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Imaginary Girls

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  4,805 ratings  ·  1,124 reviews
A beautiful and chilling story for fans of Lauren Oliver and Lisa McMann

Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be contained or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby. But
ebook, 304 pages
Published June 14th 2011 by Speak (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Wendy Darling
Eerily beautiful and incredibly disturbing, Imaginary Girls is a novel unlike any other I've ever read. As the story begins, Chloe is coaxed into swimming across a reservoir at night by her magnetic and beautiful older sister, Ruby. A dangerous and illegal activity, made all the more frightening because Chloe would be swimming over the lost town of Olive, which was flooded to make room for the reservoir. The idea of swimming over a ghost towns in the dark of night, with the possibility of "cold, ...more
Aug 25, 2011 Limonessa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of surrealism
Recommended to Limonessa by: readalong with Maja
Shelves: ebook, ya-lit, fantasy
2.5 stars

This is the first time that I've considered NOT rating a book. I felt, and still feel, like whatever number of stars I might give are not going to truly reflect my opinion nor do Imaginary Girls any justice.
So keep in mind that my rating in this case is just the result of a mathematical addition of factors, of things I liked and didn't like.

The story is, in a nutshell, a mystery. It's difficult for me to give you a synopsis of the plot, but suffice it to say it involves a mysterious re
I had heard that this was a strange book, but whoa! I do love weird, though. In a world where we get the same-old, same-old when it comes to books and movies, it's refreshing to get a truly original idea. Something that breaks the mould and isn't afraid to stand on its own.

Imaginary Girls is all about Ruby. Ruby is the girl no one seems to be able to say no to. She gets what she wants, when she wants it, no matter what. She has everyone tried around her fingers, and every boy stumbling over the
Rachel Hartman
OK, I think I'm finally ready to review this properly. Deep breath...

I didn't like this book.

I know, I know, it has four stars and may even deserve five, but I didn't LIKE it. It hit too close to home, and I'm having trouble working out a way to discuss that without laying my own crap out all over the internet in gruesome and excessive detail.

I'm going to have to approach this obliquely, I fear.

Long ago, when I was first became a parent, I read a lot of parenting books. One idea in particular hi
Sep 20, 2011 Annalisa rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Annalisa by: Nova Ren Suma
2.5. The extra half star mostly for the cover.

Interesting premise, but it failed for me in large part for one reason: I hated Ruby. And this is a novel that needs you to believe in the beautiful magic of the most narcissistic, vicious character I have ever read. Suma spends so much time in the beginning "telling" me all about how wonderful Ruby is instead of "showing" me anything, that the more Chloe went on about how charming her sister was, the more I couldn't wait for her to wake up and reali
AT LAST, I can finally sit down and write my thoughts on this beautiful book properly. I got to read early drafts of it (lucky me brag brag) and each draft was like perfecting perfection until the final version completely blew me away. I do not know how Nova Ren Suma sits down at her laptop and makes this book magic happen only that she sits down at her laptop and makes magic like this book happen. The girl is Talent with a capital T.

I won't give a rundown on the plot because I can't really do i
Dec 29, 2011 Karen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mello and Palice
Recommended to Karen by: Cillian, Wendy Darling and Paige
This review is spoiler free!

Here it is folks! My long overdue review of Imaginary Girls don’t blame me, blame uh… um… someone else.

This review is dedicated to the lovely Wendy Darling.

Imaginary Girls is, without a doubt, one of best books published in 2011. Although it didn’t get five stars it’s still one of my all-time favorites. It’s not like all the other YA books out there. It doesn’t have stock type characters, a predictable storyline or any half finished ideas.

Imaginary girls was weird.

Pennsylvania was a strange state. No one knew who Ruby was.
Should you - like me - love beautiful, dream-like writing and glittering, complex characters who constantly hover just outside your grasp in a gray area between evil, half-good and plain crazy, yet do not mind not getting solid answers at all, there is a serious chance for you to fall for 'Imaginary Girls' by Nova Ren Suma.

I read the eerie, eerie debut novel featuring a tight, strange bond between two sisters, a siren-like femme fatale c
Imaginary Girls leaves me feeling the way I did after seeing Donnie Darko and Virgin Suicides for the first time ever. Picture me utterly confused at times but mostly unnerved and slightly creeped out. Donnie Darko is my favorite 'WTF was that movie' while Virgin Suicides was my first 'how sad but twisted' one. That Imaginary Girls had me feeling both things (sometimes simultaneously) is quite a feat. Needless to say, Imaginary Girls is different... and I liked it.

