Read Imaginary by Jamie Sullivan Online


Aaron is a lonely, unloved boy when he first meets James. Their friendship seems like a dream come true—or perhaps just a dream, because no one else can see or hear James. Aaron stubbornly clings to his new friend, however, even when the friendship makes him an object of scorn and ridicule. No matter the years that pass, or the challenges they face, Aaron refuses to give uAaron is a lonely, unloved boy when he first meets James. Their friendship seems like a dream come true—or perhaps just a dream, because no one else can see or hear James. Aaron stubbornly clings to his new friend, however, even when the friendship makes him an object of scorn and ridicule. No matter the years that pass, or the challenges they face, Aaron refuses to give up on his best friend—but life might just find a way to take James from him anyway....

Title : Imaginary
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781620042014
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 135 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Imaginary Reviews

  • Ami
    2019-05-05 01:20

    When Cole posted his review and said that this story "Make Him Go Gooey, I was intrigued. I never read the previous short by this author but the cover and blurb intrigued me. Majority of this story was spent with the younger version of Aaron and James -- in fact, the 18-years old Aaron was only the last chapter. But that was the beauty of it. I don't have kids to have a knowledge to judge whether Aaron or James acted like their age; it didn't really matter, though. There was childhood innocence and pure love that wasn't tainted with cynicism. I got sniffy a couple of times when both Aaron and James struggled with the fact that nobody else could see James, and James admitted that he was lonely if Aaron was with his other friends.I couldn't say that this story was unique ... because I had read story with similar 'twist' (for example: (view spoiler)[If Only It Were True by Marc Levy OR The Ghost on My Couch by L.A. Gilbert (hide spoiler)]) and I could totally figured it out way before the ending, once the first 'hint' was mentioned. But I didn't mind. All I could say in the end was, this story was heartfelt and touching and definitely hit all the right buttons.

  • Susan
    2019-04-23 23:10

    Can we just agree that this is the most ADORABLE cover EVER???!!! Gah...I want to hug it...3.5 starsThis book made me sad. I don’t think that was quite the intention. But, it just did. I probably shed more tears than the author ever planned on for a reader. I don’t like reading about 5 year old boys who are lonely and don’t have friends. It breaks my heart in ways hearts shouldn’t be broken. And any story about a young kid who is unloved in the foster system…well…I can’t even express how much that kills me…Personal issues aside…Aaron is a 5 year old who stumbles upon a new friend, James. For 10 years they grow closer, even though Aaron comes to find that no one else can see James and lest he get picked on, teased, and called crazy any more than he had, he keeps James secret. He also falls in love with him.The relationship between Aaron and James is childlike and innocent and sweet. What they provide for each other is what you’d want for anyone – companionship, complete trust, family, love. But, of course, I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Is James really “imaginary”…or is there something more to his story?I loved Aaron and James. I loved that they had each other in their lives. I loved that Aaron, despite growing up, would never let go of James as his friend, imaginary or not. I loved James’ complete devotion to Aaron. I even kinda loved the plot twist and the big reveal.I didn’t love the 3 years between 15-18. I don't buy the explanation there. And I didn’t love the ending – and though I love a package wrapped up all nice and tidy, this one just didn’t jive…I can’t imagine reco’ing this to many of my friends. It reads more like a children’s book than even YA. But, I did enjoy it for the most part…

