Imaginary Friend - Stephen Chbosky

Christopher moves to Mill Grove and immediately becomes the only one who can save his new friends, his mother and everyone from an evil entity that will change them forever. Can he build a reality-bending treehouse and stop evil from taking over his new home?


One of my pet peeves in books, movies, and TV shows, is when small children cause issues that could have been avoided if they weren't bratty and annoying (see: the little girl in War of the Worlds). I was concerned that because this focused on Christopher, a 7-year-old, I wouldn't connect with the narrative and I'd just get annoyed with his actions. However, I was pleasantly surprised with Chbosky's writing, which portrayed Christopher as more than your average kid. Part of the story is that Christopher has a connection to a paranormal entity that makes him develop his thoughts past what you'd expect for that age, by doing this Chbosky actually makes a likeable child character we can root for when he's making adult-decisions in protecting his town and it's people.


The length of this novel would be enough to put a lot of people off picking it up, but it actually made me appreciate and look out for long, in-depth, horror novels. It was the perfect length to get to grips with the emotional state of the characters, establish the threats in full and connect to the outcome. You will only find me saying this about a thriller or a horror book, I like the atmosphere a long book gives you and how it captures a full picture that you need to appreciate the narrative. Chbosky managed to fill all 847 pages with something interesting to read, it never faltered in keeping me engaged and right up to the end I was on the edge of my seat.


In a single word, this was; terrifying. In two words? Terrifyingly creepy. In all the best ways this stuck with me, I was reading it with the lights on and the hairs on my arms stood on end. The writing was compelling and jumped off the page into my mind, everything that happened I could clearly see in my mind's eye and I couldn't fault this in anyway because of it.


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