Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Blog Tour- Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
"Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood."- summary from Amazon

This was an intriguing book and really interesting to read. There isn't a whole lot of characterization with the secondary characters though. It's mainly about Chloe and Ruby and everything else is kinda background. Suma has a wonderful way of writing and it really compelled me through the book, which was a good thing because I absolutely hated the character Ruby who gets pretty much all the screentime.

It seems odd, I'm sure, to like a book yet hate one of the main characters especially when there are essentially only two of them. But it's true. Ruby was insane and creepy and almost everything she did made me hate her more. I know what she did was for Chloe and to bring her back, but it just came out creepy and she was so rude to everyone else (and even Chloe at times). She was manipulative. But the need to find out what exactly was going on prevailed and I finished the book. I enjoyed Suma's touch of magic in the book; it's really subtle and not all about it yet at the same time, it is all about it and just out there.

The book is mainly about the sisters' relationship and Suma nails the dynamic really well, considering these two characters' personalities. They spend a lot of time together and Chloe does a lot of reminiscing too, so the reader gets a peek into their past a bit. The ending is pretty perfect, though it's not a happily ever after. It's perfect though for this story.

Overall, a book to definitely check out, though be prepared to hate Ruby. This book is atmospheric, lyrical, mysterious, and has that touch of magic that makes it a compelling read.

and here's a guest post from Nova:

I’m here spilling secrets about my book Imaginary Girls. As the cover says, “Secrets never stay below the surface.” I guess not, because here’s another one bubbling up now…

Secret #9: I didn’t read YA novels as a teen, even though I write them now.

I wish I could share a list of the YA novels that spoke to me as a teenager and inspired me to write YA today. The truth is, I didn’t read YA novels when I was a teen. Early on in middle school, I quickly tore through many books in the Sweet Valley High series and the Flowers in the Attic series, but I just as quickly moved on to my mom’s bookshelf. So at thirteen and fourteen and beyond I was reading Margaret Atwood, Marge Piercy, Erica Jong, and other women novelists I grew to admire. I read pretty much anything in the house—including my stepfather’s Stephen King novels, and a book I found on my parents’ shelf that gave me nightmares, a psychological case study called Sybil—and then I discovered poetry, especially Anne Sexton. One book I did read when I was fourteen or so—and I read this one again and again and again—was the so-called anonymous diary Go Ask Alice, but I didn’t think of it as a novel. I thought it was all true.

It’s not that I was ignoring YA, it’s that when I was growing up, we didn’t have the books teens have today. If these novels had existed when I was a teenager, I know I would have connected with them: Beautiful by Amy Reed, Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers, Good Girls by Laura Ruby, Hold Still by Nina LaCour, Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr, and more. I really wish I’d had them. Truth is, back then I could have used them.

So even though I didn’t read YA when I was a teen, I wonder if that’s why I gravitated toward writing it now, actually. It was something missing from my life—a huge, giant hole—and maybe it’s never too late to fill it.

Thanks, Nova! For more info on Nova, you can visit her website and also follow her on Twitter. Click here to read an excerpt from Imaginary Girls.

Now, Penguin has been kind enough to offer a signed copy of Imaginary Girls to a lucky reader. US residents only! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by Friday, July 8 at 9pm EST.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.


  1. Great interview, I was the same way, too - I didn't really get into YA fic until I was an adult. I love Cracked Up to Be and Speak, so I'll have to check out some of the other books on that list.

  2. Nice review James and you made me laugh with your comments about Ruby LOL. I didn't dislike her but I kept picturing Megan Fox in that role for some reason! I enjoyed the book though and glad you did too :)

  3. I have been curious about this one, thanks for the review. The fact that you hated the character so much tells me this is a good read, got to love when you get sucked into a story that hard!

    Yay for seeing a Cdn author on her list! (I'm Cdn so don't count me in for the contest)

  4. I definitely didn't hate Ruby. Although she was selfish and callous to most people, she obviously loved Chloe more than anything. And I can understand how she might not love or respect anyone else because of how blindly everyone follows her.

