Review Blog

Apr 18 2018

Nobody real by Steven Camden

cover image

HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780008168384
(Age: Older teens and young adults) Recommended. What an unusual style for a novel, loaded with great imagery and poetry.
I found this novel difficult to understand at first as I was challenged with following who was narrating at different times. Once I started to recognize how the different fonts related to different characters and scenarios, it became easier to follow.
It has a very unique storyline of imaginary friends and growing up in a society where young people are expected to follow the usual 'future paths' - school, university, university debt, work; where imaginary friends are not only real to the creator, but real in another world. The creativity and 'make believe' of artists and authors perhaps are fueled by not only their imagination but also by the strength that they feel from someone 'not real'.
The overall story is relate-able to today's young people - full of references to up-to-date technology and the way that young people use these in their social interactions. The issue of broken families, abandonment and surviving with guilt and grief, lends this novel to perhaps help readers and others to gain perspectives and empathy for people who experience these very real issues.
The characters are realistic and I felt that I could easily depict various 'real' people that I know as the characters. Thor and the other 'non real' people, are also very realistic with their thoughts and reactions. The only 'unreal' aspect of the imaginary people are their descriptions (bear) and their super powers (flying). They suffer, feel and react just as real people would which makes them more credible as 'imaginary FRIENDS'. No friend wants to be forgotten and just fade away from the memory of someone who is dear to them.
Steven Camden as an author, has been brilliant in his ability to add poetry in a teen novel which enhances the important focal points and which (I think) promotes the power and beauty of poetry as a literary creative art form.
Maria Burford

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