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all hearthfires & holocausts

eating books. bleeding words.

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R.J. Palacio
The Chaos of Stars
Kiersten White
LeighAnn Kopans
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John M. Cusick
The Dream Thieves
Maggie Stiefvater
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Cyndy Aleo
Imaginary Girls - Nova Ren Suma Imaginary Girls can be summed up in two words: "Ruby said." It is the story of Chloe and the bond she shares with her older sister, Ruby. I don't have an older sister (though I am one), but I imagine, on the surface, Chloe's hero worship for and constant attempts to emulate her sister are very common in younger siblings. It seemed especially realistic in Chloe's situation, where Ruby had basically raised her from a very young age. Chloe believed absolutely in whatever her sister said. If Ruby said Chloe could swim two miles across the reservoir at night and dive down into the deep where a flooded town lived and pluck a souvenir to show off to Ruby's friends, then Chloe believed she could do it. Because Ruby said. The writing is simply gorgeous; haunting and bordering on creepy just enough to give me that little clutch in my belly, but not enough to keep my up at night. It was free flowing like the water it so often referenced, with little structure but a rhythm that set the pace for the story. However, I felt the pace was a little slow overall, and while the writing was pretty, it was also rather meandering. At times I got so lost in the imagery that I forgot what was actually happening in the story itself. Added to that, I never particularly liked Ruby. I don't know if I was ever supposed to like her, but I feel (especially in light of the ending) that I was meant to feel some sympathy for Ruby, to empathize with Chloe's loss, and share her unwavering hope and belief that Ruby would return. But I didn't. I found Ruby wholly selfish and manipulative. She molded Chloe into her own image, orchestrated Chloe's life down to the last minute detail according to what she herself wanted, not what Chloe preferred. It was an unhealthy relationship, and one that unsettled me on a variety of levels. I prefer to think I was meant to dislike and fear Ruby, though. That Chloe's relationship with her sister was meant to be disturbing and without resolution. It gives Imaginary Girls an additional layer of creepiness, and really underlines Nova Ren Suma's skill in crafting a unique voice and story structure. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys descriptive prose and creepy settings, and those who can be satisfied with stories that exist without real beginnings or ends. [Side note: holy moly is the cover awesome and for once actually fitting for the story.]