  • Cole Riann
    2019-05-05 19:31

    Review posted at The Armchair Reader.I wish I had an award to give out to this book! The Sweetest, Most Heartfelt, Make Me Go Gooey award. For those readers that take a chance on this book (and I'll go ahead and say I bet it'll probably be less than should), you're going to find a book that is both a classic love story and at the same time unique in the romance world. The focus of this story is on love itself, in it's most pure form, without sexuality (well, there's a little bit of it, but it's not the point) and while doing that, it whittles down the relationship to it's purest form. It just hits a note early on that really harmonized with me. I felt like -- as soon as I started the book -- I got it and I was there with it right to the very end.Imaginary starts with the line Aaron is five the first time he sees James. Aaron is a lonely orphan, raised in the foster system and bounced from home to home until he lands with Tiffany and Shaw, a travesty of a pair of parents that make Aaron know very well that they only want him for the paycheck he gets them. His dirty clothes and lack of toys mean that he's set apart from the other kids. So when Aaron sees a boy sitting on the fence around the field near his house, he introduces himself and finds a friend that seems interested in all the same thing he is -- running through the field and exploring the forest and the rabbit warrens, making up their own games. The gig is up, though, when the gossip-happy Tiffany tells Aaron that no boy named James lives in their neighborhood. And James is silent on answers. He doesn't have any. He doesn't know who his parents are or where his house is. He doesn't remember anything before meeting Aaron except wandering around and being lonely.Aaron is frustrated and angry that no one seems to believe him that James is real. Like all kids with imaginary friends, he's told he'll grow out of it, though Aaron talking to James around Tiffany or Shaw is a recipe for punishment and the threat of sending him away. Aaron learns to stop talking about James, but James doesn't go away. As Aaron grows up over a series of ten years, James seems to grow with him, through puberty, making new friends and the confusing feelings about girls and Aaron's feelings about them in relation to his best friend James.Aaron doesn't know if anyone will ever be able to see James besides him. But James means too much to him to ignore.No matter the fact that the story is similar to a few that I've read/seen before in books and movies, I still couldn't see the direction that this story was headed. I'm glad that I didn't, I got to enjoy the story as it was intended, growing up with both boys and like them, not knowing the possibilities of their future, apart and hopefully together. It's a story that produces natural angst, but despite tween and teenager years the story never delves into it. It remains a sense of purity, the same sort of purity and innocence that James brings to Aaron.It's truly a beautiful story and for most of it, I read it wearing a smile. It's definitely a recommended read. I liked that the story was heavier on their earlier years as quite young boys and then more quickly moved through the 12-15 years, though I would have liked more story at the end.For those looking for a sweet read, definitely check this one out. I feel lucky that I got to read it ahead of time and I wholeheartedly want to support it and make sure that more people are aware it. If you like sweet stories that aren't fluff but have little to no sex then this is a good fit for you. And no matter how you might feel about the story's execution, I challenge all of you who read it to not find it beautiful, heartfelt and touching :)Note: This is by far, The BEST cover that I've seen from LT3, made by HM Burns and London Burden. It drew me to the story in the first place and it is perfect for the story.

  • Laura
    2019-05-22 01:16

    Shockingly this is my first imaginary friend. :) Try as I might, I could never conjure up an imaginary friend as a child, which rather pissed me off to be honest. Haha…In a house loaded down with kids, I was the only one without a pretend friend. Even though I’m convinced one of my brothers only made one up to spite me. *rolls eyes* Brothers. That was the long way of saying--I have always had a soft spot and fascination with imaginary friends. Soooo….After reading Susan’s lovely review, I jumped right over to the buy button for my very first imaginary friend tale. ”I don’t really want to share you.”Imaginary by Jamie Sullivan is adorable! Warmed my cold, cold heart. A tale that tugged on my heartstrings with a friendship filled with sadness, support, love, and imagination. My only disappointment was the ending. It felt off to me. A bit of the momentum and emotional zing was lost near the end. But I still rooted and adored Aaron and James through it all though. Aaron first spots James at age five. Two lonely little boys drawn to each other to laugh, talk, run, and play with. Their time together was so sweet. Racing, reading, and climbing into bedroom windows. Oh, I am such a sucker for sneaking into bedroom windows! But Aaron is the only one that can see James. Over the years, the mystery of why and how begins to cause tears and tension between the boys, but they always stand up and by each other no matter what. Smiles, shrugs, and touches capture James and Aaron’s cute, loveable energy on the page. So very cute! The questions remain though…Is Aaron crazy? Is James real? ”You’re the only one who can see me. Everyone else acts like I’m not there at all.”One of the main reasons why imaginary friends have always fascinated me is the concept of “real”. If you see and feel something—how can it not be real? People tend to only believe in things they can see, which will never cease to boggle my mind because everyone experiences life and people in their own special way. The “Am I crazy?” questions and fears of being left behind pinged and panged around my heart and head. James may have uttered those words above, but in a sad way the same can be said for Aaron. Both so lost and lonely. They broke my heart again and again. Two boys that truly saw each other. But will time and tensions pull James and Aaron apart? Will they outgrow each other and move on? Please jump in and SEE. A very sweet read. A heartbreaking ball of sweetness all rolled up with wonder and love. One that had me calling my brother to find out once and for all if his friend was real. :D

