Imaginary Things by Andrea Lochen (Science Fiction/Fantasy)
In this book, described as “magical realism,” young mother, Anna, can see her four-year-old’s imaginary friends, a gift that is both enlightening and scary. His dinosaur friends appear to be protective, although she’s not sure what they are protecting him from, but when a dark smoke-like creature eventually solidifies into a terrifying panther living under the bed, she realizes that the boy is terribly afraid of something, and the vision terrifies her, as well. Woven into the story are her own personal demons — a dysfunctional childhood, bad marriage, frightening ex, and an on-again/off-again relationship with the childhood friend and neighbor who has loved her since they were kids.
I found this book a little slow to get going and didn’t really become interested in the story until about 2/3 of the way in. At that point, Anna learns something new about her own mother and their relationship, which included Anna’s own imaginary friend. The story begins to pick up, with the real crisis coming close to the end of the book, where it’s resolved fairly quickly. With a typical fairy-tale ending, all is well and the future looks bright.
All in all, the premise is interesting, the book is an easy read, and I think young moms will especially enjoy it. Anna’s son is sweet and endearing, and her childhood sweetheart is sexy and appealing and he has been waiting years for her to come back home. What’s not to like?
Grandma gives Imaginary Things four stars.