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Imaginary Friend

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  42,416 ratings  ·  9,087 reviews
Christopher is seven years old.
Christopher is the new kid in town.
Christopher has an imaginary friend.

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the
Hardcover, 705 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Grand Central Publishing
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Tory Absolutely not, because it's hard to be suspenseful over 800 damn pages. And it isn't. It should be half that length. You will be bored to tears.…moreAbsolutely not, because it's hard to be suspenseful over 800 damn pages. And it isn't. It should be half that length. You will be bored to tears.(less)

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Average rating 3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  42,416 ratings  ·  9,087 reviews

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Nilufer Ozmekik
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was so afraid of my contact lens numbers were going to be bigger than my irises after I finished this book (Give me a biggest Chardonnay break, my dear friends, this month I read “Institution”, “Gold Finch” and still working on “Priory of Orange Tree” which has also 800 pages. My red eyed image is still giving creeps to neighborhood kids and their mothers which is fine with me, I can eat trick or treat candies I’ve bough to serve them and I could also steal their M&M- only the red ones, they c ...more
Liz Barnsley
Aug 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
This morning I FINALLY managed to finish Imaginary Friend. I started this book and was immediately hooked. It was uber creepy, really well written, I was loving it.

Sadly it was all downhill from there. 700+ pages of which maybe half ended up being relevant/adding to the story. Now I love a tome. I recently read Wanderers which was longer than this one but had zero wasted scenes or words and was an epic that read fast. So it's not the length itself that was an issue. I read King and Tolstoy. Trus
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
This started off really strong, but I gotta be honest with you all: I completely stopped giving a shit about this at about the 65% mark. This book was just way too long with not enough pay off. The biggest meh.
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
Not to self: stop reading horror books with kids.
ELLIAS (elliasreads)
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books, i-own
Y’all are fools.
This 3.54 star rating? It’s all a lie.


If A Nightmare on Elm Street and Coraline had a baby together: Imaginary Friend.
Chelsea Humphrey
Long ago, books stopped terrifying me in the way that people search out from the likes of gory, graphic horror films. Somewhere upon entering adulthood, the paranormal took a backseat to the chills provided by child abuse, sexual assault, and the murder of members of minority groups who never gain an ounce of justice, but this book terrified me in ways that I haven't experienced in over a decade, mainly due to combining paranormal AND realistic horror. I'll go into more detail at the end, comple ...more
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
how in the world did stephen chbosky go from writing 'we accept the love we think we deserve' to an entire book dedicated to a child haunted by horrifying imaginary people?!

i guess 20 years between books is enough time for an author to change. and in this case, 20 years to plan stephen kings demise. because holy crap. this is the creepiest thing ive ever read, in the most bizarre way possible.

this actually reminded me a lot of ‘stranger things’ - strange things happen, its a little spooky and
Kai Spellmeier
"We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us."

Imaginary Friend feels very much like a classic horror novel which is both a good and a bad thing. To begin with, we have a group of young kids, an unknown evil that fills them with fear and despair, a small town on the brink of chaos, and missing dead children from 50 years ago. And it is terribly creepy. When I first read The Perks of Being a Wallflower I remember feeling underwhelmed. I didn’t get why people loved this story so much. Neithe
Charlotte May
Wow! I’ll tell you now, this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it was 100% up my street.

Mind bending, so incredibly clever with such beautiful and heartfelt language and messages. I’m astonished and reviewing this is gonna be bloody hard.

"He knew how he found the skeleton. He knew that the bones had been there for a long time. He even thought he knew the name of the kid who died. But he couldn't tell the grown-ups that. Because eventually, they would ask him how he knew everything. And he on
Whitney Atkinson
I'll be first to admit that I never read horror, nor do I have the interest, but I wanted to give Stephen Chbosky a try just because he was an iconic author of my teenage years. But this..... wasn't it. Even from the objective perspective of someone not into horror, especially paranormal/fantastical horror, this was a longwinded mess.

This book started out strong to trick you to read on, but the ending was catastrophically terrible. The first 25% is basically what the synopsis describes, and then
Cindy :: leavemetomybooks ::
Nov 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 01-stars
sUch A MaSsiVe waStE oF tiMe.

