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Imaginary Friend

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  12,057 ratings  ·  3,199 reviews
Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend. The epic work of literary horror from the #1 bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

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, she flees an abusive
Kindle Edition, 721 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Grand Central Publishing
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Average rating 3.52  · 
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 ·  12,057 ratings  ·  3,199 reviews

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Nilufer Ozmekik
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 (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.
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Liz Barnsley
Aug 13, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
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
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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,
ELLIAS (elliasreads)
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.
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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
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 ...more
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:
Oct 07, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
✨    jamieson   ✨



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
Rebecca McNutt
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
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
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
/ 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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Dannii Elle
“We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.”

Christopher and his mother have spent his young life on the run. First from the image of a deceased father that continues to haunt them, and then from the abusive figure that replaced him. Sanctuary seems to have been found in a small American town and even the clouds are smiling down on them as they begin their new life away from all real fears, but not from all imagined ones...

Stephen Chobsky begins the book with an introduction that pays
Jenny Baker
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, horror, 2019
I’m not even sure how to review this, so I’m just going to say whatever comes to mind and hope it helps you in some way.

This is the weirdest book I’ve ever read. Keep in mind that I’ve read almost 50 Stephen King novels, so that should tell you the level of weirdness you can expect. I still loved it and I couldn’t stop reading. Actually, I did a read-along with the hardback and the audiobook on Overdrive.

Christine Lakin does a fantastic job narrating the audiobook, but some of the book is
Kate Reese and her son Christopher, flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night and end up in the small community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania - just one highway in, one highway out.
Everything seems to be going well until Christopher disappears for six days. When Christopher was found, he seems to be a different person – one who doesn’t struggle with reading or learning, helping her mother win the lottery, and a voice that is telling him to build a treehouse in the woods by
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Goodreads Choice ...: Imaginary Friend - February 2020 5 76 Feb 21, 2020 05:07PM  
Fox Book Club: Best Horror 2 36 Feb 08, 2020 11:58AM  
Letras Macabras: Amigo Imaginario 36 112 Feb 05, 2020 05:59PM  
Madison County NC...: Imaginary Friend-Stephen Chbosky 1 3 Jan 15, 2020 12:16PM  
What is the imaginary world? 3 15 Jan 12, 2020 08:26PM  

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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.” 11 likes
“Some people's fake is more honest than other people's real.” 3 likes
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