Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma (NY: Dutton Books, 2011).
Chloe's life has always revolved around her older sister Ruby. Ruby and Chloe have managed on their own for years, their drunken mother living in the town but not part of their lives. Ruby has a car and a job at a convenience store. And she's got something more--Ruby has some kind of mesmerizing effect on everyone in her orbit. They bend to her will and Ruby gets whatever she wants, whenever she wants, however she wants. Then one night she convinces everyone that Chloe can swim across the reservoir, and even Chloe believes her. But something happens, and Chloe finds a girl dead in a boat in the reservoir. Questions are asked and Chloe ends up in Pennsylvania for two years living with her father, away from Ruby from whom she hears nothing the entire time. Then Ruby manages to contact Chloe and Chloe goes back to her town, where she sees London, the girl who died, and reality starts fracturing.
This is an eerily compelling novel that's partly about family bonds, but also about the line between fantasy and reality. Ruby tells stories that Chloe has no reason to question--until she starts seeing things that make her doubt Ruby's words, and the doubt has a ripple effect on all her perceptions and makes her see how Ruby has manipulated their reality. It's part paranormal, part imaginary realism, and completely unique and riveting. Recommended for ages 14 & up. Sexual and intense situations, alcohol, drugs.
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