I can’t go into many details about the plot, because discovering what’s going on is part of the experience. All I can say is that Aaron is a five-year old orphan living with a set of foster parents who care about the money, but not about him. He’s lonely and sad until one day he meets James. They recognize a bit of themselves in each other and spend the day laughing and playing, but when Aaron goes back home and inquires about James and his family, his foster parents tell him that there’s no kid named James in town. He keeps seeing him, though, and the other boy insists that he’s real and that he remembers where he’s been and what he’s done while Aaron is at school.
So the years go by, and we see their friendship getting stronger and stronger; we see Aaron question James’ existence as well as his own sanity, but their relationship is so vital, that they mostly ignore the obvious questions.
But how real can an imaginary friendship be? And what happens when Aaron makes real friends and is no longer desperate for companionship?
For the most part, Imaginary was an engaging, intriguing and sweet story. The two boys were adorable and I enjoyed watching them grow and support each other. I was also dying to know what was going on, and how the author would manage to pull a HEA off. So as a whole, I liked the book. The problem was the ending, but not because it wasn’t happy or unsatisfying, but because of how farfetched and cheesy it was. I can’t go into details, but since the story was so quirky and unexpected, maybe the ending could have reflected those traits, even if that meant for it to be unconventional.
In case you’re wondering, there is a bit of a romance, but more than half the story takes place while Aaron and James are young, so they don’t fall in love until later on.
I am happy I took the chance. The production values of the book are good. Less Than Three Press is a small, independent publisher, so it could go either way, but despite some typos, the book had quality. The price is high*, though, so that’s the one thing that makes me hesitate to recommend it. Well, that and the ending. My advice would be to download the sample and see how it goes, but keep in mind that this is a YA book and the characters read quite young -- except when they are really young and read like precocious, unbelievable little kids.
*$4.99 for about 100 pages.
Review by Brie
Aaron is a lonely, unloved boy when he first meets James. Their friendship seems like a dream come true—or perhaps just a dream, because no one else can see or hear James. Aaron stubbornly clings to his new friend, however, even when the friendship makes him an object of scorn and ridicule. No matter the years that pass, or the challenges they face, Aaron refuses to give up on his best friend—but life might just find a way to take James from him anyway.Imaginary by Jamie Sullivan
Less Than Three Press LLC. May 8, 2013