Cover Image: Imaginary Friend

Imaginary Friend

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

DNF. I couldn't connect with this book at all and found it really hard to get into. I had high hopes for this, which is a shame.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for the opportunity to read this one. Unfortunately, I DNF'd the book. The genre ended up being a lot more disturbing that I expected and just isn't up my street at all.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for the opportunity to read this book. It wasn't for me and I can't finish it. It wasn't what I was expecting based on the genre (general fiction) and the blurb, and found it disturbing as I don't usually read this type of book.
Was this review helpful?
Christopher and his mother move to the small town of Mill Grove after they run from her abusive ex-partner and, at first, their bad luck continues. The only work Kate can get just about pays the bills and Christopher still struggles to follow the numbers and letters which leap around the pages of his school books: when Christopher disappears for six days in local woods their new-found security is set to vanish as hospital bills start to pile in. But, just as Kate is set to skip town again it seems that miracles start to happen – Christopher, for the first time in his life, gets a perfect score on a maths test and using the numbers which were his answers Kate wins the lottery. Life seems to be improving until we realise that the voice Christopher hears in his head, a friendly voice, encouraging him to build a tree-house in the very woods where he went missing, is frighteningly real. The fight in his dreams, between good and evil forces, starts to play out in real life and everyone in Mill Grove is affected. With its cast of children led by a charismatic youngster it reminded me in some ways of Good Omens (never a bad thing) but it is far, far darker. There are still moments of humour but the sense of foreboding which starts to hang over the town as more and more residents fall into a flu-like illness, rising rage and a mindless hatred for Christopher and his friends makes it much more menacing. It also shares strong religious overtones with the Pratchett/Gaiman novel but, in this case, I definitely got the impression that the author was raised as a Catholic (like most of the residents of Mill Grove itself).

If you enjoyed Good Omens and Carrie this would be an excellent choice but, honestly, I think it is worth the effort of reading (even if 700+ pages seems like a big ask) for anyone who enjoys good writing.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks for the opportunity to read the extract of Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky, I'm afraid that it wasn't for me on this occasion and I struggled to connect. This may be one of those "right books but wrong time" instances and it may be something I return to in the future.
Was this review helpful?
Hoo, boy. The best way I can describe this book is absolutely crackers. From the start to the finish, it doesn’t let up, and by the end we’re being treated to scenes that are genuinely pretty disturbing- so much so, in fact, that I had to take periodic breaks, just to digest all the insanity that was going on.
So. How can I sum this up? It’s a story about Christopher, a seven year old boy who is abducted for six days. When he comes back, he’s… different. He’s smarter than he used to be and he can go into the imaginary world: a place frequented by the terrifying ‘hissing lady’ and his friend, the ‘nice man’. But he’s brought something bad back with him, and slowly the town around him descends into chaos.
If that sounds fairly straightforward, then do I have a surprise for you. Prepare for absolute madness. The story flicks between the points of view of Christopher, his mother and some townspeople, and my god, is it disturbing: we get eyes being sewn shut, immaculate conceptions, evil deer and whispering voices that make people do  bad things.
So far, so classic horror (I think. I make a point of not watching horror films, because I am exceptionally squeamish). The book sucks you in and made me, at least, compulsively turn the pages to find out what kind of madness was waiting in the next chapter. It is, however, long, rambling and with a plot that seems to repeat itself a lot, especially in the final showdown, where the ending made no sense at all, even if the big plot twist was a satisfying one.
It is also written in the simplistic way of a child, which makes sense as we’re seeing things from Christopher’s view. However, the graphic events described in the book and the copious swearing makes the reading experience more than a little jarring.
The perfect horror?
Not quite. This is like a cross between The Shining and Day of the Dead. Perfectly disturbing, and eye-bogglingly weird. But the plot drags: it could have been made a great deal more gripping simply by trimming the volume by about half. I’m not sure it’s one that I’ll be picking up again, which is a shame, because I adored Chbosky’s debut, The Perks of Being A Wallflower. Third time lucky?
Was this review helpful?
First off, I'd like to state my rating of this book is not because I was comparing it to Perks. I went into this book fully aware it was a very different genre then the previous, and I honestly didn't really know what to expect. While the writing in here was fine, and I'm sure for some people more versed in horror thrillers than me, there may have been some great writing and story play, I just overall did not enjoy my reading experience with this book hence the low rating.

Imaginary Friend follows the life of seven-year-old Christopher Reese and his mother Kate as they flee Kate's abusive boyfriend and end up making a home in Mill Grove, Pennsylvania - a small town with a close-knit community and most importantly, a safe place for a new start. Things don't go to plan when Christopher disappears for almost a week and when he reappears, he's not the same. Now he hears a hissing woman and sees a nice man, and he's aware that something bad is coming for everyone in the town in a terrible battle between good and evil.

Hmm, where to start? The writing and the characters in this I did really enjoy. I definitely felt a very instant connection to Christopher, who is genuinely a very sweet little boy who loves his mom, and Kate is that courageous lioness of a mother you'd expect her to be while still being really brave to new beginnings and romantic relationships. I loved Christopher's relationship with Special Ed and the M&M's - Stephen Chbosky is excellent at building up such lovely personalities in his characters that just wrap around your heart. He also showed his skill in this book at some not-so-nice characters like Mrs Collins and Brady and Jenny. Mrs Henderson and Miss Latzo also fell into this grey area where they were both good and bad because of circumstance but still redeemable.

