Imaginary Girls
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Imaginary Girls

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  4,431 ratings  ·  1,086 reviews
'Ruby said I’d never drown - not in deep ocean, not by shipwreck, not even by falling drunk
into someone’s bottomless backyard pool...It sounded impossible, something no one would
believe if anyone other than Ruby were the one to tell it. But Ruby was right: The body found
that night wouldn’t be, couldn’t be mine.’


Chloe’s older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to a...more
Paperback, Australian, 352 pages
Published July 2011 by Pier 9 (first published June 14th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(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
Lisa O.
Aug 25, 2011 Lisa O. rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of surrealism
Recommended to Lisa O. 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...more
Phoebe
Sinister.

That's the first word I'd use to describe Nova Ren Suma's young adult debut Imaginary Girls. It's the story of two sisters who live in a weedy backwoods area of New York State. One sister, our narrator Chloe, is considered the quieter shadow of big sis Ruby—a girl who somehow manages to bewitch an entire town into doing whatever she wants, no matter how sinister.

But it's a slow-growing power, made all-the-more creepy by Chloe's obsessive, oftentimes fawning regard for Ruby. While the ot...more
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...more
Annalisa
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...more
Courtney
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...more
Karen
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.


...more
Isamlq
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...more
oliviasbooks
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...more
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
Carolina
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
Penny
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
Figgy
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.
Shou...more
Keertana
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...more
Alyssa
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...more
JJ
Right, so I imagine this book, like Tahereh Mafi's SHATTER ME, is the sort of book to drum up a love/hate sort of relationship. However, unlike SHATTER ME, I actually fell in love with this one.

To be honest, I knew very little about IMAGINARY GIRLS aside from a vague notion that it was "literary". What I knew poking around the author's blog was that she had a way of writing about emotions that was gut-wrenching and slightly self-conscious, the way MFA students or poets are often praised for bein...more
Hayden Casey
Oct 09, 2011 Hayden Casey 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...more
Nafiza
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...more
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
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....more
Jennifer
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
Choco

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...more
Amanda
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...more
Steph
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...more
Meg
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
tonya.
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...more
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...more
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Nova grew up in small towns across the Hudson Valley and can currently be found in New York City and online at her blog distraction no. 99.

Nova Ren Suma has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and a BA in writing & photography from Antioch College, and has been awarded fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Corporation of Yaddo, and, twice, from the MacDo...more
More about Nova Ren Suma...
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“The story you choose to tell isn't always the story you believe.” 181 likes
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