Book Review: Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Title: Imaginary Girls (GoodReads)
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Page Count: 348
Genre: Literary horror/mystery
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.
You need a bit of background information on me before this review will make complete sense. I grew up in upstate New York, about an hour from where this book takes place (or at least from the real-world location this town seems to have been based on). We had to pass a reservoir to get to my mom’s friend’s house, a reservoir that had once been a town. I remember being super creeped out by the fact that there was a town under the water. I imagined all these dead bodies down there and was so afraid they would like float up to the top or try to drag other people down with them or something.
Flash forward seventeen years, and I pick up this book. About a reservoir on top of a town. A town where Ruby says people still live to this day. People who try to drag others to the bottom with them.
This book is basically my childhood nightmare come to life. It’s creepy. And sort of scary. Maybe I wouldn’t have thought it was as creepy/scary if I did not already have a fear of underwater towns. I don’t know. All I know is that I really, really liked this book.
But it’s not just the town and the water that I liked. I liked the characters. Or, rather, I often didn’t like them, but I was fascinated by them. Ruby is a really complex character. She comes across as this shallow person who only cares about makeup and getting guys to do whatever she tells them to do, but she also seems to love her sister more than anything. At the same time, though, there’s something incredibly creepy about her, too. I spent most of the book not knowing what to think about her. I’m still not really sure what to think about her. You’ll have to read the book to see what your opinion of her is.
Chloe’s interesting in a different way. She’s completely devoted to her sister, even when logic dictates that she not be. At the same time, though, her sister raised her, so her devotion makes sense.
I spent a good portion of this book confused, but it was a good confused. I trusted that the author would eventually provide the answers I was looking for. I still want to know more about Ruby, but I can safely say that most of my questions were answered. I didn’t come away from the book feeling cheated or anything.
The writing was also beautiful. I usually hate any sort of description in books, but this one was great. I could picture the town and the reservoir and their house. I could imagine myself in the water with Chloe at the beginning of the book. There wasn’t so much description that you get bored or anything, but there was definitely enough to make the book sufficiently creepy.