Who else has come across those
Stacey (prettybooks)
I have an odd relationship with young adult realistic fiction. I keep on reading it although I often cannot relate to it. I think that, the majority of the time, teenage lives are portrayed best (but not necessarily more accurately) on television (e.g. Gilmore Girls, The OC, One Tree Hill… I do love American teen dramas). Imaginary Girls is the complete opposite in this respect and I think this is mainly because of the writing (and not necessarily the plot itself). I can't imagine that televisio ...more
Mar 08, 2014 Figgy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Margo Lanagan
Recommended to Figgy by: Shoujo & YA Banter
Let me just get this out of the way from the start; I’m really not sure how I feel about this book.

The evocative, eerie, captivating writing which is somehow, at the same time, simple in its wording, is not dissimilar to the style of Margo Lanagan.

The way this book made me feel queasy and annoyed, while still making it impossible to put the book down, was not dissimilar to Margo’s books.

And I usually find myself feeling a very similar mix of emotions after reading one of Margo’s stories.
I read IMAGINARY GIRLS almost entirely in one sitting. I was mesmerized by this book. The writing won me over first--so impossibly beautiful and sharp and resonant, every line leaving its mark on you long after you've moved on to the next and the next. But closely tied is the voice, which grabs hold of you from word one and just doesn't let go, not even after you close the book. Chloe is perhaps one of the strongest, most vivid narrators I've had a chance to read, insecure and awkward, flawed an ...more
I started reading this book in June. JUNE! I finally finished reading it last night. Admittedly I liked Imaginary Girls at first--like the first couple of chapters--then almost immediately it was all I could do to finish one page every time I picked this book up. The story is not that interesting. The writing-style is irritating and pretentious. It feels as though author goes out of her way to say things in the most roundabout way, in a way that's meant to be artsy and poetic. I wouldn't go so f ...more
Rating: 2.5 Stars

When it comes to Imaginary Girls, I realize that I am, as I usually wind up being, in the minority. Nova Ren Suma's debut is a beautifully written novel, one that is creepy, psychological, and will make you think. It is also, however, a novel that lacks a plot, whose characters fail to have any depth, and one that leaves you rather frustrated and puzzled at the end. Or rather, it left me feeling that way. BUT, no matter what I say in this review, you should know, first and fore
Aug 19, 2011 Alyssa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Big sisters and little sisters and those of you who like a dose of WTH with their bedtime read.
IMAGINARY GIRLS isn’t worth any Printz, but it certainly brought something fresh to YA, something that kept me up at night, checking the shadowy corners of my room to make sure I wasn’t being watched by some random, beautiful girl (view spoiler).

A summary won’t do this book justice, but I’m also not attempting one because I don’t actually know how to describe this book. There is
A Book Vacation
Penguin Young Readers Group has been extremely gracious to allow me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on 6/14/11, and I’m sorry to say that this novel just wasn’t for me. I always finish a book once I start it, but I have to admit, I was sorely tempted to put this book down and move onto something else more my taste. I’m not sure what it was exactly about this novel that made me dislike it, but I do know that Chloe’s unhealthy worship of her older sister bored me. ...more
I wanted to like this book more than I did. Unfortunately, the beauty of the language, the wonderful specificity of details that made it so lyrical and visual couldn't account for the lack of characterization or plot resolution. Ruby and Chloe's sister relationship never came alive or seemed real to me, though there were hints that it could rise to the occassion once they started hiding secrets from one another. London was the most interesting character. And the girls mom should have either been ...more
Oct 09, 2011 Hayden rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love brilliant prose and don't mind getting creeped out
Recommended to Hayden by: Paige
Imaginary Girls is one of those books reviewers cringe about after reading the first page, because they can tell it's going to be one of those books. One reason I will have an extremely hard time reviewing this book is because I'm still pretty unclear about most of the book.

Nova Ren Suma's writing is the most exquisite form of gorgeous -- it's kind of like drinking the most expensive, most pure bottled water instead of filling a cup with tap water. It's inspiring, amazing, and scintillating. I c
I just finished this book. Like, about five minutes ago. And I have so many thoughts swirling in my mind that I am not sure I will be able to give the book the careful deconstruction it deserves. However, while this may be an emotive review, it will also be a very honest one.

I started reading Imaginary Girls with two thoughts in my mind: one, I really like the cover (and now that I have read the novel, it makes so much more sense) and two, I really like books that explore sisterhood. I feel that
Chloe and Ruby are the closest sisters possibly imagined. Abandoned by both their fathers and having a mutual good-for-nothing mother, the half-sisters live on their own; Ruby making dues at the convenience store where she works. She holds a deep, disturbing power over the entire town, everyone treating her like a celebrity and inexplicably bending to her every whim. Even Chloe, a shadow of her sister, adores her and protects Ruby's reputation like a good younger sibling should.
But a death of a
Steph Su
Beautiful prose, a mesmerizing setting, and a mysterious premise are, in the end, not quite enough to make up for the minimal character development and slow-moving plot in this ambitious and convoluted novel. IMAGINARY GIRLS is beautifully written, but the lack of attachment I felt for any of the characters meant that I actually had to struggle to finish this book.

