Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Christopher J. Smith - Abby Linford and her Imaginary Friend

Abby Linford and her Imaginary Friend

By Christopher J. Smith

Kindle Edition Available 

Product Description (from Amazon) 

ABBY LINFORD isn't your ordinary 9-year-old. She's a quiet and a bit more mature than the other girls at Van Horne Elementary. This isn't Abby's fault however. When she was just a 3-year-old her father passed away which resulted in a little girl that had to grow up way too fast. Because of this, Abby is considered a bit of an outcast from the other kids at school.

Then one day she meets Issac, a new boy in the neighborhood. He himself is a bit of an outsider and this seems like a natural friendship. That is, until Abby's discovery that Issac is imaginary.

"I'm too old for an imaginary friend," Abby says to herself. But, Issac has no plans of going anywhere... well, not without Abby, anyway. You see, Issac has come here to bring Abby back home with him to a place that has been expecting her for a long time, a magical world home to all Imaginary Friends, and a place that is in danger of being destroyed... unless Abby does something about it.

About the Author (from Amazon)

Born in Detroit, Christopher J. Smith had street cred before it was cool. His stay in Motown only lasted a few short years. After some thieves used the ladder in his own garage to steal a TV out of the second story window, Smith's parents decided it was time to move to the suburbs.
At the age of 8, a cross country move took him to Tucson, Arizona. Already having written such classics as "The Bird and the Worm" and "The Man and the Tree," Christopher moved his talents into homemade comic books illustrated with horrible drawings.
Smith eventually went to school for Film Studies where his professors included a screenwriting teacher that labeled himself as brilliant but was absolutely crazy, while a blacklisted Cinematographer taught him about film.
After these years in film school, Smith made his way to Los Angeles to tackle the lifelong desire to be a screenwriter.
It wasn't until recently that Smith tried his hand at a novel. It was "Abby Linford and Her Imaginary Friend" where he found his stride. In the first novel devoted to the 9-year-old girl that was too mature to be nine, he opened readers up to fantastic worlds filled with mythical creatures, endangered animals, magical powers, and lands that were on the verge of ruin.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra!

I’ve had imaginary friends on my mind, and when I saw this one, I decided to give it a go. I soon could not put it down. It’s a very gripping story, with a nice, twisty plot that kept me guessing most of the time.

Abby is a bit of an outcast. Her teacher doesn’t like her any more than she likes her teacher, the other kids on the playground always ignore her. Her dad died when she was three, and her mother is in a state of depression, so much of the housework falls on her. She’s a responsible girl, though, and always makes sure the house is clean, and the bills are paid – at the age of nine! I was sure that she was older until it stated otherwise. Did I mention she likes bugs?

Then she meets Isaac, who becomes her friend. When she brings him to school to introduce him, she gets in trouble for introducing her imaginary friend. When she tells her neighbor, an older man who is a surrogate uncle to her, he tells her that his daughter, who had disappeared years before, had had an Isaac for an imaginary friend – who was exactly like Abby’s Isaac. What he doesn’t tell Abby is that the daughter’s disappearance happened shortly after she started talking about Isaac.

Then, during a storm, Isaac tells Abby to run to a nearby church to escape some creatures that are pacing outside her house. She’s skeptical, but does it. Once in the church, he breaks through the floorboards, and takes her into a strange new world – the world of imaginary friends. This place is in trouble – and she’s The One We’ve Been Waiting For to get it out of the trouble. Although he doesn’t tell her that she’s the twelfth The One We’ve Been Waiting For that had been brought here – including the daughter of the neighbor – and that all of the others had … not succeeded.

The plot of this book was amazing. Every time I thought I had all the pieces and that I knew how it would end, something new would be revealed and the story would take a whole new turn. There were a few things that I saw coming, but for the most part, it was able to keep me on the edge of my seat. There were a few plot points that didn’t make much sense to me – like a sudden twist in the character of Donald towards the end. I somehow cannot mesh the Donald of before that point with the Donald of after, even they’re supposed to be essentially the same. However, points like that were few and far between.

There was a point where I wondered if there was to be a sequel, because I was getting close to the end, and the end didn’t appear to be in sight. However, the end soon came, and surprisingly, it did not seem rushed. For a book with such a roller coaster plot, the ending did not leave you gasping. Instead, it was the sort of ending that has you reaching for a tissue – not because it’s sad, but it’s the sort of happy that comes from sad.

It is my guess that the author is catholic because anywhere that is blessed by or associated with the church is a safe zone from the Lemmicks, and a mention of purgatory.

All in all, I liked this book, and if a sequel were to be written, I would love to read it, but the story doesn’t need a sequel. However, I don’t think I would read it to a nine-year-old, and I would have preferred it if Abby were a tad bit older.

Genre/Theme: Fantasy, adventure

Reading Level: TEEN - upper elementary to middle school
Profanity: LOW - few mildly offensive words
Sexuality: NONE - not even hinted at
Other: Abby gets chased by creatures that want to eat her many times, there are a few deaths, some deaths referred to. They walk through a field full of dead bodies, a room full of people encased in ice so that they can have eternal suffering. There are many fight scenes. (There were times when I questioned the author’s sanity for sending a NINE-year-old girl on this mission) Abby digs through a pile of 20 year old or so pile of dung to find something.

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