  • Mandy*reads obsessively*
    2019-05-06 18:10

    Wow, where to start, I guess I have to say I was sad for a lot of this book, and angry, angry at what Aaron had to endure. An imperfect foster system, the neglectful and useless 'parents' he was placed with ( I use that term very loosely), his loneliness and fear of being thrown away, forced to leave his home and therefor James, but it's the threat his foster parents use, a very real fear he lives with for so for years. At age 5 a very lonely, neglected and unhappy Aaron meets another little boy, James, sitting on a fence. No one else can see or hear James, and Aaron has to endure a lot of ridicule until he realizes he can't let anyone know that he does see James.For the next ten years they are each others everything, playmate, friend, confidant and first love. Despite the sadness I felt at the injustice of Aaron's situation and poor James's half life, all alone except for Aaron, no one else to see him or talk to him or care for him. His despair when Aaron doesn't want him around or when he is with his other friends, his frustration at knowing he is real, even if no one else in the world besides Aaron can see him. The twist wasn't hard to figure out or very shocking but I was sad at the time 'after' the big reveal, I just couldn't believe it. I really wished that time had been different and happier for both of them, but the happy ending was still satisfying. Aaron finally gets the family and home he so desperately wanted and deserved and James does too.One of my favorite quotes was when Aaron looks at James and just knows : “His home has always been James.”I wouldn't call this a romance not even a YA one, it was more of a coming of age story, dealing with life's difficulties, of being different and that just having one special person in your life, a person who loves you, can make all the difference in the world.

  • Deeze
    2019-04-27 01:13

    This was a wonderful and interesting story. Highly enjoyable for those that love to live in a real romantic fantasy world lol.This is hard to review without giving away spoilers. While at times it’s a sad story about a lonely little boy, the ending will leave you glad you read this little gem.Niggles and all this is a 5 star for me. (view spoiler)[ If you liked Ghost on my Couch, I’m pretty sure you will like this one too (hide spoiler)]

  • Emma Sea
    2019-04-26 02:18

    3.5 stars. Sweet and light.If you enjoyed this I rec (In)visible and also (view spoiler)[The Ghost on My Couch (hide spoiler)]I'm wondering (view spoiler)[how clothes and library books work? (hide spoiler)]

  • Jeff Erno
    2019-05-03 22:15

    5+++This book was incredible! It contained every element of a story I love. It was a beautiful, heart-wrenching love story. It had a paranormal mystery element. It was a friends-to-lovers story. It was a magnificent tale of overcoming hardship--rags to riches. It was tender and sweet and exciting, and it made my heart swell with emotion that bubbled right out of me as I turned the pages. Through laughter and tears, I devoured this incredible, endearing story. I think if I had a room full of books like this one, I'd hole myself up in the house and read non-stop for weeks on end.Yeah, I know I shouldn't write a review immediately upon finishing a book because I just sound so ridiculous when I gush. I have no idea who Jamie Sullivan is, but I guarantee this won't be the last of her books I read.A+

  • Madison Parker
    2019-05-14 19:08

    Very sweet story about two lonely boys who become friends when they're young children and grow closer over the years. Unfortunately, they must keep their friendship secret, for fear of being separated by people who don't believe that what they have is real.The story is written in present tense, which for me, always feels awkward, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I loved these sweet characters. :-)

  • Edina Rose
    2019-04-23 23:36

    Love this book, love the plot. It's really original and sweet. It reminds me of The Statue in its originality.

