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Imaginary Girls Hardcover – June 14, 2011

85 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nova Ren Suma studied writing and photography at Antioch College in Ohio and went on to receive an MFA in Creative Writing/Fiction from Columbia University. She lives in New York City.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (June 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525423389
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525423386
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,327,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novel IMAGINARY GIRLS, available now from Dutton. Her tween novel DANI NOIR will be released as FADE OUT for the YA shelves by Simon Pulse in June 2012. She has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and has been awarded fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Djerassi, and the Millay Colony. Her next YA novel, 17 & GONE, is forthcoming from Dutton in Spring 2013. For more about Nova, visit

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By O. Lisa on November 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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 reservoir, two sisters morbidly obsessed with one another, a dead girl in a rowboat and a series of unexplainable events.

This is one of the most distressing books I have read this year or, probably, ever and all I feel is that I just did not get it.
Let me make some comparisons that might help you out:
If it were an artistic movement, it would be Surrealism.
If it were a movie, it would be a David Lynch movie.
if it were music, it would be jazz.

Disturbingly creepy, oneiric, harrowing and full of suspense, it kept me on the edge until the very last pages. The word predictable does not exist in this author's dictionary, I'll give you that much.
But that the long awaited climax was, in the end, so anticlimactic distressed me very much.
For about 80% of the book I could not figure out, for the life of me, what was happening and why. I was expecting some paranormal element to give an explanation to all my questions but, in the end, there wasn't. It was just all surreal.

The strong points of this book are, objectively, the amazing writing style and characterization. The writing is exceptional and evocative and, thanks to that, some of the characters, Ruby in particular, come out well formed, palpable and yes, disturbing.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Evie Seo TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Wow, what a mesmerizing, ominous and eerie read that was! Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma is definitely not your typical Young Adult novel. It's dark and disquieting, and it will leave you deeply disturbed. Reading this book is like being stuck in a bad dream. Doesn't matter how hard you try, you can't make yourself wake up. And even when you finally do wake up, you still won't be able to shake off the reminiscence of it.

The story revolves around Chloe and her older half-sister, Ruby, and is told from Chloe's first-person's perspective. Ruby is the most popular girl in their small hometown. Everyone loves her, admires her, follows her and grants her every wish. It seems like she has the whole town magically wrapped around her finger. She's a free spirit that can't be caged or held down by anything or anyone. She knows what she wants from life and exactly which strings to pull to get it. The only thing Ruby truly cares about is Chloe. Being the older sister, Ruby feels responsible for Chloe and will do everything in her power to protect her. And when I say everything, I mean more than you can imagine.

Chloe looks up to her big sis. Thanks to Ruby, she gets to attend cool parties and hang out with cool people. The two girls are inseparable. Ruby is always there for Chloe, she knows exactly what to do to encourage her and make her feel happy. It seems like nothing bad could ever happen to Chloe at Ruby's watch.

One night, at a party at the local reservoir, something goes terribly wrong. Chloe, encouraged by her sister, tries swimming all the way to the other shore and back. Somewhere in the middle of the deep, dark water she comes across a floating boat.
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35 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Paige on July 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was recommended for me by Amazon based on other books I have read, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why. I also can't figure out why so many people gave it 4- and 5-star reviews. Usually when there aren't many 1-star reviews on a book I don't take them seriously, but I advise you to take them very seriously in this case.

I like to start my reviews with things that I liked about the book, so here goes: the cover art.
And now on to things I hated: The book itself. I LOATHED it. So I guess I'll start with something that I hated the least about it, which was the plot. It had potential to actually be interesting, with the reservoir and the town underneath and the girl who came back from the dead, but it was executed so poorly you almost felt like you were holding your breath and swimming to the bottom of the reservoir yourself just to find any reason to keep reading. The only thing that kept me reading was the false hope that something shocking was going to happen and make me agree with those 4- and 5-star reviews.
The next thing I hated was that so many different things were thrown into the plot for no reason, and yet it all seemed so unilinear. The things Chloe talks about at the beginning of the book-- the reservoir, her sister, the town called Olive-- are the same things she is still talking about at the end of the book. It got old after 3 pages of it, we really don't need 346 pages of it.
The end was predictable and didn't make me like the characters any better, because Chloe still talks incessantly about Ruby and the reservoir and spends way too much time hoping for things that will probably never happen. She turns into Ruby but still worships her, so it's not like she learned anything.
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