I enjoyed the start of this book and the build-up to Christopher's disappearance and just what it was all about. Some of the twists and turns, and reveals, were cleverly done as well but I think sometimes when it comes to children in horror, things get a bit ridiculous that I don't find scary - such as the clouds, and the white plastic bag.

I'm still a newbie when it comes to horror and I don't have a vast array of titles under my belt yet so I'm still figuring out what I like to read about in the genre and this type of horror I think just wasn't quite it - from how ridiculous some of the scenarios got (though I could definitely feel the horror and how scary it would be if a town got sick and mad at the same time). I didn't really like how messy everything got - it kind of felt like it was in a room full of brawling, screaming people and honestly, it really made my mind feel very cluttered and like I wanted to just sit in some quiet space or meditate for a while.

I'm not a fan of extremely religious books, and I didn't like how this book slowly started to reveal all the religious undertones. I didn't find the last couple of pages very surprising but also I was a bit like wtf.

A lot of the characters in this book, particularly the women, had abusive storylines or pasts attached to them and I just didn't like how people acted towards the women and talked to them. It actually felt a bit dated. From abusive fathers and mothers, to sexual assault (including the molestation/sexual assault of a child by a sibling), drinking problems, shitty husbands and abortion (I didn't like the language used around abortion at all - how it was implied to be wrong/dirty/murder). The pressure on Mary Katherine's virginal state was a bit nauseating and honestly the lack of information/knowledge she seemed to possess around sex, sexual acts, and even simple things like pregnancy tests were all unbelievable for me. I didn't like how Mary Katherine's character was used.

This book is also HORRENDOUSLY long. Way, way, way too long! Things felt like they began reaching a peak at 50% through and then it just kept going and going and going. I'm a fast reader and I found this book very long, and was very aware when I was reading it how long it was. So I can't imagine how a slower reader would feel. I do think personally, I prefer reading longer books in physical format so I can see the pages I've read and how much I've left. So maybe I wouldn't have felt this if I had a physical book.

Maybe this book would be perfect for some fans of the horror genre, those who like the classics, and horror focusing on religion and an archaic form of good versus evil. It just didn't do much for me.
Was this review helpful?
This sampler does exactly what it should : intrigue the reader no end and leave them desperately wanting more. Spooky, haunting, beautifully written.
Was this review helpful?
Wow what a creepy read!!  Even though this was just a small extract I'm am deeply intrigued as to where this will all lead to.  Most defiantly piqued my interest into reading the book!  Will make for a great autumn read. Can't wait!
Was this review helpful?
This was interesting and definitely a different book compared to his previous book. I did enjoy it and thought it was a great written thrilling book!
Was this review helpful?
I'm not sure what i was expecting when i started this but i wasn't prepared to be as creeped out as i was. I wasn't expecting an old school horror story from the writer of Perks that's for sure. It tapped into fears from my childhood that i'd forgotten or not thought about for many years. It made me wonder if there's a reason i store boxes and suitcases under my bed so no one could possible hide there. While some aspects may seem a little far fetched, if you go into reading this with an open mind you will thoroughly enjoy it,
Was this review helpful?
This extract definitely piqued my interest -  it looks like this will be dark and creepy read (perfect for Halloween). I'm frustrated I only got to read such a small section because it's not clear to me which direction this will take, but I will be keen to read the full book once it publishes.
Was this review helpful?
Incredibly creepy in a way that makes me keep looking over my shoulder when I’m alone in my room, this novel has something very nostalgic about. Something like IT/Stranger Things but something special. I love Christopher as a character, he seems like the perfect set of eyes to tell this story through and I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of this book!
Was this review helpful?
This sneak preview excites me for the final book so much! Chbosky writes powerfully as always and I'm intrigued to see the depths he will reach entering the world of thrillers. Have pre-ordered the book and am anticipating the release!
Was this review helpful?
A strong start and excellently spooky sample. Looks to be a brilliant Autumn read and I cannot wait to devour the whole thing!
Was this review helpful?
Wow, that was scary! Written so well, which created the heart pacing atmosphere. This is the start to a longer novel where a child has been missing for 6days and comes back with no explanation. 
I am looking forward to read the full text!
Was this review helpful?
This is a review of the teaser extract I received from Net Galley in return for an honest review. 

The chapters that I read were very reminiscent of Stephen King, and the chilling tone of the book manifested itself in the hairs on my arms standing to attention and my scalp starting to creep. At first, it seems a complete departure from Perks, but once the book gets going, the way that Chbosky manages to really get inside a kid's head and verbalize what matters really comes to the fore. 

The extract ended all too soon for my liking and I'm counting the days to the general release of the book so I can continue reading.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed the sampler it made for an intriguing start. Will be interested to see how the story progresses.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this sampler! There's a sense of creeping dread and I look forward to reading the full novel.
Was this review helpful?
I really didn't get on with this book at all. I found Chbosky's writing style much too florid and yet it still didn't give me enough information about the characters to truly care. At 720 pages it could have done with some serious editing, as there was a lot of repition. And I found the religious analogy at the centre to be completely ridiculous. I feel like Chbosky is trying to come up with his own version of Stranger Things and failing, though to a certain extent I can see how this would work much better on screen than on the page. All in all, a disappontment.
Was this review helpful?