  • Brie
    2019-05-07 00:25

    Originally posted at Romance Around the CornerGuess what? The book world isn’t entirely made out of popular books! Surprising, right? That’s why today I’m reviewing this little Young Adult M/M novella that I accidentally discovered last week.I can’t go into many details about the plot, because discovering what’s going on is part of the experience. All I can say is that Aaron is a five-year old orphan living with a set of foster parents who care about the money, but not about him. He’s lonely and sad until one day he meets James. They recognize a bit of themselves in each other and spend the day laughing and playing, but when Aaron goes back home and inquires about James and his family, his foster parents tell him that there’s no kid named James in town. He keeps seeing him, though, and the other boy insists that he’s real and that he remembers where he’s been and what he’s done while Aaron is at school.So the years go by, and we see their friendship getting stronger and stronger; we see Aaron question James’ existence as well as his own sanity, but their relationship is so vital, that they mostly ignore the obvious questions.But how real can an imaginary friendship be? And what happens when Aaron makes real friends and is no longer desperate for companionship?For the most part, Imaginary was an engaging, intriguing and sweet story. The two boys were adorable and I enjoyed watching them grow and support each other. I was also dying to know what was going on, and how the author would manage to pull a HEA off. So as a whole, I liked the book. The problem was the ending, but not because it wasn’t happy or unsatisfying, but because of how farfetched and cheesy it was. I can’t go into details, but since the story was so quirky and unexpected, maybe the ending could have reflected those traits, even if that meant for it to be unconventional.In case you’re wondering, there is a bit of a romance, but more than half the story takes place while Aaron and James are young, so they don’t fall in love until later on.I am happy I took the chance. The production values of the book are good. Less Than Three Press is a small, independent publisher, so it could go either way, but despite some typos, the book had quality. The price is high*, though, so that’s the one thing that makes me hesitate to recommend it. Well, that and the ending. My advice would be to download the sample and see how it goes, but keep in mind that this is a YA book and the characters read quite young -- except when they are really young and read like precocious, unbelievable little kids.*$4.99 for about 100 pages.

  • Debbie
    2019-05-19 18:22

    I think the less you know about this book before reading it, the better. A really original, almost dreamlike story of friendship and love. Just leave reality at the door and enjoy this beautiful gem.

  • K.C. Beaumont
    2019-05-22 23:21

    NOTE: This review originally appeared at Reviews by Jesse Wave.After his parents’ passing, Aaron becomes a ward of the state, and ultimately ends up in the care of Tiffany and Shaw White, two people who only take in foster children for the stipend they receive in return. At the age of five, Aaron is left to wander the neighborhood alone, and is often left to fend for himself come mealtime. Throughout the story, Tiffany and Shaw cast Aaron aside, chastise him, and threaten to put him back into the system because they just don't want to deal with him, and Aaron is left heartbroken, wishing for a real family who loves him.When he sees James, a boy sitting all by himself atop a wooden fence, Aaron is excited to meet someone new. He's nervous, though, about how James will feel about being friends with a "loser foster kid" who wears torn, dirty clothes and has no fancy toys to play with. Despite these concerns, the boys become instant friends, climbing trees, checking out small animals, and chasing each other through open fields. It's merely a curiosity to Aaron that James shrugs off questions about his name, family, and school.That curiosity turns into concern when Aaron realizes that no one—not even the town busybody, Mrs. Sullivan—has heard of "the new kid". What's worse is that nobody can see or hear James, and they begin to think Aaron is crazy. While Aaron is worried about the fact that nobody believes his friend is a real person over the course of several years, he's most worried about Tiffany and Shaw wanting to send him away because they "don't want a crazy kid in the house." He doesn't want to end up with different—and potentially worse—foster parents, but more than that, he doesn't want to be separated from James.From the very first page, my heart broke for Aaron. He's an adorable, sweet boy who can't catch a break, and I wanted nothing more than to smother him with love and affection. No child should experience the pain of losing their parents at such a young age (or in a perfect world, at all), let alone be shuffled around from house to house because foster parents don't want to deal with him. At such a vulnerable and impressionable time in his life, Aaron needs someone to love him, to care for him, and to want him to be there. Instead, he gets a set of foster parents who look at him solely as a paycheck; who don't care if he eats, has clean clothes, or has any positive interaction whatsoever. Tiffany and Shaw clearly don't want to be parents and have taken Aaron in just so they can make ends meet—and they often discuss this right in front of young Aaron. As a mother to two young boys, I want to do unspeakably painful things to these people, and it hurts my heart all the more that foster parents like Tiffany and Shaw are very common.James is a delightful, energetic boy who, like Aaron, is just so easy to love. They both share the same curiosity (their discovery and examination of the warren of baby rabbits just made my teeth ache), the same zest for life, and the same desire for something real. Aaron wants a real family, and James wants others to believe he's a real boy.The one thing that is typically expected to be an angsty issue between gay characters is the fact that they're gay. This is not the case in Imaginary. Aaron and James's attraction and love is something that easily develops and naturally grows and is so captivating in its purity. The way James expresses his feelings of loneliness when Aaron's not around makes the emotion a very tangible thing. How he insists, despite what everyone tells Aaron—and what Aaron often fears himself—that he is not a product of Aaron's imagination made me clutch at my chest many times. You can't help but fall in love with these kids and want to embarrass them in front of everyone by showing them just how much you adore them. Does anyone remember having their Mom drop them off at school in sixth grade, refusing to leave without a few dozen kisses, hair fixings, and "I love you"s? Yeah. I want to embarrass both of these boys so much.I suspected a resolution for Aaron and James's situation similar to the one that actually happened in this story, though I was delighted to be just slightly off the mark (I know. Way to be vague!). I'd hoped the ending would have included more vindication, but I realize it would have been very out-of-character for Aaron otherwise. That small bit aside, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Imaginary was the most endearing, charming, heartfelt story I've read in a long time, and I highly recommend it.

