Imaginary Friend [REVIEW]

9781538731338GCPChboskyImaginaryFriend002

 “A young boy is haunted by a voice in his head in this “haunting and thrilling” epic of literary horror from the #1 NYT bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower (John Green).

Christopher is seven years old.
Christopher is the new kid in town.
Christopher has an imaginary friend.

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Twenty years ago, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower made readers everywhere feel infinite. Now, Chbosky has returned with an epic work of literary horror, years in the making, whose grand scale and rich emotion redefine the genre. Read it with the lights on.”

On Sale Date: October 1, 2019
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
ISBNS: 9781538731338, 1538731339
Edition: Hardcover (I read an ARC e-copy)
Page Count: 720
Genre: Fiction / Horror 
TRIGGER WARNINGS: sexual assault, child abuse/abuse in general, alcohol abuse, violence against women

My Rating:  stars ★★★★ out of ★★★★★ stars (4/5)

 

I was kindly sent a physical copy of this book by Grand Central Publishing in exchange for a review. Thank you, Grand Central Pub! Any opinion stated is my own.

 

This review is SPOILER FREE!

I’m just going to start this review off saying that I’m not your usual horror/thriller reader. In fact, I’ve only recently started reading more thrillers. I’ve never really read horror before. These books just scare me so I would stray away from them. I’ve been picking up more and more Gillian Flynn and loving them so I decided that maybe I should give more horrors and thrillers a chance. So, what perfect timing! It’s the spooky season and Stephen Chbosky is releasing his second novel, Imaginary Friend.

I’m not going to lie, this book is a bit daunting. It’s a horror novel (something I don’t read often like I said) and it’s around 700 pages. Any 700 page novel is daunting to me but a horror novel?! I could never. But, HERE I AM. And I loved every bit of it. The main reason I decided to request this arc is because I am a huge fan of Perks of Being a Wallflower. I know, this book doesn’t seem anything like that but hear me out. I’m also quite the reader so I’m not afraid of reading things that make me uncomfortable and I’m also aware that an author’s writings aren’t going to be the same. I knew this whenever I requested Imaginary Friend that this isn’t my type of book but I trust this author so I’m going to read it anyway.

If you’re worried about this book due to the genre, the fact he only has one other novel that’s entirely different, or the size — That’s okay! Don’t give up on this book, though. I’m about to write an entire review about why I think it’s worth it and why I, someone who doesn’t even read horror novels, loved it.

If you don’t know what this book is about, the description probably won’t help you either. I think it’s best you go into this novel basically knowing nothing. It’s way more exciting that way. I realized after I had finish it that even though I did read the description, I still wasn’t expecting what I got. This isn’t a bad thing, though. I loved not knowing what was going to happen next. It’s 100% a page turner. The chapters are incredibly short and usually end with that sentence that leaves you shocked and wanting more. You’ll end up flipping through the entire book not even knowing how close you are to the end.

It’s a haunting story of Good vs. Evil, a story full of biblical references, and a story that really makes you THINK. There was a point in this novel that I got out a pen and paper to jot down notes and letters that ended up making a key sentence to the story. Once you read it, this will make sense. I also noticed while reading how EVERYTHING in this novel is important, even the time stamps because they relate to the story. I haven’t had this much fun reading a book in so long. I’m usually the type to figure out what’s going to happen next but once I finished this book, I couldn’t believe the amount of things I missed. I understand why it took so long for this book to eventually be finished. It’s genius. Stephen Chbosky’s writing style works seamlessly with a horror/thriller. The amount of foreshadowing and connections I didn’t realize at first blows my mind. It’s definitely a book I’ll pick up to re-read once it’s actually published.

There’s so many different characters within this novel but their storylines all intertwine and connect throughout the book and it was so satisfying to watch that happen. The cast of characters in this book kind of remind me of those in Stranger Things. I think this is the only reason this book reminds me of Stranger Things is because of the young cast of characters, the sheriff who plays a major role, and the mother being a main character as well. I also think this book reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s storytelling but Stephen King’s writing style. I can’t really explain why but isn’t that enough to make you want to pick it up?

I also want to quickly talk about why I think this book is still fitting to those who want to explore more of Stephen Chbosky’s writing after loving Perks of Being a Wallflower. While this is a horror novel, I would definitely call it a psychological thriller as well. This book portrays raw human emotion and sometimes, that can be scary. The amount of intellectual depth in this novel astonishes me. It’s a horror novel that feels so real because the role emotion plays and how it talks so openly about both love and fear. I think that’s why most Perks fans would love this. Also, it’s just a great story so technically, if you like good books, you’ll like this one.

I really can’t say much without spoiling this novel and trust me, I want to ramble on about this book with someone who’s read it. Jenna at @JennaClarek was actually reading it at the same time and it was SO fun to send each other reactions. We also had so many different realizations after this novel which is why it would make a great re-read. I can’t wait to get my hands on the physical copy so I can annotate the heck out of it.

