People used to call them 'friends' and said how they were good for your brain. And then a day came when all that changed . . . when they became our enemy.
Now, anyone found harbouring a rogue imaginary person is in for the Cosh, an operation that fries your imagination and zaps whatever's in there, out of existence.
That's why I wish Klaris Cliff had never shown up. And why I know that proving her innocence is the last hope I have of saving myself.
Review: I was sent a proof of this book to review and read it after having met the author at a fabulous event organised by the publishers. I am lucky enough to have a signed copy of this fabulous cover as well. This book wasn't entirely my taste but I think it was a well written story and such an original idea for a novel. Hearing the author talk about imaginary friends and the research she had done into this area, I could see how much work she had put into this novel. The concept that imaginary friends are banned and they're going to zap children's imaginations in order to remove these friends because they are causing havoc in society it hilarious but also terrifying. When asked about how this reflects society today, the author said that the research into imaginary friends hasn't seen any deflation in the number of children having imaginary friends, but I think that there really is a metaphor for children losing their imagination and creativity because of the technology that they use today compared to the amount of technology they had access to say, twenty years ago, and I think that this is a really good media to explore that issue through.
In terms of the structure of this book, it was definitely a slow burner. It took me a while to get into it. The chapters are really short though which meant that this was a super quick read. At first I felt a little like everyone knew what was going on and who people were except me. When I got to know the characters, however I got much more into the storyline. The story follows main character Joseph trying to prove that Kalris (the imaginary friend of Flea) isn't doing the things she has been accused of, that other people were to blame. The ending of the novel is a belter skeeter ride of him sharing this evidence chapter by chapter and then discovering something even more exciting. The twists and the turns at the end of the novel had me desperate to discover the real truth behind the whole thing!
I wasn't sure about the character of Joseph. He has his best friend who lives next to him, and his dad, but he does seem like a bit of a loner and not very endearing. Having read the book, I see that these character traits were necessary to allow the imaginary friend storyline to take place, but I don't know how many readers will warm to him. Flea was a lovely character, I loved the innocence and belief there and the other members of the Cliff family were just random, I couldn't work out if they were meant to be strange or just perceived as being strange.
Overall I think this was a really original novel and I'm glad I read it because its something really different for me, but I wouldn't say I enjoyed every second of it. I think it will definitely appeal to young adult readers and those who enjoy a smattering of fantasy or dystopia in their reads. I think the pace of the book was good (once it got going) and it won't take many readers more than a couple of days to get through. A really interesting, well-researched storyline.