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Imaginary Friend Kindle Edition
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|Length: 721 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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From the Publisher
"If you aren't blown away by the first fifty pages of Imaginary Friend, you need to get your sense of wonder checked."Joe Hill, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman and NOS4A2
"Chbosky's horror writing stands on its own...a gleeful meditation...the nine years Chbosky reportedly spent writing the book shows in his well-crafted scares, snappy pacing and finely tuned plot. Imaginary Friend is well worth the time for those who dare."TIME magazine
One of the Best Books of Fall 2019 as chosen by People, EW, LitHub, Vox, Bustle, Good Housekeeping, Pop Sugar, Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, Associated Press, and more
"A creepy horror yarn that would do Stephen King proud...The reader will want to be sure that no one is hiding behind the chair...That's the nature of a good scary story---and this one is excellent. A pleasing book for those who like to scare themselves silly, one to read with the lights on and the door bolted."Kirkus
"Imaginary Friend is a sprawling epic horror novel that hearkens back to the classics of the 1970s Golden Age, but, like Stranger Things, with a twinkle in its malevolent eye. Enormous, scary fun."Dan Chaon, bestselling author of Ill Will
"If you grew up reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower, you won't want to miss this spooky, surreal thriller...You'll feel locked in the battle between good and evil as Kate and Christopher fight for their lives."Good Housekeeping
"""A haunting and thrilling novel pulsing with the radical empathy that makes Chbosky's work so special."""John Green, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars
"""Reminiscent of the epic novels of Stephen King...With multiple points of view that probe the thoughts and nightmares of characters from all over town, this is an immersive read that walks the line between dark fantasy and horror [and] reads like a season of Stranger Things ... [Imaginary Friend] will sell itself to readers who have waited twenty years for a new novel from Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, 1999), but horror fans will also be curious. A big, scary book."""Booklist
"Like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Imaginary Friend says that no matter how dark the places you have been or the things you have seen, no one and nothing and nowhere is beyond redemption. What is astonishing and laugh-out-loud genius is that Chbosky has disguised all this wisdom in an entertaining thriller. In true Stephen Chbosky style, he gives you the bran and the doughnut. Spiritual enlightenment and horror. I don't know how he did it. But he did it. It's a masterpiece."Emma Watson, actor and activist
"An unputdownable, extraordinary book. Stephen Chbosky manages to combine the heart and emotion that suffuses all of his work with Stephen King chills. The pages practically turn themselves."Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen, #1 New York Times bestselling authors of The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl
"Sure, this unputdownable book is the scariest thing I've read in a long time. Mysterious woods. Evil forces. Unseen worlds. But it's also, like everything Chbosky does, imbued with heart and soul. You'll fall in love with these characters. That's why they stay with you, like a haunting."R. J. Palacio, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wonder
"Imaginary Friend has been a long time coming. And like a fine Bordeaux, it rewards that wait in countless ways. This is a fearsome, remarkably ambitious novel that breaks through the boundaries of the horror genre to become epic--in all the best senses of the word."Lincoln Child, #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Verses for the Dead and City of Endless Night
"Imaginary Friend is a simply extraordinary reading experience--it reminded me of discovering a classic Stephen King novel from two decades ago, but all funneled through Chbosky's utterly unique style. A tremendous read, every bit worth the wait."Blake Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of A Dark Matter
"Perhaps its most impressive aspect is the confidence with which Chbosky deploys the more fantastical elements of his complex narrative, using the baroque, hallucinatory imagery of horror fiction to tell a very human story with universal implications...Weighing in at over 700 pages, Imaginary Friend is an all-out, not-for-the-fainthearted horror novel, one of the most effective and ambitious of recent years...a page-turning meditation on human suffering whose spiritual dimension does not become fully apparent until the entire story has been told. Imaginary Friend may have been a long time coming, but the time was well spent. This is an absorbing, original and genuinely surprising novel."Washington Post
"With Imaginary Friend, Stephen Chbosky has written another classic, setting a new high watermark for fantasy horror. It is the greatest story ever told of love and salvation in which a little child shall save them. It is as spine-tingling sinister as any Stephen King tome, as ghastly as any ghost story by Peter Straub, as gothic as any Neil Gaiman title. It should become a horror perennial, taken out at Halloween and Christmas or any other time a reader wants a proper fight."Washington Independent
"Chbosky brings deep humanity to his characters and creates genuinely unsettling tableaux, including a nightmarish otherworld that Christopher accesses via his treehouse.""""Publishers Weekly"
"You won't want to miss this spooky, surreal thriller.""""Good Housekeeping"
"The author of Perks of Being a Wallflower goes full Stephen King in his new supernatural thriller of epic proportions....This is my kind of Christmas novel!""""LitHub"
"This is an immersive read...With its highly precocious young hero, the novel reads like a season of Stranger Things.""""Booklist"
About the Author
- Publication date : October 1, 2019
- File size : 1467 KB
- Publisher : Grand Central Publishing (October 1, 2019)
- ASIN : B07PKRX7YH
- Print length : 721 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #81,016 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The first 50 pages or so were actually quite good and interesting. So, if you've seen the reviews from notable authors, Joe Hill didn't lie. But you may have also noticed that Hill specifically spoke just about the first 50 pages. Want to know why? Because the story veers hard after that, and not in a good way. If I was reviewing just the first 50 pages, this would be a 5-star book. The rest of it plummets it hard to 1-star territory, though.
