Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
June 14th, 2011 from Dutton Juvenille
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.
The first word that comes to mind when I think about this book is...odd. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. I had really hard time figuring out where this story was going from the get go. Again, not necessarily a bad thing. We find out fast that Chloe's sister Ruby is no ordinary girl. I could say Ruby is controlling, mesmerizing, and demanding. All of those terms apply to her, but there is still something more to her than her persuasive ways. The two sisters are separated for a few years after the death of a young girl. When they come back together, the girls live a life all of their own. They use and abuse just about everyone to get what they want - sunglasses, food, a place to sleep. Sixteen-year-old Chloe goes along for the ride, but she soon understands that the events of their one-horse town and the manipulative ways of her older sister go beyond the norm. Ruby is beautiful, but dang, her powers go way beyond her beauty.
I had zero clue this was a paranormal book until about page 75 or so. (I breeze through a books synopsis because of spoilers) I knew something wasn't quite right with Ruby, but again, I had no clue what was going on with her.. At times, I was frustrated because it was unpredictable, but in the end....it is what kept me turning the pages. I had to keep reading to find out what the H was going on with Ruby even though Chloe was technically the protagonist. When the side character of ----- comes into play, I was hooked. Nope, not telling you the name! So much time was taken for character development that, at times, I thought the story was a tab bit slow....especially in the very beginning.
The underlying story of an old town at the bottom of the reservoir was the best part of the story. I really wanted to hear more about the old town and all of the things that go along with the setting - I won't go into because of spoilers. I wanted the girls to go to the library or computer to find out more information about this lost town. Maybe that is just the librarian in me....something I would do, and maybe not young girls.
This book is really captivating, but when I think about the overall picture, I wanted more to happen. I could easily visualize the characters, and I was convinced that Ruby was different and Chloe was the innocent bystander (well, almost). What I needed was more conflict, suspense, tension.... At times I was waiting for something to jump out behind a rock or creep up to the shore. For awhile I didn't know what I should be afraid of. Ruby? The reservoir? The characters and the need to find out how in the world these two girls will fare are what kept me up at night.
Side note: Whew, gorgeous cover! If that is stock photo...someone give that guy a job!