Review Detail

Kids Fiction 1203
Moving Read for Children (but Adults will Enjoy It Too)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Middle grade, as I keep saying, isn’t my jam most of the time. However, all of the praise made me want to check out The Imaginary, so, when the time came, I requested it, crossing my fingers I wouldn’t regret my choice. I’m so grateful that I tried The Imaginary, because it is this gorgeous, surprisingly creepy story about imaginary friends and growing up.

The introduction, as introductions often are, is a bit misleading. It does, however, set the tone for The Imaginary really well. I mean, the first sentence is “Amanda was dead,” so this book isn’t going to be all fluffy magic times. There are silly, humorous moments, but there are also really dark ones too. The best comparison I can devise is A Monster Calls, though that’s taking on a heavier subject. Both are surprisingly dark, with beautiful stories made more arresting by the use of incredibly perfect illustrations. The Imaginary‘s intended audience skews a bit younger, but both are very powerful and a feast for the eyeballs.

One of the downsides of advance review copies is that you tend not to get the final illustrations. In this case, I did get to see seven of the ten full color illustrations in full color, though they were put together at the beginning of the novel. From those, it’s clear that Emily Gravett makes excellent use of color, popping certain things out of a gray background. Personally, I love the illustrations in black and white, so this wasn’t really a hardship.

I can only imagine the finished copy will be stunning. The illustrations are amazing, but, even more than the larger pictures, I adore the small touches that combine to make this book so pretty. There are a few pages with white font on a black background or where an illustration interacts with the text. Page breaks have a little cat in a whole bunch of poses. Not to mention the fact that there’s this one page that will haunt me because the illustration does horror so effectively.

The Imaginary posits what life is like for imaginary friends. Rudger is Amanda’s imaginary friend. The idea of imaginary friends is considered from two main angles: that of the imaginary friend and that of those looking on at the imaginary friendship. I think these two different considerations make The Imaginary an excellent choice for both children and older readers, particularly parents who might be side-eyeing their child’s imaginary friend.

I don’t think that I had an imaginary friend when I was a child, but I feel really horrible thinking I might have had and forgotten one. Most likely my imaginary friends were all the book characters I clung to, rather than one like Rudger. It’s unbearably sad to consider the way they disappear once the person who dreamed them up forgets them. The library of forgotten imaginary friends is at once the most comical portion of the book and the saddest.

More than anything, The Imaginary delights in the imagination. One mother sends her child to a psychologist because she doesn’t approve of imaginary friends. Amanda’s mother, however, indulges Amanda, even going so far as to make food for Rudger, though he doesn’t eat it obviously. Combined with Rudger and Amanda’s story, looking at these two parents, it was impossible for me to see the other girl’s mother as doing anything but stifling creativity. Imaginary friends fade with time, but they’re sometimes an essential part of development.

I highly recommend taking the time to read The Imaginary. It’s under 220 pages and there are pictures, so why not? Seriously SO GORGEOUS.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Monster Hypothesis
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to Bohring-home to 453 people, 2,053 alligators, and one...
Where the World Ends
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Winner of the 2018 Carnegie Medal! New from Michael L....
Carnevil (Monsterstreet #3)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
“Fast, funny, frightening—and filled with shocks and surprises. These books...
Prophecy Untold (Shadow Realms book 3)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Finding out my mother was taken by the demons...
Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this charming debut about first love and second...
Six Goodbyes We Never Said
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love,...
Golden Crown
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
No longer only a warrior. Not just a queen....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first vampire. The last Nephilim. The end...
The Galactic Adventures of Hazel - Gurecoa
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
What is it like to live in 4519 AD...
Batman: Nightwalker (The Graphic Novel)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
This action-packed graphic novel based on the New York...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seventeen-year-old Rose Hemmersbach aspires to break out of small town...
Stuffed
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome, little one. You have been chosen to join us,...

Latest Member Reviews

No entries were found