I love the title and indeed the cover of Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma which is what first drew me in but I’ll admit that I didn’t know anything about the plot. I’d heard that it was getting some good reviews and it seemed like everyone wanted to get their hands on a copy of the book. A kind friend let me borrow an ARC and I read it on a very long train ride which made for an interesting journey as I got totally lost in the book.
Now let me start by saying that Imaginary Girls is not a romance novel although it is a story about relationships, specifically the bond between two sisters, Ruby and Chloe. Here is the synopsis:
“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.
With palpable drama and delicious craft, Nova Ren Suma bursts onto the YA scene with the story that everyone will be talking about”.
This was one of the most original books I’ve ever read. With threads of the supernatural woven into the story, it made for a creepy read at times. I think the way Nova described the reservoir, it actually became one of the major characters of the story for me.
Nova’s writing is beautiful and poetic at times. I thought she had an incredible sense of voice, particularly when it came to Chloe. And her characters are so well rounded, Ruby literally jumped off the page at me and I felt like I knew her inside out. But not only did I know her, more importantly I felt like I understood her. And with a complex character like Ruby, this is no mean feat!
I remain intrigued about the title of the book. I did ask Nova a couple of questions about the title and indeed about the book itself but she told me that she wanted to leave everything open to interpretation. Personally, this book threw up all sorts of ideas for me about mental illness. Does Ruby have a mental illness? Does Chloe? Or is there really something supernatural going on? I leave it to you to decide.
Imaginary Girls is a haunting tale of two sisters and a town called Olive. I would recommend it for the writing alone.
To find out more about Nova Ren Suma and her books, click here to visit her website. She is also active on Facebook and Twitter.