“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench
rollscresssandwichespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater----'

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows


Friday, October 1, 2010

Imaginalis Middle-grade fiction / Fantasy

Imaginalis
by J. M. DeMatteis
June 2010 Available now   Harper Collins  Ages 8 - 12
What if your dearest friends were trapped in a world that was dying? 
Story:  Mehera Beatrice Crosby has one great love—and it's not following the latest health fads (like her school friend Celeste), and it's definitely not Andrew Suarez (even if he does have a ridiculous crush on her). It's Imaginalis, her favorite book series.
When she learns that the long-awaited last book in the series has been canceled, Mehera is devastated—until strange events begin unfolding, and she realizes that her Imaginalian friends are counting on her to rescue them from their fading existence. Soon Mehera finds herself traveling between her world and the kingdom of Imaginalis. But what will happen when she accidentally brings the villain of the series, Pralaya, back to Earth, along with Prince Imagos and his Companions? Has Mehera doomed both worlds beyond repair, or is there a way to save Mehera's world—and Imaginalis, too?
This richly imagined fantasy is a fast-paced adventure and a testament to the power of loyal friendship, creativity, and imagination.
 Story behind the story:

Hear more about IMAGINALIS in this Northeast Public Radio Interview -- and via this video interview:






FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please check back on the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say.

22 comments:

Charlotte said...

I have this one waiting for me in my stack of library books--I hope to get to it soon!

Anonymous said...

please!make a second one,i did this for my book report at school and when i got up in front of the class i was so proud!I loved it so much,Praylaya was my second favorite besides Mehera.which both were cool charicters. your coolist fan Joshua Mode

Anonymous said...

PS.I like THE COVER

Anonymous said...

Very glad you enjoyed the book, Joshua. If the publisher asks for a sequel, believe me, I'll be happy to write it!

All the best --

J.M. DeMatteis

dmuldawer said...

After reading through Imaginalis once, I wasn't sure what to say. After reading through it a second time, I still find myself at a loss for words.

Imaginalis is a book of contradictions.

For example, at the beginning of the book, the protagonist Mehera is simply not very likeable. She's dumped almost all her friends, is rude to her father and remaining friend, and sees things very negatively. Yet by the end of the book, she is filled with great love and positivity.

There are also many cliches in the book. When the lion appears to defeat Praylaya, it felt like a scene out of Narnia. Seeing the imaginary while looking sideways is also used in Riordan's THE RED PYRAMID. The idea of a dream within a dream and universes within universes has been used in countless other places, as has the idea of travelling between worlds. And the idea of choosing what to put in your world is in every self-help book. Yet, even with all these cliches, there are moments of riveting originality, mostly centered around Pralaya.

Pralaya carries the book. When he/she/it appears, the rest of the characters take on life and have to face their own fears and own realities. While the good characters weaken in our world, Pralaya is resourceful and uses Earth's evils to fuel his own energy. Yet Pralaya is no simple villain. He acts with conscience and with regret. He tries to make difficult decisions easier and spares lives if there is no threat. Pralaya is the one who forces Mehera and Mrs. Morris-Gilland to face the loss incurred by premature death.

Imaginalis is an easy read and later elementary/early middle school age children will probably enjoy it. As an adult though, I would've liked the characters to have more complexity, especially the primary characters from Imaginalis. To quote Pralaya, "Day needs night. Light needs shadow. And every story needs a villain." By introducing Pralayna earlier, even without revealing his identity, Imaginalis would deepen and Mehera would have something tangible to fight against instead of her own unacknowledged pain and grief.

This is certainly worth having in your classrom library and though the ideas are old to adults, they are fresh and new to children.

Picnic Basket Rating: 4

dmuldawer said...

After reading through Imaginalis once, I wasn't sure what to say. After reading through it a second time, I still find myself at a loss for words.

Imaginalis is a book of contradictions.