  • Mantastic
    2019-05-23 18:15

    So I saw this on NetGalley and thought it sounded interesting, different than I’ve been reading. Jamie Sullivan is a new-to-me author, another thing that drew me to this book.What a wonderful story!From the title and blurb, it is easy to guess why people give Aaron such a hard time about his friend, James. Especially after factoring in that Aaron is a foster kid with no one to call his own. Some of the scenes are heartbreaking to read. Even the scenes that are so beautiful that the reader can’t help but want to believe as much as Aaron does. I straddled the fence between ‘of course James is imaginary’ and hoping the author found a way to allow James to be real.I’ve read a few reviews since finishing the book that have mentioned not liking the end. I can’t agree. The book spanned more than 13 years, saw Aaron grow from a kid into a young man, and answered the mystery of James. I thought all the transitions were handled well. I loved the pace, everything flowed, and watching the boys pout a time or two along the way was adorable. The ending left me with a smile.As far as the writing style, there is a classic, timeless feel about it. The language and phrasing is clean and simple, letting the innocence of the characters shine through. The story is told from Aaron’s 3rd person POV from beginning to end. When he realizes he is attracted to James more than the girl everyone else wants, there isn’t any shame or confusion. He easily accepts the feelings because James has always been everything to him. When things start to twist and turn, leaving our Aaron in dire straits, there isn’t time to wallow. I love that the author didn’t add a lot of fluff or angst, which could have possibly been a distraction, undoing the powerful foundation laid out from the beginning.I’m coming late to the game, as Imaginary was released almost a year and a half ago, but if you haven’t read it yet, I would highly recommend it.

  • Rochella
    2019-05-12 02:27

    I couldn't really get into the beginning of the story. It seemed weird, which I think was meant to be. The story is about Aaron who is living with foster parents who care more about the money Aaron staying there brings in than about Aaron himself. He was kid who didn't fit in and didn't have any friends until one day he meets a boy James. A boy no one else can see. During the story I start to believe the other people (who believe Aaron has an imaginary friend or is just simply crazy), rather than James who insists he is really. During the end of the story things seem to make sense and I actually started to enjoy the story. A 3.5 star read (rounded up to 4 for effort and the story idea)

  • Tess
    2019-05-09 19:32

    Touching story of an orphaned boy growing up with his friend James, who no one else can see. They start as best friends and then become more than friends. Highly recommended for those who like sweet m/m young adult romance.

  • Cay
    2019-05-22 02:09

    I really enjoyed it, but (view spoiler)[but that 3 years separation without any contact felt like a forced way to create... conflict/drama. He could at least call him or something (hide spoiler)] But otherwise, it was a cute story. And I just love the cover :)

  • jules0623
    2019-05-16 19:26

    This was lovely right up until the last chapter. The excuse James used was pretty weak (seriously? you never had FIVE minutes alone EVER so you could call him?) and the ending was abrupt.

