Publication Date: 10/1/2019
Rating: 4 / 5
I received a complimentary advanced digital galley of IMAGINARY FRIEND. Thank you to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for the chance to read and provide an honest review!
I only very recently read and reviewed PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, so it was very much in my head when I saw that Stephen Chbosky had a new book coming out. While I knew that this was an abrupt departure from the author’s first book, I was thrilled to get approved on Netgalley for the digital ARC as this book sounded right up my alley.
In IMAGINARY FRIEND, the central character is Christopher. He and his mother have just moved into Mill Grove, leaving behind his mother’s abusive boyfriend. It seems like an ideal location to settle down until Christopher disappears for six days. When he returns he seems to be unharmed, but he is definitely not the same. Christopher is compelled by a voice in his head to build a tree house in the woods and it all must be done by Christmas Day or something terrible will happen.
This is a very difficult review to write because there is so much I would like to say that crosses over into the territory of spoilers. I was very happy that I was reading this along with a great buddy read group on Instagram because this is a book with a lot going on and a lot to unpack and discuss. This is a great pick for book clubs and buddy reads!
The book started off very strong for me. While it is a 700+ page tome, it read very quickly especially in the beginning. Chbosky does an amazing job of building the eerie suspense. This is a novel that caries with it a lot of IT vibes for me, kids going up against an evil that they are singularly capable of fighting against and seeing things that are unknown to the adult world around them. There are many mysteries going on which leave you flipping pages to find out what is going on.
This book gets a lot of credit for me for providing the creeps and chills I was looking for, but there were some things that I didn’t care for. I didn’t go into this book expecting the book to be so heavily religious. Also, the ending felt a bit drawn out and it left me a little underwhelmed as well.
I really am glad that I was able to read this book and I do recommend it if you are looking for a chilling fall read. It definitely gives a different spin on the countdown to Christmas, so it’s perfect for the fall and the end of the year!