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Imaginary Girls - Nova Ren Suma

This is one of the creepiest, most disturbing books I have read in a long time. Wonderfully descriptive, and creepy because the threat wasn't ever obvious. It was very well hidden in the story and its disturbing because you never quite know...what...the danger is. Its obvious there's something not right, but its never really explained clearly what.  Review does contain some mild plot spoilers.


It was a completely captivating book. I loved the setting, the small town and the lost city beneath the reservoir was deliciously eerie. I loved the metaphors and similes. Most of the story seemed to be a fairly ordinary one. Regular teen Chloe who has a fantastic older sister that the town she lives in seems to love. Everyone adores her sister Ruby, who isn't even the nicest person in the world. Ruby is a bitch. She's selfish and I did not like her at all. I don't get the fascination with her.


You were either awed by Ruby or terrified by her, and Chloe comes along with the picture. Everyone knows who she is whether they like Ruby or not.  Ruby seems to have the world in the palm of her hand, everyone finds themselves doing what she wants before they even realise it Chloe comes along for the ride, and I found it sort of hard to tell whether she likes it or not that much. And this seems perfectly normal. Ruby doesn't seem to give a crap about anyone.


Other than her baby sister. While I was not a Ruby fan, I did really like her relationship with her sister, they were each other's worlds. They have the same mother, different fathers, when Chloe is sent to live with her father after a situation that leads to her finding a dead body, Ruby does try to make a huge effort to get Chloe back, but winds up manipulating her to come home her own way.


As Chloe comes back, things are the same but in a weird way...different. And things start to unravel about Ruby and the towns people's fascination with her.  And there's a few big shocks in store for Chloe as well. Ruby becomes quite contradictory in her relationship with her sister in do what I say not what I do kind of way at some point in the story, and that got annoying.


Thankfully Chloe is much more likeable character than Ruby, and by that point is smart enough to have realised something is not right. I got the impression she's always sort of known but never quite really wanted to deal with it.


Despite my absolute dislike for Ruby, its just impossible to put this book down. Its a little long winded, but so gripping in its storytelling and style of writing, its easy to overlook. I kept waiting for something huge and scary to happen with the style and tone. Its a feeling of dread throughout waiting for the big reveal.


It is concluded as a stand alone, and still left me with quite an unsettling feeling and a shiver when I closed the book. I loved it.


Crosses off a square for my Summer Bingo reading challenge - strong sibling relationship.