Imaginary Friend

Narrated by: Christine Lakin
Length: 24 hrs and 32 mins
Categories: Fiction, Horror
4 out of 5 stars (2,056 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A young boy is haunted by a voice in his head in this "haunting and thrilling" (John Green) epic of literary horror from the number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Christopher is seven years old.

Christopher is the new kid in town.

Christopher has an imaginary friend.

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It's as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out. 

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again. 

Twenty years ago, Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower made audiences everywhere feel infinite. Now, Chbosky has returned with an epic work of literary horror, years in the making, whose grand scale and rich emotion redefine the genre. Listent to it with the lights on.

©2019 Stephen Chbosky (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Imaginary Friend has been a long time coming. And like a fine Bordeaux, it rewards that wait in countless ways. This is a fearsome, remarkably ambitious novel that breaks through the boundaries of the horror genre to become epic - in all the best senses of the word." (Lincoln Child, number-one New York Times best-selling coauthor of Verses for the Dead and City of Endless Night)

"If you aren't blown away by the first fifty pages of Imaginary Friend, you need to get your sense of wonder checked." (Joe Hill, number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Fireman and NOS4A2)

"Imaginary Friend is a sprawling epic horror novel that hearkens back to the classics of the 1970s Golden Age, but, like Stranger Things, with a twinkle in its malevolent eye. Enormous, scary fun." (Dan Chaon, best-selling author of Ill Will)

A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Books of 2019

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Perfect Narration!

This was a perfect October read. Eerie, creepy, scary, but not too gory. What made this book great was the narrator. Christine Laken did a phenomenal job! Her voice was a major part of the experience. She voiced every character uniquely and embodied every sound effect. I listened to this alone at night and definitely felt creeped out. The book was a little too long, but Ms. Laken made every minute enjoyable.

21 people found this helpful

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Truly a marvel. Recommended!

I'm blown away by the imaginative storyline, but also seriously impressed with the readabilty (or listenability) of this book. Although the style is ultimately unique, with character-inner-dialogue reminiscent of Stephen King, plot elements reminiscent of Dean Koontz, and a depth and detail that reminds me of Peter Straub, I will now buy any future work of Chbosky's! If you enjoy horror stories and parallel realities, this is a must-read!

42 people found this helpful

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Unfinishable

This book seriously required an editor. It started out pretty good, was engaging for about 14 hours, and by hour 20, I was absolutely done with it. The narrator did a good job with the different character voices, but the repetitive themes that might’ve worked in a book were grating in an audiobook.

11 people found this helpful

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One of the scariest books I've heard in years

I went into this not really knowing anything about the author or the premise. I never read "perks of being a wallflower" and didn't hold out excessive hope for being truly scared a la "the shining." Also, it's a verrrrrry long book. This is something I typically prefer but wasn't sure how a horror novel could sustain itself over so many hours.
I. Loved. It.
I'd rather not give anything away about the plot because I think that part of my enjoyment came from having no expectation. I will say that I thought the pacing was excellent and the narration superb. I cared about all of the characters and could easily tell them apart by the voice acting. The moments which were meant to be tense absolutely were and when it was meant to build or fall, it did. If it were made into a television show, this book could easily last three seasons- there is a LOT of time and story covered. Although, if you're like me and have a lengthy commute, you wont mind a bit. Unfortunately, I did find that my 5am dog walks on a long dark road, with woods on either side, became less enjoyable.
Highly recommended.

35 people found this helpful

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Way too much religious overtone. Very repetitive.

Great ground work, however the author's constant repetition and religious references made me long for an ending

8 people found this helpful

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Not as Good as it Sounds

This synopsis had me HOOKED. I was so excited for this book. About a third of the way through it started dragging so so badly. There about 30 (THIRTY!) middle chapters that could have been completely cut from the book and it would have been so much more enjoyable. This is probably the first Audible title I’ve ever bought and thought, “Good God, when is this going to end!?”

15 people found this helpful

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if you love Stephen King, you'll love this

This is like an epic Stephen King book. In the battle between good and evil, there are many climaxes and battles so try not be get frustrated by the length. There are many religious references so try to be open-minded instead of offended. I really loved this book.

27 people found this helpful

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Amazing

loved this just got done reading the institute by king so my expectations were high for another great book and this did not disappoint. pulled me in right off the bat and never let go!

30 people found this helpful

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WOW!

I was totally enthralled with this story and production. You will have to be able to set aside hours to listen.

16 people found this helpful

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Worth it.

I was not a fan of Perks, so I was a little wary of Imaginary Friend, but I really loved this book. Every character was well-rounded and important, making the sleepy little town come alive with people you could imagine passing on your own street. The plot was imaginative and demanding. Although some pieces seemed to be dragged out for no reason, and the ending just a tad convoluted, I would highly recommend this. It’s always a treat when an author can write out of their usual genre!

11 people found this helpful