby definitely seems like an interesting character, and Chole seems like a testament to that saying, don't let your imagination can run away from you.

    Very helpful review. Thanks!

  2. I still need to read Imaginary Girls but I like the sound of how it crosses from contemporary into something very unexpected! It makes me curious to find out what's going to happen! (I just the love the cover for the novel too!)

  3. I'm loving the creepy vibe from this one. I love mysteries and twists and this seems like a great read for that.

  4. I really want to read this. I like that it sounds unpredictable and a little creepy. Great review :)

  5. Oooo this sounds so interesting. I love when I'm not sure how I feel about the characters, I know I feel something, I just can't really define it because they keep making me change my mind:) Beautiful review Zahida, I really like how this one keeps you thinking and guessing the whole time.

  6. I like the sound of this! A slow pac isn't always a bad thing and your review proves that =)

  7. This book always gives me an creepy and suspenseful feeling. I might pick it up from the library if I ever come across it.

  8. Love the review! I'm not into books with slow pacing but I'd love to see how this will make me enjoy the writer's writing more.

  9. I'm not crazy about the slow pace but like the creep factor.


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