Review Detail

Kids Fiction 1424
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

Goodnight, Little Llama
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meet Little Llama, who is about to make a very...
The Boy and the Sea
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A picture book meditation on curiosity, wonder, and finding one’s...
In Your Cozy Bed
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
A soothing bedtime board book from the creators of In...
Chicks Rock!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Rocker Chick overcomes stage fright to find her voice in...
The Beach (Bluey)
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Read along and join Bluey's latest adventure! ...
All About Bluey
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meet Bluey! This lovable and imaginative Blue Heeler puppy is...
Instructions for Dancing
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
THE INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The critically...
Jonathan: Prince of Dreams
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Still recovering from the tragic loss of his mother, typical...
Missing the Beat
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The dream job? Check. The best friends? Check....
Meeting the Star
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The spotless reputation? Check. The gorgeous movie star?...
Making the Play
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The school of her dreams? Check. The perfect...
Runaway : Immortals of Indriell
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
They claim her mother died a hero. They...
The Cruelest Mercy (The Kinder Poison, #2)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this sequel to The Kinder Poison—which People magazine...
Kneel
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This fearless debut novel explores racism, injustice, and self-expression...
The Tragedy of Dane Riley
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A teen confronts his feelings about his father’s death,...
Heartbreakers and Fakers
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
From the author of The Best Laid Plans comes...

Latest Member Reviews

The Day Before (Riverdale Novel 1)
 
4.0
"Riverdale: The Day Before features the perspectives of the four main characters of season 1: Jughead, Archie, Betty, and Veronica...."
These Broken Stars (Starbound #1)
 
5.0
""These Broken Stars" is an interesting YA sci-fi that follows two young people after a space shuttle crash. Lilac LeRoux..."
Deception (Defiance #2)
 
4.0
""Deception" continues Rachel and Logan's story as the survivors of Baalboden head into Wasteland to make a new life for..."
Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars #2)
 
5.0
""Across a Star-Swept Sea" is an incredible sequel that introduces a new world and cast of characters, making it also..."
Ready Player One
 
5.0
"I enjoyed this story it kept me entertained. I enjoyed the characters and ending."
These Broken Stars (Starbound #1)
 
4.0
"I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant to pick this one up. First of all, it sounded a bit like..."
Nevermore (Nevermore #1)
 
4.0
"What a ride! As a Poe enthusiast, I found this book irresistible. I struggled to put it down. And, when..."
Nevermore (Nevermore #1)
 
4.7
" It's great! What I love the most is how dark and gritty the world felt. It was so cool..."
How to Disappear
 
5.0
"I am so absolutely in love with Sharon Huss Roat. Her books are funny, relatable, and so easily devoured. I..."
Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1)
 
4.0
"Possible spoilers ahead. Angelfall is most definitely a unique story with a dark twist on angels and the apocalypse..."
172 Hours on the Moon
 
4.0
"172 Hours on the Moon was an interesting novel. It was full of suspense, thrills, and horror. The author crafted..."
Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1)
 
4.7
"This book follows Penryn, a young girl living in a dystopian world where angels have conquered the world and have..."
Vampire Academy: Last Sacrifice (Book 6)
 
4.7
"Rose Hathaway and Princess Valissa Dragomir must uncover the mysteries going on in St. Vladamir's Academy and their world. St...."
Thirteen Reasons Why
 
5.0
"Definitely the reason why I decided to reread this was because of the show. and now that I finished reading..."
Thirteen Reasons Why
 
3.7
"Thirteen Reasons Why (stylised as Th1rteen R3eason Why) follows shy high school teenager Clay Jensen. Clay has received a..."
L.A. Candy (L.A. Candy #1)
 
3.3
"This is is not very good but for some reason I kind of enjoyed it. It's going to be one..."
Anna and the French Kiss
 
4.7
"Anna's father decides he's going to send Anna to a international boarding school in Paris. It's her senior year and..."
Allegiant (Divergent #3)
 
5.0
"The Divergent series comes to an end as Tris, Tobias and the gang venture outside the fence. This was another..."
Vampire Academy: Last Sacrifice (Book 6)
 
4.0
"4.5 stars! Action packed and filled with humor, the Vampire Academy series is a great read for teens. Richelle Mead..."
Ready Player One
 
4.7
K Karen@Thebookreturn.com
"I have to say that I think this will be a must read for everyone although I think that those..."