The first bit was creepy and spooky, and I loved it enough to be duped into reading the next 600+ pages hoping something great would happen. And then feeling throughout like maybe I should stop reading? But oh man I’ve already read 250-300-450-500 pages, and I’m in it, and I should just finish it because it could turn itself around and maybe, maybe, maybe....

Nope. Instead I got this:

A few twists and turns and scary parts, but mostly hundreds and hundreds of pages of
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller, horror
“Death is coming! Death is here! We’ll die on Christmas Day!”
- Stephen Chbosky, Imaginary Friend

Holy wow.

This is a tough one to talk about.

For about 600 of this book’s 700 pages, I was fully committed and absolutely on board. I was enjoying every page of Stephen Chbosky’s Imaginary Friend, marveling at the intricate plotting, the engaging characters, the slam-bang set-pieces, and the utter uniqueness of the premise, even as I mentally ticked off all the influences (A Nightmare on Elm Street,
This book went two vastly different directions for me.

Sometimes I thought it was fascinating, unique, creative, and genius – 5 stars

Other times I though it was dragging on, too repetitive, wanted it to get to the point, way too long – 1 star

Sometimes those two feelings would occur within a couple of pages of each other.

It was quite wild ride!

This is nothing like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. If I didn’t know it was the same author, I would never have guessed it.

The story reminded me of a mix
Oct 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audio, overdrive
Started ok, but dragged on way too long. It really should have been half its length. I skimmed to the end and my rating kept shedding stars as I plowed through the nonsense. I am not a fan of Christian fiction and if it had been advertised as such I never would have started the book, and I would have been spared.
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Perks of Being a Wallflower was not part of my adolescence and I’m not much of a horror reader although I do enjoy it every once in a great while. So, I’m not quite the right reader for this ambitious novel. Needless to say twenty years after the publication of Perks, Imaginary Friend is quite a departure for Chbosky. As is fairly typical of horror novels, the main conflict is good vs. evil, God vs. the devil and so on and so forth. The kids-in-jeopardy trope is in full swing which echoes King b ...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Started out good for me, then turned into a slog. Sigh, whatever, moving on!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
"A nightmare is nothing more than a dream gone sick."

This book.... THIS BOOK. I never read Perks of Being a Wallflower but what I do know is that this author went to a completely different genre with this young adult horror fiction read. Is it worth every 700+ page? You bet your ass it is.

To begin with, the main character's name is Christopher Reese - this made it somewhat sentimental to me because my family became very close with the Reese family when we lived in Italy. Their youngest was thei
This 700 page book was a wild ride. This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year because I adore Stephen Chbosky and I couldn't be more curious to see what he does with the horror/thriller genre, and this book did not disappoint for the most part.

I recorded my entire experience reading this book in a reading vlog so I'm just gonna leave that here if you're curious to hear my thoughts: https://youtu.be/4Apl4du60fs
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.0 Stars
Wow - now I understand why other readers love epic horror!
Video Review: https://youtu.be/tXRuZKydia4

This was an incredibly engaging narrative that pulled me in from the very first page. While I normally struggle with long horror novels, I flew through this seven hundred page tome incredibly fast. The characters were incredibly likeable and writing was spot on. The narrative was certainly reminiscent of some of Stephen King’s epic works with similar themes, yet this novel stood on its ow
April Taylor
Sep 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley
The Perks of Being a Wallflower deserves all the acclaim it has received. Between that and my love of the horror genre, I was really excited when Imaginary Friend was announced. My excitement went even higher when I found out that Chbosky's first book in 20 years was being touted as a literary horror novel. All of these things should have combined into a fantastic reading experience. Unfortunately, it's didn't. At all. As some would say, I just can't even with this book.

