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Imaginary Friend

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  4,409 ratings  ·  1,370 reviews
Leaving your house in the middle of the night.
Knowing your mother is doing her best, but she's just as scared as you.

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

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

Hardcover, 720 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.
Bonnie While I'm really enjoying the book so far, the author is a bit off about children for sure. He has second graders with homeroom teachers, changing…moreWhile I'm really enjoying the book so far, the author is a bit off about children for sure. He has second graders with homeroom teachers, changing classes, basically acting like middle schoolers. (less)

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Average rating 3.55  · 
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 ·  4,409 ratings  ·  1,370 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, ...more
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
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.
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.
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 ...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.
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 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 ...more
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,
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
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 Pennsylvania
Charlotte May
Oct 29, 2019 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Update: this has to be returned to the library ASAP so sadly no time for Perks reread. Will have to reread that one another time.

Just picked this one up from the library. So excited!!! Gonna reread Perks before this one just cause it’s been a while, but I can’t wait to start it!!!
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Stephen King
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]
News articles are saying to expect this in 2019, which makes Stephen Chbosky's second novel a full TWENTY YEARS after Perks. Holy shit, I am so hyped.

update - may 10th, 2019:
I... holy hell, y'all. It's HAPPENING!

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
✨    jamieson   ✨



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
Rebecca McNutt
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror, mystery
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 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Yes, my title on this post is absolutely correct for those that know of Stephen Chbosky’s earlier works in the young adult contemporary genre, this new title is definitely some chilling horror. There are even some similarities to the horror master himself, Stephen King in Chbosky’s new novel.

The story begins following single mother Kate Reese and her son Christopher who have made a new home in Mill Grove, Pennsylvania after fleeing an abusive relationship. Mill Grove seemed like the perfect
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
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.
/ 5

Welcome to the world of mailbox people and the hissing lady, Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky was the perfect creepy October read!

According to an interview with Chbosky that I read on, it took him about 10 years to write Imaginary Friend, TEN YEARS!! I can only imagine the journey he went on writing this novel. There are plenty of dark themes, and focus on things like relationships, good versus evil and religion, but most importantly LOTS of the creepy and chilling. If I had to
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 ...more
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fantasy
This is a dense, well thought out, terrifying novel which is great for Stephen King fans. At a whopping 800 pages, I expected it to drag on with lots of filler, but the pacing was actually pretty perfect for me. It's an epic tale of good vs. evil and it's hard to believe it came from the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.


So much is happening in this novel. As the description says, the main character is seven year old Christopher, who has just moved to the town of Mill Grove with his
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Jul 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
Okay dear readers, gather around for a segment called "Unpopular Opinion Time".

Imaginary Friend was THE most highly anticipated novel of 2019 for me . I have waited t w e n t y years for a new novel from Stephen Chbosky! His debut novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower is my favorite book of all time so of course I've been looking forward to what he would write next. I was thrilled to learn last year that Chbosky had penned an epic 700 page horror story.

I finished Imaginary Friend yesterday and
Janelle | She Reads with Cats
Thank you Grand Central Publishing for my copy.

Stephen Chbosky’s IMAGINARY FRIEND is 720 pages but I promise it is worth every single haunting page. I switched back and forth between the audiobook and physical copy which I highly recommend.

Kate Reese escapes an abusive boyfriend with her seven-year-old son Christopher in order to make a better life and ends up in a small suburban town in Pennsylvania called Mill Grove. Christopher is such a sweet, optimistic kid who continues to struggle in
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing

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, every single plot line, etc. as well as it built up so much that we needed to know before the
I enjoyed most of this humongous book a lot more than I normally enjoy what I would rate as a three star read- so I gave it an extra half star. I don't know if I've ever said this before- I think I have my ratings broken down on my about me page, but for me: three stars is what I think of as "safe to skip". 1 or 2 stars is a recommendation to avoid and 4 and 5 stars is recommended to read. I wouldn't necessarily recommend skipping Imaginary Friend, especially if you were looking forward to it, ...more
Kelly  (UnshelvedEdition)
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-releases
This book was honestly one of the most creative and bizarre stories that I have ever read, but the bar was set high to follow up from The Perks of Being A Wallflower. You can definitely tell that Stephen Chbosky has experience in the film industry by the way this book is written, even by how the pages are laid out. The imagery in this book is chilling, the picture of the Mission Street Woods is crystal clear in my mind and I am haunted by thoughts of mailbox people

There were only two things that
Jade Melody

Received an arc from NetGalley for an honest review.

Thank you NetGalley for giving me the opportunity of reading this amazing book. As soon as I heard that Stephen Chbosky was writing another book I got insanely excited, without even knowing what the book was about. What I had in mind was something in the same genre as his last book, Perks of Being a Wallflower. This book is almost the complete opposite of that, and for that I am grateful.

This book was very intimidating to me. 700
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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
“We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.” 8 likes
“The candle flickered in the wind of the hurricane... Then, the light of one hundred billion stars burned out.” 1 likes
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