Author: Andrea Lochen
First Published: 2015
Page Count: 304
Film/ TV Adaptation: No
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Lochen’s book uniquely uses the concept of imaginary friends to propel a story filled with drama and romance.
*Gripping Drama *Great Literary Voice
*Disappointing Ending *Slow Beginning
“You can tell a lot about your child by the form his or her imaginary friend takes.” Young mom Anna Jennings is forced to move back to her grandparents’ small town home in Salsburg, Wisconsin with her four-year old, David, after losing her job and running out of cash to continue searching for a new form of employment. She expected life to be slow in Salsburg, but all that changes when she begins to see her son’s imaginary friends come to life before her eyes. Anna must now find a way to deal with her son’s active imagination, as well as find a way to put her past with her unstable ex and absent mother behind her so that she can move on and build new relationships and a new life.
After turning that final page, I was very impressed with the journey the author had just taken me on and how much I had enjoyed the story. The description on the back of the book does not do the story justice; it does not capture the fascinating drama that makes up Anna’s life, the budding romance, or the interesting dynamic between Anna, her son, and his imaginary friends that are more than just a whimsical addition to the story. I don’t want to give anything away, but there were so many parts to Anna and David’s story that grab the reader and make you want to keep reading to uncover the truth about their past and what might happen in their future. The icing on the cake was that the author has a great voice as a writer. The story flows well and her writing is like a comfy pillow with a story that you want to snuggle into and get lost in.
Initially, I was wary of the imaginary friends concept of the story. It seemed a bit juvenile and I couldn’t invest in it. I couldn’t understand or sympathize with Anna’s overly frightened reaction to her son’s prehistoric imaginary friends. If I were in her shoes, I would’ve reacted like Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ellie Sattler when they first set eyes on the wonders of Jurassic Park. However, the imaginary friends do have a purpose and it works, thank goodness, so I definitely warmed up to the imaginary friend concept about halfway through the book. I also was a bit dismayed with the ending of the story. I would have enjoyed Anna’s new man in her life playing a more forceful part in the events at the end of the book, or for there to be a bit more struggle in general. It all wrapped up far too quickly after such a great build up of tension.
I wish that this book had a sequel or was going to get one. I grew very attached to the characters, imaginary and real, as well as their stories. However, children grow up and, therefore, the whole concept of the book would not be able to continue on for much longer as Anna’s son matures. Do not hesitate to pick up this great book; I can’t think of the last time I’ve read anything quite like it.
*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.