The jacket copy for IMAGINARY GIRLS doesn’t tell you much, and it’s better if you go into the book knowing just the little you know.

Mild spoilers here, come and have some chocolate.

So Karen told me to read this like, 500 years ago, and then I managed to borrow it from the library maybe 4 months ago, and I kept renewing it and renewing it and look, I FINALLY FINISHED IT. Leave me some of that chocolate by the way, I deserve it more than you do.

Whaaat? Then did I hate it? Is that why I want chocolate?

No no, it was uhmm… a good book. Good in a different way though. Look, all of the reviews for this have things like “weird” or
Ashley - The Bookish Brunette
Reading is subjective, we all know that... And I have to make it clear how much I HATE giving bad reviews (seriously dude.) even more than I hate giving negative reviews... I HATE not finishing a book. It's like going out of town, but not taking my red stilettos in case of an emergency. Unacceptable.

That being said- I had my first DNF of 2011. *sad face* It also happened to be my very first ARC. *epic sad face*

My review:

I don't enjoy books that HINT around things, it's like turning in circles u
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
It's been about a week since I read this, and I'm still not quite sure what to make of it. I don't even know how many stars to give it. I originally gave it 4 ... and then I bumped it down to 3 ... and now I'm bumping it back up to 4 again. Ack. I guess it would be at a 3.5?

Well, let's just say this book is confusing as heck.

As with many YA books nowadays, I wanted to read this because I thought the cover looked super cool. I'm also following Nova Ren Suma on Twitter and she seems like quite a
Jan 13, 2012 Steph rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
Imaginary Girls is my favorite novel in which nothing at all happens. It is also my favorite novel that includes an entire cast of pretty unlikeable characters. Doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement? It is.

I've had some trouble committing to books at the start of this year but Nova Ren Suma pulled me in and soon I was drowning in the spooky setting of this book. I wanted to know just what was going on in this ghost filled world. This isn't a mystery though, this novel is a member of the "magi
I just finished IMAGINARY GIRLS. Literally--I turned the last page a moment ago. It's normally a bad idea for me to write reviews without a breathing period, where my thoughts can take shape, my reaction stabilize. And I haven't written a review for a long time, have purposefully not written reviews for months. But I want to write this so I can think about this book more. I'm not sure what I feel about this book and why. I need this space to decide.

In some ways, this book was everything I could
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Imaginary Girls is not at all what I expected, in terms of story and plot. It is exactly what I wanted in regards to the beautiful, imagery-laden prose. Nova Ren Suma's talent at storytelling shines through her imaginative and interesting story, but doesn't entirely make up for all the missing details and information. Mostly, though, what this book is, is weird . Not in a bad "stay far far away from it" way, but in a starkly unique and thoroughly creepy way.

Being totally, 100% honest, Imaginary
Imaginary Girls can be summed up in two words: "Ruby said." It is the story of Chloe and the bond she shares with her older sister, Ruby. I don't have an older sister (though I am one), but I imagine, on the surface, Chloe's hero worship for and constant attempts to emulate her sister are very common in younger siblings. It seemed especially realistic in Chloe's situation, where Ruby had basically raised her from a very young age.

Chloe believed absolutely in whatever her sister said. If Ruby sa
Taneika (Flipping Through The Pages...)
More of my reviews can be found at Flipping Through the Pages!

Sweeping statement: I don't think I've ever read a book like Imaginary Girls.

Chloe believes her sister Ruby is capable of controlling anything and anyone, and she pretty much can. After discovering the death of classmate London Hayes, Chloe moves away from Ruby only to be bought back by her two years later to find that some things weren't the way they originally were. All because of Ruby.

Imaginary Girls doesn't have much action (in f
I love this book. It's so beautiful, from the cover, through the last page.

"Ruby said I’d never drown—not in deep ocean, not by shipwreck, not even by falling drunk into someone’s bottomless backyard pool. She said she’d seen me hold my breath underwater for minutes at a time, but to hear her tell it you’d think she meant days. Long enough to live down there if needed, to skim the seafloor collecting shells and shiny soda caps, looking up every so often for the rescue lights, even if they took f
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Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels THE WALLS AROUND US as well as the YA novels IMAGINARY GIRLS and 17 & GONE, which were both named 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound by YALSA. Her middle-grade novel, DANI NOIR, was reissued for a YA audience under the title FADE OUT. She has a BA in writing & photography from Antioch College and an MFA in fiction from Columbia Univers ...more
More about Nova Ren Suma...
17 & Gone Dani Noir The Walls Around Us Untitled The Walls Around Us: Special Preview - The First 7 Chapters plus Bonus Material

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“The story you choose to tell isn't always the story you believe.” 193 likes
“Sometimes a perfect memory can be ruined if put to words.” 169 likes
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