Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen

Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen
Release Date: April 1, 2015
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions
Genre: New Adult Contemporary/Slightly Paranormal

Watching children play and invent whimsical games of fantasy is one of life's great joys. But what if you could actually see your child's imagination as it unfolded? And what would you do if your child's imagination suddenly became dark and threatening?

Burned-out and broke, twenty-two-year-old single mother Anna Jennings moves to her grandparents' rural home for the summer with her four-year-old son, David. The sudden appearance of shadowy dinosaurs forces Anna to admit that either she's lost her mind or she can actually see her son's active imagination. Frightened for David's safety, Anna struggles to learn the rules of this bizarre phenomenon and how best to protect him. But what she uncovers along the way is completely unexpected: revelations about what her son's imaginary friends truly represent and dark secrets about her own childhood imaginary friend.

Living next door is Jamie Presswood, Anna's childhood friend who's grown much more handsome and hardened than the boy she once knew. But past regrets and their messy lives are making the rekindling of their complex friendship prove easier said than done. Between imaginary creatures stalking her son and a tumultuous relationship with David's biological father, Anna may find it impossible to have room in her life or her heart for another man. But as David's visions become more threatening, Anna must learn to differentiate between which dangers are real and which are imagined, and whom she can truly trust.

When I first started reading this book, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it.  I thought it would be too different for me.  It didn't take long, however, before I was completely sucked into this book and enjoying every page of it.  I loved the grandparents so much!!  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

At first, I thought it would be hard to relate to Anna in the sense that, although I'm a mother, my children never had any imaginary friends, and neither did I.  That disconnect was something I thought would put me off and keep me from fully investing in the character, but the author did such an amazing job with Anna's characterization, that I had no trouble sympathizing with, and feeling very strongly for her.  As a mother, I can't imagine what it must be like watching your child not only have an imaginary friend, but for that imagination to come to life.

That may not sound like a bad thing, and at first it isn't.  Later, however, a darker undertone begins to hit, and there were a couple moments that I felt the hair raise up on my arms.  I don't want to give anything away, but David's little imaginings did get a bit freaky at times, and I felt so bad for the mother trying to make sense of what she was seeing, and wondering if she was going nuts.

I really enjoyed the introduction of Jamie Presswood into the story as a love interest.  Although the romance took a backseat to the main part of the story, I was okay with that.  In fact, Jamie was an old friend, so I'm glad that I wasn't distracted from the main story line by having to watch a meet-and-greet-turned-love-affair.

I really don't want to say more because I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but suffice it to say, this story definitely had me engaged, on the edge of my seat at times, and really rooting for Anna to figure out the mystery of her son's imagination and its manifestation.  It had suspense, great characterization, and a very unique plot that held my interest.  Great book!

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