For example, at the beginning of the book, the protagonist Mehera is simply not very likeable. She's dumped almost all her friends, is rude to her father and remaining friend, and sees things very negatively. Yet by the end of the book, she is filled with great love and positivity.

There are also many cliches in the book. When the lion appears to defeat Praylaya, it felt like a scene out of Narnia. Seeing the imaginary while looking sideways is also used in Riordan's THE RED PYRAMID. The idea of a dream within a dream and universes within universes has been used in countless other places, as has the idea of travelling between worlds. And the idea of choosing what to put in your world is in every self-help book. Yet, even with all these cliches, there are moments of riveting originality, mostly centered around Pralaya.

Pralaya carries the book. When he/she/it appears, the rest of the characters take on life and have to face their own fears and own realities. While the good characters weaken in our world, Pralaya is resourceful and uses Earth's evils to fuel his own energy. Yet Pralaya is no simple villain. He acts with conscience and with regret. He tries to make difficult decisions easier and spares lives if there is no threat. Pralaya is the one who forces Mehera and Mrs. Morris-Gilland to face the loss incurred by premature death.

Imaginalis is an easy read and later elementary/early middle school age children will probably enjoy it. As an adult though, I would've liked the characters to have more complexity, especially the primary characters from Imaginalis. To quote Pralaya, "Day needs night. Light needs shadow. And every story needs a villain." By introducing Pralayna earlier, even without revealing his identity, Imaginalis would deepen and Mehera would have something tangible to fight against instead of her own unacknowledged pain and grief.

This is certainly worth having in your classrom library and though the ideas are old to adults, they are fresh and new to children.

Picnic Basket Rating: 4

dmuldawer said...

After reading through Imaginalis once, I wasn't sure what to say. After reading through it a second time, I still find myself at a loss for words.

Imaginalis is a book of contradictions.

For example, at the beginning of the book, the protagonist Mehera is simply not very likeable. She's dumped almost all her friends, is rude to her father and remaining friend, and sees things very negatively. Yet by the end of the book, she is filled with great love and positivity.

There are also many cliches in the book. When the lion appears to defeat Praylaya, it felt like a scene out of Narnia. Seeing the imaginary while looking sideways is also used in Riordan's THE RED PYRAMID. The idea of a dream within a dream and universes within universes has been used in countless other places, as has the idea of travelling between worlds. And the idea of choosing what to put in your world is in every self-help book. Yet, even with all these cliches, there are moments of riveting originality, mostly centered around Pralaya.

Pralaya carries the book. When he/she/it appears, the rest of the characters take on life and have to face their own fears and own realities. While the good characters weaken in our world, Pralaya is resourceful and uses Earth's evils to fuel his own energy. Yet Pralaya is no simple villain. He acts with conscience and with regret. He tries to make difficult decisions easier and spares lives if there is no threat. Pralaya is the one who forces Mehera and Mrs. Morris-Gilland to face the loss incurred by premature death.

Imaginalis is an easy read and later elementary/early middle school age children will probably enjoy it. As an adult though, I would've liked the characters to have more complexity, especially the primary characters from Imaginalis. To quote Pralaya, "Day needs night. Light needs shadow. And every story needs a villain." By introducing Pralayna earlier, even without revealing his identity, Imaginalis would deepen and Mehera would have something tangible to fight against instead of her own unacknowledged pain and grief.

This is certainly worth having in your classrom library and though the ideas are old to adults, they are fresh and new to children.

Picnic Basket Rating: 4

dmuldawer said...

After reading through Imaginalis once, I wasn't sure what to say. After reading through it a second time, I still find myself at a loss for words.

Imaginalis is a book of contradictions.

For example, at the beginning of the book, the protagonist Mehera is simply not very likeable. She's dumped almost all her friends, is rude to her father and remaining friend, and sees things very negatively. Yet by the end of the book, she is filled with great love and positivity.

