Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (2011)
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Mystery
This book is beautiful. And it's ugly, sometimes, even. And it's definitely weird.
I was in a reading slump. I didn't feel like reading anything at all and that is a very scary feeling for a book lover as all book lovers know. I started reading Imaginary Girls in this mindset, and at first I wasn't interested. Not much really.
But then the pace of the book picked up and I wanted to know more and more and I just had to read. And I also had to stop because I wanted this book to last, if that makes sense.
Ruby and Chloe are sisters. They might as well be orphans because they have different fathers and their mother loves her bottles more than she loves them. But it's all right, because Ruby takes care of Chloe. Ruby can get anything she wants, from anyone.
And so Ruby raises Chloe and tells her stories about the town that was there before their town but was destroyed by water when New York City decided to make a reservoir. And that the townsfolk didn't leave and now live in the underwater city.
One day an accident happens. Chloe is swimming and she finds a dead girl. She is sent to live with her father but after two years, Ruby wants her back. And Ruby always gets what she wants.
Imaginary Girls was... well, I can't even say. I really liked it because it is just so... strange (but good strange). There's a main character who isn't the main character, there is love that is more obsession than love but in the end it is love and the emotions portrayed in this novel turn everything around and make us doubt our assumptions about the characters.
I can't even describe this book properly. It has that ethereal quality of otherness that so many paranormal books try to achieve but can't. It is truly compelling and beautiful, not because of the writing being poetic or anything. It's just the story, the overall subtleness of the plot and of the characters that make it so. And Chloe's unique and flawed perspective is what makes this book so magical.
Imaginary Girls is the story of two sisters that had a hard time growing up. It's about love so strong it ends up destroying instead of nurturing. The characters were spellbinding and interesting. The story was haunting and the paranormal elements were subtle and so well placed you never really know if there is something supernatural.
The plot is well constructed and keeps you guessing. But what really makes this book shine are the characters. They seem so real and at the same time so... other, so different. I must say I didn't much care for Chloe's "love interest", though.
Overall, a great read. It is a mysterious book that will keep you reading just to find out what is real and what is not. Recommended.
Blast from the past: originally read and reviewed in 2012