Friday, December 21, 2012

Book review: Imaginary Girls

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

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 to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

Real talk: I didn't like this book.

But I finished it.

Why did I do that?

I think, similar to The Maze Runner (reviewed here), the mystery of it hooked me.

There were a few things I liked. (And I hate giving an entirely negative review.)

ONE. The author does a great job with details. Really. The details create an eerie quality essential to the book. Things like the feel of the reservoir when it floods its banks, when Chloe discovers an inhuman talent of another character... It's surreal and creepy and gives the book a haunting mood that made me not want to give up.

TWO. There are some really great characters. I love Pete -- a guy hopelessly in love with Ruby even though she barely gives him the time of day, who you can relate to someone in your life. And just the lives of the young people -- London's friends mostly -- and the way they relate to each other seemed very realistic to me. Hanging out on the green or in a graveyard because where else are teenagers supposed to go to be free from parental inspection?

Things that bothered me included:

ONE. There is a HUGE mystery (which I'll not reveal here because maybe you still want to read it and maybe you'll love it because lots of people on Goodreads do). And one of the things that bothers me most is that Chloe, the main character, doesn't really seem to care. It doesn't bother her at all. She's content just going around buyin sunglasses and eatin popsicles as if something insane and impossible isn't happening.

TWO. Also: Ruby sucks. Chloe looks up to her and always talks about how Ruby is the only one who cares about her and would do anything for her. But from my point of view, Ruby only cares about herself, and the qualities Chloe admires are that Ruby can get people to do what she wants them to and that she's beautiful. So I didn't believe Chloe's admiration or gratefulness, and I wished the author would give us a little more to buy into.

THREE. Oh, and the Ruby is pretty and can get anyone to do anything she wants? Yeah, you really, really get beat over the head with that message. Apparently this is very important and the author did not want us to admit it. Which is ironic because...

FOUR. I needed the author to come out and tell me a lot of things that she just hinted at instead. I felt like I was missing parts of the book, or that I should know something I didn't. It was a very frustrating reading experience.

Once again, I don't know why I kept reading it, since I have no problem putting down most books if I don't enjoy them. I guess I hoped it would get less frustrating and I would get some answers. (Spoiler: I didn't.)

So I guess I'm not really recommending this book, but I am wondering if anyone out there has read it? Please don't reveal spoilers in the comments. But if you have read it, let me know because I'd love to hear your opinions!

Have any of you read this book? Or alternately, do you guys ever get sucked into books even if you hate yourself for it? 


Anonymous said...

Uggg I hate it when you go into a book with high expectations and it lets you down!! I sort of have the same problem where I commit to a book and finish it...regardless of whether or not I liked it. I think I do that because 1) I hate reading reviews where people are like "I hated it and quit after reading 1 page!" It's like really...maybe it would have gotten better if you had stuck with it??? IDK I think it affects the credibility of the review. 2) I think some reads are important, even if I don't enjoy them. Can you chalk this up to being one of those? After reading your review, I'm not sure if you can...but I thought I'd throw that out there to help you "justify" your time spent. :)

Shoshanah said...

I hate not finishing books, so even if I'm not a huge fan of something I'll push through. I will put off reading it, so it will take me longer to read, but eventually I make I point to finish any book I start.

Katrin said...

I do love mysteries but I guess I won't check this one ou! But I hate not finishing books too. I usually try to finish every book even when I hate it!
Have a wonderful Christmas, friend!


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