Nova Ren Suma has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and a BA in writing and photography from Antioch College, and has been awarded a fiction fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. She has published various short stories for adults, as well as a middle-grade novel. Imaginary Girls marks her debut into young adult fiction. Nova grew up in small towns across the Hudson Valley and can currently be found in New York City.
In her first YA novel, Suma creates a surreal and dreamy world where magical thinking is carried to a chilling extreme. Fourteen-year-old Chloe idolizes her older sister, Ruby, a boy magnet who runs wild in their New York upstate town and is denied nothing. At a drunken party, Chloe accepts Ruby's challenge to swim across the local reservoir and finds a drifting rowboat holding the body of London, a girl from school. Afterward, Chloe is forced to move in with her father in another state; two years later, Ruby fetches Chloe back, and everything's different. Or nothing is. Chloe can't tell for sure. Ruby still has the run of the town, but there's London, alive and well. Chloe begins to recognize that things work differently in her sister's world; events bend to accommodate Ruby, and reality itself seems to take its shape from her desires. Suma (Dani Noir) uses the story's supernatural, horror movie-ready elements in the best of ways; beneath all the strangeness lies beauty, along with a powerful statement about the devotion between sisters. Not your average paranormal novel. Ages 14-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 9 Up-After discovering the body of a classmate while swimming in the local reservoir, Chloe, 14, is sent away to live with her father, instead of with the older sister who raised her. Two years later, Ruby comes to get her back. When she returns to town, London is no longer dead and Chloe starts to see the true nature of the mysterious power her sister holds. What begins as a fairly straightforward story twists and turns its way into something far more sinister and dark. Ruby's hold on the town initially seems to be the hold that all popular, beautiful girls have, especially when seen through the lens of a younger sister. As the story progresses, Chloe sees that Ruby's power is something else entirely, and not entirely natural. Despite this, Ruby will go to any means necessary to protect Chloe, and the teen starts to question the bonds of family and loyalty as she realizes exactly what that means. The creepy intensity grows slowly, building an atmospheric piece that draws readers in and holds them through unexpected developments. Some readers may want more explanation of the fantastical elements, but the unsettled feeling of the ending fits perfectly with the tone and mood of the rest of the narrative.-Jennifer Rothschild, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, Oxon Hill, MD (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.