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Imaginary Friend

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  21,494 ratings  ·  5,217 reviews
Imagine... Leaving your house in the middle of the night. Knowing your mother is doing her best, but she's just as scared as you.

Imagine... Starting a new school, making friends. Seeing how happy it makes your mother. Hearing a voice, calling out to you.

Imagine... Following the signs, into the woods. Going missing for six days. Remembering nothing about what happened.

Hardcover, 705 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Grand Central Publishing
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  • Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
    Imaginary Friend

    Release date: Oct 06, 2020
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    A young boy is haunted by a voice

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    Giveaway dates: Oct 12 - Oct 24, 2020

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    Average rating 3.49  · 
    Rating details
     ·  21,494 ratings  ·  5,217 reviews

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    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.
    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
    Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
    Not to self: stop reading horror books with kids.
    Chelsea Humphrey
    Now available as a BOTM add on starting in October!

    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
    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
    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
    Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: owned
    "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
    ELLIAS (elliasreads)
    Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    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.
    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
    Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: horror, thriller
    “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
    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 🖤🐶🐺🐾
    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.
    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
    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:
    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
    Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    Find all of my reviews at:

    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
    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
    Apr 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
    This freaking thing! When I first heard about this book, i thought I'd love it. It sounds so fucking sinister! Yes, I used the f word! Why? Because, I thought I was going to read good, old fashioned, scare the shit outta me horror! NOPE. What I got was some messed the hell up, religion..type of bullshit. Why the hell anyone would try to mix religion with horror is beyond me! Don't get me wrong. There have been some effed up people who can combine the two. But, really now! If you think you are a ...more
    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
    Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: horror
    4.0 Stars
    Wow - now I understand why other readers love epic horror!
    Video Review:

    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
    ✨    jamieson   ✨



    Rebecca McNutt
    Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
    Shelves: fiction, mystery, horror
    I wasn't a big fan of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but I love horror novels and this book has been the whispered-about upcoming pet project of Stephen Chbosky for years, so I definitely wanted to read it. I had noticed some negative reviews, but still it looked like it would be an interesting story with a unique plot, and the topic of imaginary friends in the realm of horror is a trope which offers numerous possibilities. It's an excessively large book, with over 700 pages to go through, but ...more
    Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Recommended to Dennis by: Chelsea Humphrey
    Wow, this book. THIS BIZARRE AND HAUNTING BOOK. When I was in high school, Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower really helped me get a grip on my own inner demons, and it helped me accept myself and my differences with my other classmates in school. That being said, when I heard Chbosky was releasing a book 20 years later, I was curious about it's conception. After reading the synopsis; seeing it as a literary horror/supernatural tale of epic proportions, I knew I needed to get my h ...more
    Well, the ending was worth pushing through to get to but maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan was the journey long. I wish this book was about 300 pages shorter because it would have been told in a more concise way.

    There was a lot of early Stephen King feel to the book, especially in the length that could easily be cut. 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.
    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
    Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

    "Don't leave the street. They can't get you if you don't leave the street.

    I just... UGH... I don't know what to rate this because there were parts I hated and parts I loved so just like I did with Book of M, I am going to leave this unrated because this wasn't a one star book or a five star book and the other rating in between don't fit either because I felt very strongly about this book.

    So, what's this book about?
    Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life
    Krista Regester
    Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: favorites
    Five large stars please.

    You bet your sorry ass if I’m gonna read 720 pages it better be good. Yes it is long, but it’s also extremely well written – and it is SCARY. I couldn’t stop thinking “please make this a show” during the entire book. You have a whole lot of characters and a whole lot of details, and you will for sure remember each one of them.
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    Spanish Readers: * Amigo imaginario [Octubre 2020] 5 85 Oct 22, 2020 10:04AM  
    A Good Thriller: Buddy Read - Imaginary Friend 27 35 Sep 04, 2020 11:36AM  
    Stephen King Fans: Imaginary Friend by Chbosky 5 71 Apr 22, 2020 02:26PM  
    Goodreads Choice ...: Imaginary Friend - February 2020 11 105 Mar 25, 2020 07:51AM  

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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

    For as long as people have been telling stories, we’ve spun tales of the monsters and nightmares that lurk in the shadows of our imaginations....
    160 likes · 56 comments
    “We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.” 24 likes
    “Some people's fake is more honest than other people's real.” 13 likes
    More quotes…