The first 50 pages or so
Misty Marie Harms
Mill Grove, Pennsylvania seems like the perfect little town for Kate and her 8-year-old son Christopher. A few weeks after arriving, Christopher enters the woods and disappears for six days. Then he is found dirty, wandering the streets with no knowledge of what happened to him, except that "the nice man" saved him. Upon his return, the nice man who only Christopher can hear insists that he builds a treehouse in the woods before Christmas. So he enlists his friends to build the treehouse of all ...more
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
In this stunning thriller by Stephen Chbosky, the reader is taken through a dark world where a young boy holds a great deal of power in his small Pennsylvania community. After fleeing Michigan, Christopher Reece and his mother, Kate, end up in the Pittsburgh area, ready for a new start. Things begin in a problematic manner for young Christopher, who is ridiculed for being different and finds himself struggling with some learning disabilities. When Christopher goes exploring in the forest close t ...more
destiny ♡ howling libraries
After a lot of internal debate, I've finally decided to put this one to rest. I was so tremendously excited to read this that I picked it up as an ARC and read the first 30% or so, but then I set it down months ago and was never able to convince myself to put it back up. After numerous attempts now to resume it, I'm finally accepting the fact that I'm simply not invested enough in this story to bother. Chbosky is a brilliant writer and I stand by that, but the plot of this book simply does not w ...more
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I can't believe I didn't DNF this one. It was over 700 pages, and at least half of that could have been edited out to tighten up the plot and get to the action faster. There was a lot of repetition, and seriously, there were multiple climax points of the story. The "big final battle" happened three or four times. Much of the story never made sense, and if it was allegorical, well, it did
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

3.5 Stars

“A nightmare is nothing but a dream gone sick.”

Where do I even begin when it comes to the release of this (20 year) long awaited tome? I guess the easiest thing to do is address the obvious. For those of you who have been anticipating a new Perks to fall in love with, I have some bad news . . . .

There is no Charlie to be had here. Instead, there is a Christopher. A little boy who recently moved to small-town Pennsylva
Andrew Robert
Jul 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Imaginary Friend is a first-hand look into the innocence and terrors only seen through a child’s eyes. Reading this book was a surreal experience, Stephen Chbosky is an extraordinary storyteller.

When I started reading this book I immediately thought of The Odyssey. 80’s kids know what’s up! The Odyssey is this show about a kid that goes into a coma following an accident. Essentially, its a look into the child’s mind and his journey to return home through a magical imaginary world. Imaginary Frie
Brittany McCann
Well, the ending was worth pushing through to get to, but maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan was the journey long. I wish this book were about 300 pages shorter because it would have been told more concisely.

A lot of early Stephen King feel to the book, especially in the length that could easily be cut. It reminded me of reading the uncut version of The Stand. This was another Good vs. Evil with many players. I did enjoy the mother-son relationship and the way that guilt was shown in many ways.

The concept
✨    jami   ✨
“But I’m not afraid anymore because heaven and hell are not destinations. They are decisions.”

This was such a solid three star read? It had really good build up and suspense, and some concepts I loved in the second half. But I felt it was overly long and got too bogged down in it's concepts by the end. I felt like the author was trying to explain what he was getting at over and over and not nailing it. That said, I did mostly have a fun time reading this
Kayla Dawn
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I really enjoyed the first 300-400 pages.. everything after that was a pain. This was way way way too long for the story it was supposed to tell. Oh and I personally wasn't a fan of all of the religious talk. ...more
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing

October 2020;
Even better the second time. Wow I wish I could give this 6/5stars

October 2019;
wow woW WOW I absolutely LOVED this - I read this 700+ page book in 3 days and wow my thoughts are all over the place but I'll try to put them down here;

- I actually thought the length of this was PERFECT, i've seen a lot of people say it dragged or was too slow at the beginning, but to me this was the perfect length to do what this book needed to - i cared SO MUCH about every single character, ev
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add new edition 3 9 Oct 25, 2022 03:29AM  
Random Reads : Part 6-7 2 21 Dec 29, 2021 04:49AM  
Random Reads : Part 5 2 19 Dec 24, 2021 04:33AM  
Random Reads : Part 1-3 3 24 Dec 23, 2021 05:31AM  
Random Reads : Part 4 2 16 Dec 17, 2021 06:14AM  
Random Reads : December 2021 Pick: Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky 1 20 Nov 02, 2021 09:08AM  

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Stephen Chbosky grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Southern California's Filmic Writing Program. His first film, The Four Corners of Nowhere, premiered at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win Best Narrative Feature honors at the Chicago Underground Film Festival.

He is the recipient of the Abraham Polonsky Screenwriting Award for his screenplay

Articles featuring this book

Horror fiction, as a genre, can be fascinating to track over time. The scary stories that we tell ourselves often reflect the anxieties we’re...
764 likes · 192 comments
“We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.” 30 likes
“Adults are bad at remembering how powerful they can be because somewhere along the line, they were shamed for their imagination.” 27 likes
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