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky is an absolute page-turner, a complex and captivating novel at it’s best. If you’re looking for a spooky book to read this season, I HIGHLY recommend this one!

 

Find Imaginary Friend at your local bookstore!

 

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

Books You Probably Didn’t Know Were Banned

This is an archived post. This original one has been deleted since it was on my old blog. Enjoy!

Guess what all of these books have in common? They’re all banned.

 Banned books are books or printed writing that has been removed from libraries, schools, bookstores, etc. due to controversial content. A book can be challenged by a parent whose child is attending a school and has a book on their curriculum/in their library. While these books do become banned, there’s a large population of people who disagree. 

Let’s talk about some books you probably didn’t know are banned (and you’ll definitely upset at the reasons why). 

  • Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 

If you’ve read Perks of Being a Wallflower, you can probably guess the reasons why it’s banned. There’s sexual explicit content constantly throughout the book but it still remains an important read. This book was banned for several different reasons but the main ones being:

  • homosexuality
  • date rape
  • glorification and use of drugs and alcohol
  • sexual content (masturbation)


Yes, books are being banned for homosexual content in 2017 and 2018. Unfortunately. 

  • Looking for Alaska by John Green

John Green will forever fight against the book being banned. This book being banned is quite shocking because I’ve read it and couldn’t exactly come up with a reason on why it was taken out of schools and challenged over and over again. It’s banned for reasons like:

  • inappropriate language (cursing)
  • use of drugs + alcohol
  • pornography 
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I literally had no clue that this book was challenged and considered a banned book. I’ve read this book twice and I genuinely love it. But, it’s considered a banned book. Here are the reasons:

  • profanity 
  • pornography


If I remember clearly, Eleanor and Park is far away from smut. But, it was pulled from schools for it’s “vile” and “nasty” language and it’s “trash” content. (You’ve got to be kidding me, right?)

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

I’ve read Sherman Alexie’s work in school before and never had a problem with it. I’ve also owned this book for years and had no idea it was banned. It remains on several lists of banned books and has been challenged multiple times. But, why? 

  • excerpts on masturbation
  • vulgarity
  • racism
  • anti-Christian content
  • encouraging pornography

Yes, you heard that right. It was banned and a reason stated that it was due to it’s anti-Christian content. 

  • Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by J.K. Rowling

Now, I knew this book was banned for ridiculous reasons. But, there’s still some people out there who have no idea. If you’ve read Harry Potter and didn’t know it was banned, I’m assuming you’d be clueless as to why it’s a banned and challenged book. Well, it’s for things like:

  • inappropriate language
  • glorifying magic and the occult
  • violence
  • religious reasons

Basically, I grew up hearing that Harry Potter is a banned book due to it’s glorification of witch craft. Again, yes, you heard that right. *sigh*

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give was published in 2017 and remained on the New York Times young adult best-sellers list for weeks on end. It’s won the National Book Award for young people’s literature and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in fiction. It was one of the most talked about books of last year and to this date. It’s clearly inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and covers the very important current topic of police brutality. It’s even currently being turned into a film. But, it’s been recently banned.

  • foul language 
  • “normalized sexual activity”
  • use of drugs

Despite the banning, the book still remains in some schools and is taught to be a very important book. The author herself even spoke out about the banning on Twitter but remains inspired to write.

As you can see, books that are banned are usually significant in their times. They discuss topics that we should be exposed to and understand. It’s unfortunate that these books are banned and considered wrong to parents and others, but people still have access to them. If you look at your own bookshelves, I’m sure you’ll find several if not many books that are already banned or being challenged. Can you guess why?

If you guys know any books that you think I’d be shocked to hear they’re banned, let me know!

I’ve listed some sources I’ve used below but feel free to correct me if I misspoke on anything!

Sources:

Are you following me on all social media?




Edgy Coming of Age Movies to Cure Your Nostalgia

I frequently search the web for coming of age movies set in different eras to make me feel better on a bad day. I decided that I would give you the list of movies I have in my journal that never fail to make me feel better. I’m not quite sure if all of these are considered coming of age films, but I’m almost positive they’re all edgy and definitely cure some form of nostalgia. These are the movies that help me whenever I’m feeling down. Hopefully, they can do the same for you! Enjoy 🙂

  • Almost Famous (2000)
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
  • Juno (2007)
  • Dead Poets Society (1989)
  • Lady Bird (2017)
  • Pretty in Pink (1986)
  • Me, Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)
  • Into the Wild (2007)
  • The Breakfast Club (1985)
  • Submarine (2010)
  • Heathers (1988)
  • Th Spectacular Now (2013)
  • Stuck in Love (2012)
  • Good Will Hunting (1997)
  • The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
  • Can’t Hardly Wait (1998)
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
  • Paper Towns (2015)
  • Eighth Grade (2018)
  • The To Do List (2013)

Have you seen any of these films? Let me know!

Are you following me on all social media?