Recommended for ages 9-13
Ever have an imaginary friend when you were growing up? Do you remember when you grew out of your friend? The Imaginary looks at what happens to imaginary friends when children move on.
Rudger is Amanda’s imaginary friend. He just appeared one day, when she dreamed him up. But when there’s an accident, Rudger finds himself alone – and fading! He has to find Amanda, because his very existence may depend on it – but there’s also a super-creepy man who can see Rudger, and I’m pretty sure it’s not because he’s in the market for a new friend.
The Imaginary is huge fun for middle graders. They’re probably at the age where they remember having an imaginary friend (or… shhh… maybe still have one), so this will spark recognition and sympathy. As Rudger tries to find Amanda, they’ll love seeing other imaginary friends he comes in contact with, and the “big bad” is deliciously creepy, ala Lemony Snicket. It’s a solid story about friendship, loyalty, and growing up, with some chuckle-worthy humor mixed in. Emily Gravett’s illustrations add some beautiful depth to the story and the reader’s imagination.