Title: Imaginary Grace by Anne Holster
Genre: New Adult Romance
Rating: 4 / 4.5
*ARC received by the author for my honest review*
Summary: For Goodreads Summary Click Here
Imaginary Grace is about a young shy girl named Grace Roberts as she leaves her home of New Jersey to move to College exactly 4 hours away. Lacking confidence within herself she has no clue why the resident college heart throb Tanner Reed would be showing any interest in her as his devastatingly handsome good looks means he has no shortage to women. Grace begins to feel like she has got him all wrong and he really is a nice guy but has she? Tanner has a special plan in place in order to get what he wants, one of which revolves around Grace a whole lot.
Imaginary Grace was a pleasant surprise and I believe it to be a true asset to the New Adult Genre based on the array of emotions this novel had me experiencing. The novel consists of 424 pages and one of my first opinions was that it seemed very descriptive throughout even the littlest mundane activities, this is one of the reasons I couldn’t give the novel 5 stars as it felt a little too long in places. However looking past the times when the novel seemed a little bit too descriptive it also holds a positive boost towards the exciting build up we experience in the beginning of Grace and Tanner’s relationship. The descriptive nature of Anne Holster’s writing can be a sharp contrast to other books within this genre who rush from the initial meeting straight into the two protagonists engaging in a sexual activity and having a relationship whereas Anne made us wait for it, which at times was a little frustrating as I wanted Grace and Tanner to finally have a physical interaction. But this frustration is a good thing because it means Anne is successful in her writing, she is doing exactly what she needs to do to get her audience to engage and feel an emotion from the chapter.
Furthermore the novel had me experiencing more than frustration, I went from smiling at an comedic encounter between Grace and Tanner, to crying at an emotional scene. It was truly a whirlwind of emotions allowing the reader to experience a journey as the novel present’s Grace taking a journey off her own. A notable quote at the beginning of the novel regarding how Grace see’s herself is ‘All I saw looking back at me was averageness’. Within 424 pages, Grace takes on a journey from hiding behind her clothes to embracing who she really is as a person and ultimately becoming more confident in herself which is evident in a number of ways from her appearance to her language.
The book alternates chapters from Grace’s POV to Tanners POV which allows us to experience how both of the protagonists are approaching each other. Both POV are in first person so we are fully aware of each of their thoughts, feelings and reasons behind an action which ultimately gives a well rounded story. Furthermore as we experience Tanner’s POV it is hard to feel angry and hate him for his actions towards Grace as we know he is acting based on his past experiences, like Grace he too takes on a journey which allows him to realize his actions have consequences.
In terms of characters, I would give Anne Holster a 5/5 for her characters. I found Grace to be easily identifiable with through her lack of confidence and anxieties about herself and despite Tanner seeming to be an overly confident hottie he also showed depth in his previous anxieties regarding his ex girlfriend.
Finally I found I could draw a few simple comparisons from Imaginary Grace to other popular New Adult books such as Beth and Grace’s relationship which reminded me off Kate and Anastasia from E.L James’ 50 Shades of Grey Series. Like Anna, Grace takes a journey from lacking in confidence to breaking out of her shell and she relies on her best friend to offer her advice, someone she looks up to in a sisterly fashion.
Tanner’s role of being part of a rock band compares to Bad for you by Abbi Glines, whose main male protagonist is an overly confident, woman attracting singer in a band.
If you have read any of the following books, I would recommend checking out Imaginary Grace.