Bite-Sized Book Review: Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

January 14, 2020

Welcome to the first post of my new blog series, Bite-Sized Book Reviews. In these reviews, I will give you my quick takes on all of my newest reads!

The Book: Imaginary Friend (Grand Central Publishing, 2019)

The Author: Stephen Chbosky, his first book since The Perks of Being A Wallflower twenty years ago 

The Genre: Horror in all kinds of creepy, nightmare-inducing ways but without a lot of body horror/gore - almost like a very grown-up version of a Goosebumps book. 

The Plot: Trying to escape an abusive relationship, a mother moves her son to a town with a dark history. Shortly after arriving, the young boy vanishes for six days. When he reappears, he has no memory of his absence, but has acquired a new imaginary friend. This invisible force encourages the boy to build a magical treehouse that he can use to save his mother - and all of humanity. 

The Verdict: This is 700 pages of almost pure adrenal that feels like a respectful and nostalgic nod to the classic work of Stephen King, albeit without gratuitous references to sexual situations or drug use. 

For Fans Of: Stephen King, R.L. Stein, Christopher Pike, and sounds that go bump in the night


What You Need To Know: There are some interesting twists is this novel that keep the tension high and the ending unpredictable. Avoid reading plot summaries if you can to maximize the horror. Social media spoiled an important reveal, and it took away from the impact of the story for me. Also, be aware that this book plays with a lot of Christian (specifically Catholic) elements that could simultaneously as preachy and/or sacrilegious, depending on your experience. 

Best Character: The Nice Man - the invisible force who appears as a plastic bag for a majority of the book. What we learn about this character is both complex and fascinating. 


Do I Recommend It: Absolutely! 




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Jennie Jarvis

Currently seeking representation

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