Confusion is the name of the game. I enjoyed Imaginary Girls. It was well written and intriguing. I couldn’t stop reading it. But I also had no freaking idea what was going on for the entire book. The whole thing! And I still don’t. It’s basically this typical YA mystery, but then there’s some kind of bizarre paranormal thing going on that is never explained. It’s just a story of two sisters – one of which seems to be control people’s emotions, the weather, boys, and cell and internet reception…?
Ruby and Chloe’s relationship is extremely intense. Creepily so. I have a sister; I get that there’s an immediate closeness that comes with that, but I still don’t get the strength of their bond. Obssession really. If they were just two friends, I would call their relationship unhealthy. Maybe it is. Nope, it definitely is. Their mother’s inability to control her drinking makes their bond more believable, but not to this extent. Maybe it’s Ruby using her mojo to make Cloe as addicted to her as everyone else is.
It’s Ruby’s “abilities” that leave me a little baffled. I was with her until Jonah showed up. The guy moves to town and starts building her a house from scratch? He does everything she asks without question, including kicking him out of their bed to let her sister sleep there. And of course there’s London… Ruby exchanges London for Chloe so that her sister isn’t taken down into the underwater village in the reservoir?
This idea that there’s this entire drowned town underneath where the teens swim is deliciously creepy. I’ve mentioned before that I like this idea, and I love how it’s done in this story.
And when Chloe moves away to live with their father, Ruby brings London back to life so her sister will come home? And she is somehow able to block all signals from outside of town, but allow messages from inside town? I say again, I really like the story, but seriously, what the hell is going on?
Ruby’s abilities start to fall apart when Chloe defies Ruby and messes around with a guy Ruby doesn’t approve of – the first thing she’s ever done against Ruby’s wishes. But none of her “super powers” are ever explained. The story is so dreamy and ethereal in its telling. The best comparison I saw was a review that said if this was a movie it would be a David Lynch movie. That’s pretty bang on. It’s so weird you can’t stop watching/reading. The characters aren’t likeable, but you don’t necessarily hate them either. And the creator feels no desire to explain their reasoning. I feel like I should respect this. Maybe this is the Twin Peaks of books – that might be too high praise, but you get the idea.
This book is definitely not for everyone. Even though I have no idea how to explain the story, I kind of liked that it was so open, but I also kind of hated that part of it. Conflicted! But still a book worth reading for something that is definitely not cookie cutter.