Saturday, April 28, 2012

Imaginary Girls

(Hardcover/Australian Paperback)
Imaginary Girls
by Nova Ren Suma
(Author blog)
Released: June 14th, '11
From Goodreads:
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.
With palpable drama and delicious craft, Nova Ren Suma bursts onto the YA scene with the story that everyone will be talking about.

A word about the cover: That hardcover version is the Most. Brilliant. Cover. Ever. Period.
And that paperback below? Hauntingly creepy. But the hardcover wins, hands down.

My Thoughts:

This is quite possibly the most gorgeous book I've owned. I doubt I can be coherent at all while talking about this because, honestly, it blew my mind. Wow. Just WOW.

If you ask me right now which author I so wish I could write like, I'd say Nova Ren Suma in a heartbeat. Not only is the writing oh-so-breathtaking, she blends it in with a story that will sometimes make your heart ache, sometimes put your heart in your mouth and hang on to you even months after you've read it (I speak from experience. Yes, it's been months that I've read it. I just didn't know how to talk about it. Still don't, but you get what I mean).

This is a story about sisters and obsession, about dead girls and lost towns, sibling love and sacrifice, destruction and resurrection. This is a story about magic. Magic that will make your toes curl yet keep you captivated. This is magic realism at it's best. The best I've read in years.

At it's heart, Imaginary Girls is a mystery. There's mystery in every page, in every character, in every action undertaken by a character. Ruby, Chloe's older sister, is perhaps the biggest mystery, which also makes her the most enticing character of all. Ruby is complex. So complex that sometimes sometimes it's scary. But she'll hold you entranced, like she holds Chloe and the rest of the town. Yet in spite of the power she wields, there will never be a time when you even remotely associate her with being bad. That's the kind of magic Suma crafts with Imaginary Girls. Her characters will make you wonder at their strangeness, yet you get where they are coming from. You might drown in the terror of the situation, yet you'll have your heartbroken in pages.

It isn't just the characters. The setting is stunning. I kid you not when I say it's perhaps the most vividly atmospheric novel I've read since Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. The reservoir which holds a size-able amount of the mystery of Imaginary Girls takes on a life of it's own. It's so richly evocative, sometimes I felt myself drowning in it or listening to it breathe in the night, like Chloe did.

Imaginary Girls is the kind of book that is built on paradoxes. Of reality distorted to suit personal interests. The kind of book that manages to be both startlingly beautiful and hair-raisingly disturbing. The kind that makes you wonder what the author feeds on to have come out with such an extraordinary piece of work. The kind that makes you want to give out copies of it to every person you come across just so they can have a piece of its magic too. The kind that makes you pull out your pen or laptop, if only to make you aspire to create something as marvellous.

Do I recommend this? YES, YES AND A THOUSAND TIMES OVER. And then some more.

And just so I can make you a li'l jealous,

Author signed! See? :D
(I won this at a giveaway)

Glimpse a little of the magic through the trailer:

How often do you read magic realism?


roro said...

yes i;m a lil yealous lol
i so need thisbook
gr8 review

Kelley said...

I loved this book! I agree, one of the most beautiful YA novels in existence. Also one of my favorite covers ever. ;)

Ricardo Miñana said...

have an interesting space, a great pleasure to read you.
if you like the poetry I invite you to my space.
happy day.
a greeting.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Beautiful cover, I agree...and what a wonderful review. Sounds amazing. I really must read this now. I am a bit jealous. ;-) That's awesome you have a signed copy. I don't know what i've read that would be considered magical realism. hmm...


Andrea @The Bookish Babes said...

It's been a while since I've read a review of IG. The book had slipped my mind. To compare the atmosphere to Wuthering Heights is the ultimate compliment.I definitely need to reconsider reading this book. Lovely review!

Anonymous said...

This was one of my favorite books of 2011. Atmospheric is the right word for Imaginary Girls.

Italia said...

Imaginary Girls is a book unlike any that I have read. The melancholy feeling that hung in the narrative enticed me into the book. The power that Ruby has over her sister, Chloe, is evident in each paragraph of the book. Chloe's every decision and almost her every thought were based on what Ruby would have said or done. I would have liked Chloe to have at least some characteristic trait other just being a Ruby wannabe. The connection to Chloe was missing for me. However,I did feel a little pity for her as I saw her heart getting broken or her confused state of mind trying to make sense of the things she saw. On the other hand Ruby is a character that will enamour you with her charm and strength. She can be cruel to others without thinking twice however, she is ready to go the extra mile for her baby sister even if it means potentially harming someone. Ruby is a character who has all the potential to be hated but that in itself makes me love her.

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