We spend the next 670 pages inside a Christian story that's so on the nose that it's actually overly kind to call any of it an allegory. After all, by the end there's absolutely no hidden meanings inside Imaginary Friend. And that's one of the most disappointing things of all because the term literary horror typically denotes a much more deeply layered experience that requires contemplation. There's nothing to contemplate here other than Chbosky's apparently skewed view of women, along with the question of why he felt the need to spend 650 pages basically preaching and moralizing.
If you're not into Christian horror dressed up as horror, this book probably won't be for you. Even if you are into Christian horror, this book still might not be for you because it contains a lot of profanity and sexual content that seems to be turning off many reviewers who should have been the book's primary target audience. For the record, I have no issues with the profanity and sexual content, although it sure would have been nice if women weren't portrayed as corrupt entities unable to control their sexuality. There's actually a scene where a virgin teen's sex drive causes her to "corrupt" her Christian, virgin boyfriend by giving him oral sex. ::rolls eyes::
The constant biblical references quickly became annoying and repetitious, as did the rest of the story. Everything was tied into the bible after the first 50 pages or so, and I mean everything. In one section, Chobsky writes that "the children scattered like the parting of the Red Sea" (or something to that effect). This is a prime example of everything being a biblical reference, and these things happen again and again and again, ad nauseam.
I'm pretty sure Chbosky has never met any 7-year-old kids based on the way he portrays them. And it's quite frankly disgusting that he insisted on writing the bully's nickname of one character, "Special Ed," almost every single time the character came up throughout the entire book. And it's not like that was just when people were taunting him. Nope. It comes up when people think about him, when the character is talking ("blah, blah, blah," Special Ed said), etc.
Okay, here's the thing -- this book pretends to be something else for a long time, but it's nothing more than the typical good vs. evil, heaven vs. hell story that's been told and retold for centuries. Chobsky does mess with Christian mythology a lot to create his own version of Hell, so at least there's a bit of originality there. But the idea of the Devil trying to escape Hell (every 50 years, apparently... sigh... can we please cancel the trope of 'X bad thing happens every X years?') by finding a dyslexic child and making him smart (as if dyslexia means you're automatically unintelligent) was just ridiculous. Oh, and of course the Devil chooses a kid who has been maligned by society because they basically have to choose whether or not to become Jesus by taking tons of abuse and then dying for everyone else's sins. ::rolls eyes yet again::
The imaginary world is Hell. The hissing lady who is portrayed as the bad guy is actually Eve, and she needs to keep the Devil in Hell. Because, as always, women are punished for their "sins" and are also tasked with keeping men in line. Here's an idea, hissing lady Eve -- instead of scaring kids half to death and tormenting them, how about revealing what's actually happening to get them on your side? Ugh.
I had to force myself to keep reading. Many times, I stopped and thought, "I just can't." And you probably shouldn't either.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC.
The pros: The characters created by Chbosky are wonderful. His idea for this book is great. I was on the edge of my seat for the first 400 pages...then it started to lag.
The cons: As I have said, the book is WAY TOO LONG. I also felt like I had read some of this premise before. This book totally smacks of Stephen King's masterpiece, The Stand and one of his lesser known books that scared the beejeepers out of me, Needful Things. However, both of those books were much better than this book. Yes, the Stand is a good 1500 pages but it was so good I never felt like it dragged.
Also, the theology thing got a little muddy and kind of weird. I think this book could be offensive to some in that regard.
I wanted to love this book. I was so excited to get it. I just can't get over how disappointed I was that the story essentially collapsed and became tedious instead of terrifying. Hard pass on slogging through this again.