Thursday, September 8, 2011

Imaginary Girls ~ Nova Ren Suma (ARC) review

Imaginary Girls
Dutton Juvenile
June 14, 2011
352 pages

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma is worth reading if only to experience the author's way with words. Chloe’s older sister Ruby is the girl everyone knows of, knows about. Ruby is the girl everyone wants to please, wants to be like, wants to be liked by. Boys will drive hours in the middle of the night to buy her the simplest thing; shop girls will give her things practically for free from any store.

She’s also the one who looks out for Chloe, who takes care of her. But one night, while with Ruby and her friends at the reservoir things go horribly wrong for Chloe when she discovers a dead body.

Chloe’s sent to live elsewhere, away from Ruby.

Ruby who will do anything to get Chloe back. Who does do anything to get Chloe back.

When Chloe does return years later, it’s with the lines of life and death redrawn . . . and possibly the one between the sisters redrawn as well.

Imaginary Girls is a haunting story that will stay with you for long after you’ve read the last page. Nova Ren Suma’s writing really is something special. She has the ability to string together seemingly ordinary words and make something extraordinary; phrases that won’t leave your head for days - even after you’ve reread them time and time again. (“...She was a shrill and shrieking fire alarm in a quiet library, and not a single person seemed to hear it.” pg 167 [arc])

Nova Ren Suma has a great ability to capture family dynamics - sure those in Imaginary Girls were twisted and screwed up, but you got the feeling that they were screwed up properly. It just came across that the author really understands how to weave relationships.

I loved Ruby - not an actual I-liked-her love but I loved the character that was created and how more of her was gradually shown.

Imaginary Girls is not contemporary fiction, but there aren’t vampires or demons or other supernatural beings - the best I could think to compare it to would be Nancy Werlin’s Impossible (not for plot or story but for ‘supernatural’ness).

Nova Ren Suma’s first book, the MG Dani Noir was really enjoyable as well and I really hope for more YA fiction from her. I know I’m absolutely thrilled now not to live near a reservoir!


(received through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer's)


  1. I just finished this book myself and thought the language was beautiful also. It was an unusual and unique story that stayed with me long after I put it down.

  2. Tammy -

    I really hope that her next book showcases more of the same style writing . . . it really does stay with you.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, it's much appreciated :)


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