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Chandra's Review- Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

"A nightmare is nothing more than a dream gone sick."
This book.... THIS BOOK.  I never read Perks of Being a Wallflower but what I do know is that this author went to a completely different genre with this young adult horror fiction read.  Is it worth every 700+ page?  You bet your ass it is.
To begin with, the main character's name is Christopher Reese - this made it somewhat sentimental to me because my family became very close with the Reese family when we lived in Italy.  Their youngest was their son, Christopher who became a brother to me over the years and somehow that made this is a bit sentimental to me.  Both have a strong relationship with their mothers and both are the best and sweetest boys.  Listen, if you can find something in your real life that anchors you to the fictional life in the book you're reading, it absolutely makes a difference.
There were also a couple of incidents that truly reminded me of my childhood.  Being pulled under a bed (or that feeling that something or someone was under there) was always a nightmare for me as a child (and once I woke up halfway under the bed, so yeah...) and that creepy ice cream truck jingle... UFF.  Both are mentioned and just grabbed that inner child within me all the more.  Even to this day, when the many ice cream trucks roam my neighbor at the weirdest night time hours, it still makes my blood turn cold.
Now, this book is just extremely engaging.  Even with all 700+ pages, the chapters are short and I love the various tiny changes to format riddled within. You'll know what I mean when you pick up your copy, and I encourage you to make sure to put this on your TBR.  This book is chock full of lessons.  A relationship between a mother and son - Christopher and how he takes care of his mother while she feels guilty for not being the mother she thinks she needs to be.  Faith, shown especially within Mary Katherine and where we get our first hints of the religious undertones of this novel.  The good versus evil and how nothing is especially what it seems - especially in the Imaginary World - STAY ON THE STREETS!  The loyalty of your childhood group of friends.  The past coming to haunt you and how you move forward in any type of life.  I could go on and on and on.
While I absolutely consider this my favorite of the year so far, there are a couple of things that didn't quite work for me.  The children being 7, made it a little bit implausible - if they were just a few years older, it would've made that slight difference.  Some things may feel a bit repetitive but personally I didn't mind this at all and I think that honed in on certain pieces of the story.  However, the baby teeth as a description definitely stuck in my head - I wish that could've been identified with something different or not described repetitively throughout the read.  But these are just nit picks that I can overlook because of the impact this story had on me.  Some people may think this could've been shortened but I think every single page worked to tell this multifaceted story.
For me, this has that NOS4A2 creepy vibe, "kids group fighting evil" King vibe with that Burton-esque feel. I would absolutely LOVE to see this adapted.  The hissing woman, the mailbox people and the nice man - each told and described in a tone that set you on your journey with Christopher in the Imaginary World and boy oh boy, these will be anchored in my mind for quite some time. And let me tell you what, I hope I don't run into deer anytime soon (or ever).
Basically, put this on your TBR, keep an open mind and set aside a few hours to really let this story seep into your blood stream.  I'll see you on the other side.
5 full stars
 
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