There are also many cliches in the book. When the lion appears to defeat Praylaya, it felt like a scene out of Narnia. Seeing the imaginary while looking sideways is also used in Riordan's THE RED PYRAMID. The idea of a dream within a dream and universes within universes has been used in countless other places, as has the idea of travelling between worlds. And the idea of choosing what to put in your world is in every self-help book. Yet, even with all these cliches, there are moments of riveting originality, mostly centered around Pralaya.

Pralaya carries the book. When he/she/it appears, the rest of the characters take on life and have to face their own fears and own realities. While the good characters weaken in our world, Pralaya is resourceful and uses Earth's evils to fuel his own energy. Yet Pralaya is no simple villain. He acts with conscience and with regret. He tries to make difficult decisions easier and spares lives if there is no threat. Pralaya is the one who forces Mehera and Mrs. Morris-Gilland to face the loss incurred by premature death.

Imaginalis is an easy read and later elementary/early middle school age children will probably enjoy it. As an adult though, I would've liked the characters to have more complexity, especially the primary characters from Imaginalis. To quote Pralaya, "Day needs night. Light needs shadow. And every story needs a villain." By introducing Pralayna earlier, even without revealing his identity, Imaginalis would deepen and Mehera would have something tangible to fight against instead of her own unacknowledged pain and grief.

This is certainly worth having in your classrom library and though the ideas are old to adults, they are fresh and new to children.

Picnic Basket Rating: 4

janette said...

I am with "dmuldawer" on this one, only I can't say that I even made it to the end.
I didn't find Mehera to be a likable character in the beginning of the book. I struggled to find a connection with her to keep me interested in reading. I also felt she was incredibly juvenile.
Perhaps I've forgotten what its like to be that age, but don't think I would have the same feelings toward a discontinued book series as she did. Disappointment, yes...obsession, probably not.
I also didn't like the way she treated her father. I understand that children get upset with their parents, but it seemed to go beyond that.
As far as readablilty, I would say upper elementary students would have no problem reading it, but by the time one hit middle school, they may not be able to identify with Mehera because she is so juvenile.
It's my hope that children would have a different opinion than mine in reading this book. I love it when children pick up any book to read, and want all of them to be enjoyable.
I'll definitely try again at some point to read it, but in the mean time, I'll donate it to the public library in hopes it will get checked out often!

M. Battista said...

I can see the kid appeal in this book - humor, action, fantasy, etc. This is one of those books the students will like more than I do. And that's perfectly okay. I want them to read what they enjoy not what I enjoy. I had a hard time liking Mehera. She was supposed to be immature, but I wanted to be charmed by her a little more at the beginning so I could root for her with a little more passion. I rate this book a solid 3.

M. Battista
Denair Elementary School Library
Denair, CA

Susan Appleton said...

I found this book to be a pretty good read. I can see some of my 5th grade students probably enjoying it a bit more than I did. It was hard to get into the book at the beginning and the character, Mehera, wasn't the kind of character that you connect with very much. This makes it hard for the reader to really sympathize with her or see things from her point of view. She could be kind of rude especially to her father, but then again, maybe the author was trying to make her appear young and immature. Once I got into the storyline of the book, it picked up a little more and I was a little more invested in it. Overall I would rank it a 3 out 5.

L. Nunley said...

I hope this does not double post.
I LOVED IT! The story flowed so easily. I could relate to the main characters sentiment that stories are other worlds that we are permitted to visit. I cannot wait for the next one!

Anonymous said...

This is a book that once I got into it I was unable to put it down. I hope that my students will give it a chance. Once Mehera finds the characters that she loves so deeply, the author grabs your attention.
This story is a great story to look beyond what is written to a deeper meaning. It is not good verses evil as much as believing in all that is good. The author did a fantastic job of making the impossible seem real.
I look forward to hearing reviews from my students. I also look forward to reading more books written by J.M. DeMatteis.

This was a 5+ in my picnic basket.

loonyhiker said...

