Thursday, April 30, 2015

Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen

Published April 1, 2015 by Astor+Blue Editions

Watching children play and invent whimsical games of fantasy is one of life's great joys. But what if you could actually see your child's imagination as it unfolded? And what would you do if your child's imagination suddenly became dark and threatening?

Burned-out and broke, twenty-two-year-old single mother Anna Jennings moves to her grandparents' rural home for the summer with her four-year-old son, David. The sudden appearance of shadowy dinosaurs forces Anna to admit that either she's lost her mind or she can actually see her son's active imagination. Frightened for David's safety, Anna struggles to learn the rules of this bizarre phenomenon and how best to protect him. But what she uncovers along the way is completely unexpected: revelations about what her son's imaginary friends truly represent and dark secrets about her own childhood imaginary friend.

Living next door is Jamie Presswood, Anna's childhood friend who's grown much more handsome and hardened than the boy she once knew. But past regrets and their messy lives are making the rekindling of their complex friendship prove easier said than done. Between imaginary creatures stalking her son and a tumultuous relationship with David's biological father, Anna may find it impossible to have room in her life or her heart for another man. But as David's visions become more threatening, Anna must learn to differentiate between which dangers are real and which are imagined, and whom she can truly trust. 

My Thoughts…

My children never had imaginary friends.   I never thought about why they would have or didn’t have these friends.   Yet, I started Imaginary Things and was instantly intrigued.   I loved the idea of a little boy, David,  with an imaginary friend or two and that these friends were dinosaurs.   When the story continued and Anna, the boy’s mother, could see these imaginary friend I was hooked. 

Andrea Lochen as an amazing imagination and a way with words.    She is able to described the characters and their feelings so well that the reader takes them on as friends and people they care about.   I could relate to Anna’s fear for her son and his reaction to the way his life has become.   Her confusion as to why David felt the need to have these dinosaurs around to keep him safe from the scary cat, a panther.  

When Anna and Jamie, the next door neighbor, became friends and their history was revealed I was thrilled.   I knew where I wanted it go and was happy when it started to head that direction with twists and turns.   Their story is not easy, it is not a straight line, and it is worth the trip to get there.   Jamie has a history, Anna has a history and together it is complicated.  

 As the story continued I was trying to figure out how it was all going to be tied up in a pretty package.  I should have seen where the story was going.   The clues were there, the story was heading in the right direction, yet I did not.  I love that I did not.  I love that it kept me reading.  I had to know that David would be safe, that the mother would find happiness, and that there would be a happy ending.

This is the second book by Andrea Lochen that I have read and I recommend them both.    Imaginary Friends is a fun read, that gets serious at points.   There are some tough subjects discussed and hinted at but it never loses that easy read feel. 

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What Others are Saying...

“Andrea Lochen writes another beautiful book, filled with vivid scenes, unforgettable characters, and oodles of heart. With a page-turning plot and an utterly unique concept, IMAGINARY THINGS entertains, inspires, and provokes thought--a perfect book club pick.” –Lori Nelson Spielman, author of international bestseller The Life List

“Cleverly written with a perfect touch of magic, Imaginary Things will take you on a journey of the unexpected, and leave you contemplating the power of your own mind.” ~Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, authors of Your Perfect Life

"An honest, charming novel that blends reality and magical possibilities, hard struggles and small victories, starting over and daring to dare." --Cathy Lamb, author of Julia's Chocolates

"IMAGINARY THINGS reminded me again and again that the act of raising a child is a love story, a test of strength, and a thrill ride." – Susanna Daniel, author of Stiltsville

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