  5. I can't wait to read this! Thanks for the giveaway!


  6. I wish I had had YA as a teen, but I jumped straight to adult books too - loving these secrets.

    I can't believe you didn't like Ruby - I loved Ruby, I thought she was fascinating and everything she did she did for Chloe (well maybe not the ballons) it just came out kind of twisted. Plus I was so sucked into Chloe's POV that I couldn't have hated Ruby!

  7. As a writer, I love getting into the heads of other writers. It is interesting how much we all LOVE to read! Growing up, my dad was always telling me to get my nose out of the books. bummer... But the good news is, I couldn't stop! Loved Nova's book, and appreciate all of the references she mentions in the interview. Now my list of books to find at the library is even longer! Thank you Nova! And thank you, Book Chic, for the post.

  8. I loved mythology and fantasy when I was in the MG-YA category but there weren't a lot of them "back in the day." My favorite book was/is Little Women, but that's more an exception than the rule. The Hobbit, The Sword in the Stone and a few other YA books that don't talk down to their readers were my salvation. Now, I look at the YA shelves in stores and my mind boggles. Thank-you, Nova for adding another YA novel to my TBR list.

  9. Thanks so much for your review, Book Chic, but I actually liked Ruby. Especially how much she loved and tried to protect her baby sister. I disliked the background characters who "pretended" to worship Ruby. I thought this book was very well written and I'm looking forward to reading more of Nova in the future.

  10. Lovely interview. I wish they HAD more YA when I was a teen-the genre has exploded over the past few years, and I've loved it.

    jpetroroy at gmail dot com

  11. still dying over here not being able to read it yet. *flails*


  12. I didn't read YA as a teen or young adult, either. Thanks for the giveaway!

  13. I didn't start reading YA until I was a junior in high school. Since seventh grade, I read adult books from my mom's shelves. I'm twenty now, and read YA books daily AND write them. :)

  14. I'm reading this book this weekend and can't wait. I have personally voted it the most beautiful YA cover I've ever seen. Thanks for the review!

  15. I've actually been curious about when YA became a genre, because so many YA books seem to have been written in the last twenty years or so. I'm so glad I've gotten to grow up with YA books though!

  16. This book has received so much buzz! How could I possibly not want to read it? (extemter at hotmail dot com)

  17. I'm really gald I have YA books while I'm still a teen. <3 Thanks for this giveaway and it's facinating reading all of these secrets. Thanks.


  18. I want this book. Thanks for the opportunity. Loving all these mystery/triller type books coming out. Amy @bookgoonie
    bookgoonie at yahoo

  19. James, Thank you so much for hosting me on the blog tour!

    And thanks to everyone who commented and entered the giveaway. I'm relieved to hear that not everyone hates Ruby. (Obviously I don't hate her! I see her so clearly through Chloe's eyes, I don't think I ever could.)

  20. I also started reading YA a bit later in my teen years, reading more classic literature around 13 and 14. Great interview and thanks for the giveaway!

    renee8mc AT gmail DOT com

  21. When I was younger, I snuck into my older sister's room to steal her YA books: A Great and Terrible Beauty, Twilight, and Born Confused. I've always loved YA and I'm only 13!
    Great interview though.

    wordslikesilverblog at gmail dot com

  22. Love the review, I am definitely excited to read the book!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  23. I can't wait to read Imaginary Girls! It sounds AMAZING:)

    sylvia_uy4 at yahoo dot com

  24. I can't wait to read this! Nova is amazing! juanpablo.m.sullivan(at)gmail.com

  25. I want to read this book so bad. thanks for the giveaway. Great Interview.

    flaka.077 at gmail dot com

  26. I would love to read and review this novel! I've been watching for the release date on Good Reads :) edysicecreamlover18ATgmailDOTcom