I would definitely give this book 5 out of 5. Once I began reading the book, I couldn’t put it down. I think this would be a great book for upper elementary to middle school students. I can see it being used in the school library or as a class novel. I love the way the author encourages the reader to use their imagination. I think we don’t do this enough with students anymore and I’m glad to see a book that allows for imagination as well as having a gripping story line. There are so many wonderful inspirational quotes in the book that can be used in the classroom as well. Topics for a class discussion can be peer pressure, loss of a loved one, imagination vs. reality, creative writing, and trusting others. I think girls and boys would enjoy this book tremendously. It was also interesting to see how the main character Mehera changed. This also would be a great discussion for the class in determining how she changed and what factors were involved in making this change. It would also be fun to have students continue the story after it ends and see where their imagination would take the main characters. I highly recommend this book!

Pat Hensley
Retired Special Ed Teacher
University Instructor
Greenville, SC

Sandra Stiles said...

I enjoyed this book and know I will have a difficult time keeping this book on my shelves. I didn't immediately like Mehera. She came off as rude to her friends and especially her father. This book seems to be all about change. I believe the thing I loved the most was the use of the imagination. Our children today seem to have lost the use of their imagination. This book lends itself to so many creative writing projects. I hope to read more by this author. I give this a strong 5

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone who's voiced an opinion about my book -- pro and con. I truly appreciate that you've all taken the time to share your thoughts about IMAGINALIS.

J.M. DeMatteis

kidstuff said...

I found Imaginalis a little hard to get into also. While I understand the back story had to be told, the action didn't really start until halfway through the book. Middle grade readers might put it down before then unless they are die hard fantasy fans. The last half of the book held my attention and I enjoyed the story and characters. If I could rate the book in sections I'd give it a 2 for the 1st half and a 4 for the second half. If you have a small library this would be an additional purchase only if you have lots of fantasy fans who need something to tide them over until the next book in a beloved series comes out. Otherwise I would suggest it only for large collections.

Mrs. Horne said...

This book was....complex! I am not even sure as I sit here writing the review, how I want to describe it. I was very taken aback by Mehera, her negativity and the way she treats her father. It was disturbing in so many ways.

However, I loved the theme of "change" which resonates with this book. And I am in agreement with a previous poster, the concept of imagination is one of the draws to this book.

I am going to put it on my middle school bookshelves and see what happens - the attractive cover will definitely attract some readers and I will be interested in their feedback.

Picnic Basket Rating: 4/5

dmuldawer said...

Sorry about all the repeat postings before...computers are evil.

Wanted to add that I put Imaginalis in my classroom and it got snapped up in a day by one of my reluctant readers. She absolutely loves it and carries it around with her all day long.

So Imaginalis definitely has kid appeal.

Catherine said...

This was an interesting story. Some of my students would really relate to Mehera and her interest in Imaginalis. They would certainly get into her belief of the world and why she was upset when the series was cancelled. This is a good story for my lower readers. It holds their interest and allows them to become part of the story.

I rate this a 4.

Catherine Yezak
Special Education Teacher Marquette Area Public Schools Marquette, Michigan

juli said...

This book took me awhile to get into and I had the same problems with the main character as some of the other posts. I do feel my students will grab it up and enjoy it a lot.

Rating: 4/5

Heather Hill said...

I thought maybe I would have a hard time getting into "Imaginalis", but was hooked immediately. I think J.M. DeMatteis captured the angst and awkwardness of a tween pretty accurately.

The plot of the book is unique, which will capture the attention of fantasy lovers. And I found myself wanting more background on the world of Imaginalis. It would be wonderful to get hooked into the epic like Mehera. Of course, a sequel with an older Mehera would be just as satisfying. I can't wait to read the author's next book.

I have several 5th graders that will love the story and plan to share it with them. I give the book a 4 out of 5.

Heather Hill, Reading Specialist
Enterprise Elementary
Woodbridge, VA