  • Mary
    2019-05-23 20:19

    This was a really, really cute book. Short, but really cute. Aaron is a five year old boy without many friends and is also raised in the foster system with some pretty terrible parents. They're using him to get money and nothing else. So it's a great thing when he finds a boy named James when he's five. Only, no one can see James. It doesn't mean James goes away or that Aaron stops talking to him, they just have to be sneakier about it. It doesn't help that James doesn't remember anything about his life before meeting Aaron. It's pretty much a straightforward love story of friends turned into partners. It's so ridiculously adorable, too. James gets jealous of Aaron because Aaron has other people he can go to, and other people to make friends with. James also can't go to school, so he's stuck with only learning what Aaron brings home for homework. You can feel the injustices that these two go through to maintain their friendship, though I felt a little more for James than Aaron. It's also ridiculously sweet, their "After." I don't know, there's not much to say about this book. Greatly written, adorable, and more coming of age than romance. It's a quick and short read and I would greatly recommend it.

  • Claudia the Night Owl
    2019-04-28 23:22

    First of all that cover is freakin' adorable :) Imaginary is a cute lil book about two lonely boys finding each other. Aaron is an unloved little foster kid with no friends and then one day he meets James an even lonelier little five year old, lonelier because Aaron is the only one who can see him despite this they become the best of friends. Because he fears other people's reactions he hides the fact that he still talks to his 'imaginary' friend, James even as he grows up. Though he makes 'real' friends James is always Aaron's best friend through new discoveries and new feelings. It's kinda sad to see two little boys so sad Aaron not being loved by his foster parents and poor James having only one person that sees him and that person not believing he actually exists at least James knows he's real. This book reminded me of (view spoiler)[The Ghost on My Couch (hide spoiler)] another favorite of mine in how it ended. A cute book that I would definitely recommend.

  • Talya Andor
    2019-05-07 22:13

    This story was a lot of things, between being a story of growing up and conformity, navigating between friendships and budding sexuality, and one boy's loveless experience in the foster system, and it wove those threads together deftly while keeping the story focused on the characterizations of Aaron and James as they grow up. I definitely enjoyed it on that level. There was also the puzzle of James and his status as Aaron's imaginary friend, and I can't touch on that without delving into spoilers, but the story is four rather than five stars for me because I figured out that puzzle very early on in the story. There was also a long time lapse at the end of the book during which Aaron didn't see James and the rationalization for this seemed kind of weak, so that added kind of a sour note near the end. Overall, though, this was a sweet story and a light, quick read, really suitable for the airplane ride I brought this along for. Aaron's feelings came through really strongly, to the point I was near tears a few times!

  • Sue
    2019-05-18 22:32

    A perfectly crafted story that easily lives up to its intriguing blurb.I thoroughly enjoyed reading the boys' lives, from age 5 up. It's a good writer who can make you believe in children's lives, and then take them into young adulthood almost seamlessly.I wanted to hug them both throughout, and I loved the ending. This is a sweet story with relatively little sex, but packed full of romance. It would be an ideal book to recommend to a novice to the m/m genre. The cover is perfect for the mood of the book. I've never heard of London Burden, the artist, but bravo to him/her for this.

  • Snuffles
    2019-05-21 02:10

    The friendship between Aaron and James is extremely sweet and heart-breaking at the same time.This would have been five stars if not for (view spoiler)[the three years between 15-18. I couldn't quite buy that there was absolutely no opportunity for James to get into contact with Aaron. If his surroundings had convinced him that he really was crazy after all... maybe. But even then he would have felt the need to check and make sure Aaron had just been in his imagination. I mean, they spent ten years together. So that part was a bit disappointing to me. (hide spoiler)]

  • Tammy
    2019-05-20 22:18

    This was a hard book for me to read. 5 year old little kids shouldn't suffer the abuse that the foster parents inflict on him. The story of Aaron and James follows them from 5 year old boys until age 18. Having an imaginary friend for the 10 year span was a little weird but the friendship was caring and sweet!

  • Erin
    2019-05-21 01:27

    This was a cute little book with a plot similar to Just Like Heaven and It Had to Be You (1947).

  • Stacey B.
    2019-05-12 19:33


  • Sandra
    2019-05-11 22:25

    Audiobook received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, reviewed for Hearts On Fire

  • Vicki
    2019-04-26 19:35


  • Rie
    2019-05-15 00:12


  • Lindsay Loulee
    2019-05-23 20:37

    Aww, this was a great mix of sad and sweet. My heart strings have been thoroughly plucked. ^^