Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend.
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 Christopher at her side. 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.
Soon Kate and Christopher find themselves in the fight of their lives, caught in the middle of a war playing out between good and evil, with their small town as the battleground.
My Rating: ***** (5 of 5 stars)
You may recognize the name Stephen Chbosky as the author of popular young adult novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Even without having read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I can tell you that this is a huge step in a totally different direction.
Imaginary friend starts off slow and gentle, makes you start to feel a bit uneasy, then takes off like a rollercoaster with no safety belts. I read a bit here and there until I got about a third of the way in (and enjoyed what I was reading), and then couldn’t put it down. I had to know what was happening, what was real, what was not, and how it was going to turn out. The book was a little shocking at times, occasionally confusing (temporarily so), but definitely thrilling. All of the apparently separate storylines come together perfectly in the end. It leaves the reader with enough of a question to keep thinking about it long after it ends, but not enough for the ending to be unsatisfying.
Fans of C.J. Tudor’s The Chalkman or Stephen King’s The Stand will love this one.
I received a review copy from NetGalley at no charge. All thoughts and opinions are my own.