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.
BUY LINK: Less Than Three Press
Reviewer, Dolorianne, 5
REVIEW: So I saw this on NetGalley and thought it sounded interesting, different than I’ve been reading. Jamie Sullivan is a new-to-me author, another thing that drew me to this book.
What a wonderful story!
From the title and blurb, it is easy to guess why people give Aaron such a hard time about his friend, James. Especially after factoring in that Aaron is a foster kid with no one to call his own. Some of the scenes are heartbreaking to read. Even the scenes that are so beautiful that the reader can’t help but want to believe as much as Aaron does. I straddled the fence between ‘of course James is imaginary’ and hoping the author found a way to allow James to be real.
I’ve read a few reviews since finishing the book that have mentioned not liking the end. I can’t agree. The book spanned more than 13 years, saw Aaron grow from a kid into a young man, and answered the mystery of James. I thought all the transitions were handled well. I loved the pace, everything flowed, and watching the boys pout a time or two along the way was adorable. The ending left me with a smile.
As far as the writing style, there is a classic, timeless feel about it. The language and phrasing is clean and simple, letting the innocence of the characters shine through. The story is told from Aaron’s 3rd person POV from beginning to end. When he realizes he is attracted to James more than the girl everyone else wants, there isn’t any shame or confusion. He easily accepts the feelings because James has always been everything to him. When things start to twist and turn, leaving our Aaron in dire straits, there isn’t time to wallow. I love that the author didn’t add a lot of fluff or angst, which could have possibly been a distraction, undoing the powerful foundation laid out from the beginning.
I’m coming late to the game, as Imaginary was released almost a year and a half ago, but if you haven’t read it yet, I would highly recommend it.