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Imaginary Girls

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  7,147 ratings  ·  1,322 reviews
Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns
Hardcover, 348 pages
Published June 14th 2011 by Dutton Juvenile
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Naomi Lynn Yes. It's not hard to read, but a pretty captivating story. Probably not for everyone, but I've just finished it and I really enjoyed it.…moreYes. It's not hard to read, but a pretty captivating story. Probably not for everyone, but I've just finished it and I really enjoyed it.(less)

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Average rating 3.43  · 
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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
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of surrealism
Recommended to Limonessa by: readalong with Maja
Shelves: fantasy, ya-lit, ebook
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
Rachel Hartman
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had heard that this was a strange book, but whoa! I do love weird, though. In a world where we get the same-old, same-old when it comes to books and movies, it's refreshing to get a truly original idea. Something that breaks the mould and isn't afraid to stand on its own.

Imaginary Girls is all about Ruby. Ruby is the girl no one seems to be able to say no to. She gets what she wants, when she wants it, no matter what. She has everyone tried around her fingers, and every boy stumbling over the
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
“She smelled of deep, dark things and untold secrets and all of what she was keeping from me.”

Gah, Nova Ren Suma does it again. Just rip my heart out and stomp on it while you're at it, why don't you? It came as no surprise that I loved this absolutely stunning, bizarre, and deliciously creepy book after loving the author's The Walls Around Us. Suma writes about some of the weirdest darned things - like, say, ballerinas who are serial killers.

In the beautiful, whimsical Imaginary Girls, Chlo
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jun 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one.
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
“There was something to be said for the bodiless feeling that came after the cold. Something I would always remember. When you forget how bad it hurts, you feel so free.”
― Nova Ren Suma, Imaginary Girls

3.5 stars.

Imaginary Girls has writing that is so exquisite, you just melt in it. This is a book I have strong mixed feelings about and I have even read it twice, trying to understand it.

The focus is on two sisters but it is so much more than that. However, as deeply hypnotic the writing is, I fou
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Sep 17, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Aug 16, 2011 rated it liked it
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
A Book Vacation
Jun 04, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Steph Su
Sep 18, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
this has been sitting on my currently reading shelf for almost 5 months and i just have no interest anymore...i skipped to the end and i totally guessed right anyway. oh well. i think i'll have better luck with nova's other books as they seem more interesting than this one. dnf'ed June 2016 ...more
Tomoe Hotaru
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
Brigid ✩
Jun 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
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
Ashley - The Bookish Brunette
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
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
Nov 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Ms. Smartarse
Ruby has always been Chloe's hero: her big sister, who took care of her in place of their alcoholic mother. She was the one person everyone in town listened to. But our heroine was special, because she was Ruby's most beloved little sister. Everyone knew that the way to Ruby's heart was through kindness for her sister.

But then two years prior there had been a terrible accident, which culminated with the two sisters getting separated. Swimming in the reservoir was very dangerous, but Chloe had st
Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Colleen Houck
I loved the setting of this book. The idea of the reservoir creeps me out so much in a good way. Such fascinating characters and rich description!
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
Victoria Schwab
Jul 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly crafted voice, and creepy setting. One or two small snags for me but a very good read! I said it when reading Dani Noir and I'll say it again, Nova Ren Suma has serious skill. ...more
Asghar Abbas
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it

Well, this was fun
and all that fun wasn't all that imaginary.
It was quiet, fun, but it wasn't imaginary.

Love, love, love, love, Of Monsters and Men.
Read, read, read, read, this novel.

But as enjoyable as this book was, it wasn't terribly compelling. I remember, I vividly remember reading Nova's 17&Gone and loving it. I remember that being a bit more complex. Maybe that's unfair, maybe it is fair.

For an atmospheric setting, it wasn't really all that atmospheric. It just wasn't. It was abstract
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Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels THE WALLS AROUND US as well as the YA novels IMAGINARY GIRLS and 17 & GONE, which were both named 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound by YALSA. Her middle-grade novel, DANI NOIR, was reissued for a YA audience under the title FADE OUT. She has a BA in writing & photography from Antioch College and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and ...more

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