I heard Nova Ren Suma read from this book at an author event, and I was so excited about it that I bought it on my kindle before I even got home. The book is fantastic, but what really sold me was being in Nova’s audience as she read – her voice gave the words such power. Maybe she’ll come to my house every night and read aloud to me before I go to sleep. Creeper? I prefer the term literary loyalist. This week we’re recommending: Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma.
Imaginary Girls is highly original. In the beginning, you think it’s a well-written contemporary. But as the book goes on, there are touches of magical realism and glimpses of full-blown paranormalcy. It centers on two half-sisters, Chloe and Ruby, who live in a small town in upstate New York. Their bond is close and intense, partially because they’re left to fend for themselves without the help of their alcoholic mother. Ruby is charismatic, beautiful, and manipulative; the type of girl everyone adores and admires and listens to. Chloe is, in her own words, “a pencil drawing of a photocopy of a Polaroid of my sister.”
One night, Chloe attempts to swim across a reservoir – a feat she believes possible because Ruby says it is. While crossing the dark lake, she comes upon the dead body of a classmate. After that, Chloe leaves town for two years. When she returns, at the behest of Ruby, she finds that everything is slightly different; more sinister, darker, and secretive. What is it that Chloe never understood about her sister and the reality she created? And what really happened during that nighttime swim?
Also, look at that cover. LOOK AT IT. Is that not the most beautiful cover you’ve seen this year?
You will like this book if you:
- Have a sister who’s super nice and charming and everything, but also possibly implicated in the death of a classmate.
- Weren’t convinced by Jaws to stay away from large bodies of water and need a little more motivation.
- Like a book that keeps you guessing.
You will not like this book if you:
- Can’t handle a few nightmares featuring you in a watery grave.