Saturday, January 28, 2012

REVIEW: Imaginary Girls

Chloe has always had her big sister Ruby to take care of her - and Ruby has never had any trouble making Chloe and everyone else in town do exactly what she wants. But after Chloe finds a girl's body in the reservoir in their town, she's sent away for a while, and when she returns, she starts trying to figure out exactly what's going on with Ruby, the maybe-dead girl, and everyone else. It's twisty and turny and haunting and beautifully written.

But honestly, Imaginary Girls was one of those books that I admire but never quite warmed up to. For one thing, everything was really mysterious, and while I do like books that deliberately confuse me for a while (see also: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer), I get frustrated if things aren't explained to my satisfaction eventually. We do get some answers in this book, but not enough for me. This is an issue I always have with magical realism, and though I haven't seen this book classified that way, that's probably what I'd call it. I hated Ruby, which was probably intended but made it harder to keep reading, and I spent most of the book wanting to shake Chloe. By the end, the reasons why Chloe was acting in infuriating ways are explained, so I don't hate her in retrospect, but it still made for a frustrating reading experience.

On the other hand, the mysteries were compelling and kept me turning pages. There's a drowned city, which is an element I always like. And, as I mentioned, Nova Ren Suma's writing is completely gorgeous, so even though this book wasn't my favorite, I will definitely read her next book.

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