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Alluring Reads

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Imaginary Girls

Imaginary Girls - Nova Ren Suma Actual rating is a bit more 4.5In my reading experience I see that it is often difficult for an author to put a novel out into the wild that is full of lush, gorgeous writing and still have the story be utterly engrossing. So many times I have found myself bored with overly descriptive prose and I was beginning to think I didn’t like “pretty” writing. Imaginary Girls proved that thought wrong. This is a stunning novel that plays with your head from page 1 straight through to 346.As Imaginary Girls begins we meet Chloe as she sits at her small town’s local reservoir and listens to her big sister, Ruby, boast of Chloe’s swimming abilities. It becomes apparent right off the bat that Chloe holds a deep level of admiration for her big sister and as the story unfolds it turns into an unhealthy obsession. I can’t say that I fully understand the allure that Ruby held over Chloe and all the other residents of their little mountain town, but I liked the level of mystery that it created. Ruby could get anyone to do anything she wanted, and if Ruby said that Chloe could swim across the entire reservoir that night, then Chloe could. As she sets out to prove her sister's storytelling true she finds a cold patch in the water and right when she needs a rest she sees a boat and grabs on for dear life. She didn’t expect to find her classmates dead body in the boat, who would? She also didn’t expect to come back to the Catskills and find that very girl alive and kicking.Right off the bat we are thrown into a mind-boggling mystery that had me soaking up every word and pining to find out exactly what was going on in Suma’s story. There were entire paragraphs explaining just how Ruby would look at Chloe and with so little, they said so much, because in the end, this was Ruby’s story. She takes center stage in her own roundabout way as she does in her town. She is the life of every party, she is the burning center of gossip and true to her style she stole the show in the novel as well. I’m not sure that I really liked neither Ruby nor Chloe, but I got lost in their little head games so that never really bothered me. What I did really like was the secret of the drowned town of Olive and it’s gilled inhabitants that lived below the reservoirs water. One of Ruby’s (many) stories was about how the town was drowned out in 1914 and the inhabitants refused to abandon their homes. Every time Olive came up I got so excited & the way Ruby would tell her stories, revealing just a touch more every single time was awesome.Awesome is definitely a word I would use to describe many aspects of this novel. But I have to admit that in the end I was left… well confused. I mean, there is of course the very literal explanation to all the happenings that is laid out quite nicely by the final page, but I can’t help but think that there was a message in this story that just happened to fly right over my head. I have found myself thinking about every little occurrence and trying to piece together parts that I missed, which leads me to think there will definitely need to be a re-read in the future. Maybe I am thinking about it too much and I need to just sit back and take it for what it is, but there is just this big part of me that feels as if I failed to piece together a less obvious meaning.I will definitely be looking forward to anything from Nova Ren Suma in the future. Her writing is admirable in its beauty and her storytelling is something I found myself lost in every time I picked up the book. I definitely recommend this one if you are looking for something that will play with your head and leave you thinking about it for days.You can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.