Author: Nikki Sheehan
Published: 6 February 2014 by OUP Oxford
Length: 264 pages
Summary : People used to call them 'friends' and said how they were good for your brain. And then a day came when all that changed . . . when they became our enemy. Now, anyone found harbouring a rogue imaginary person is in for the Cosh, an operation that fries your imagination and zaps whatever's in there, out of existence. That's why I wish Klaris Cliff had never shown up. And why I know that proving her innocence is the last hope I have of saving myself.
Review: In this world, invisible friends are dangerous. Anyone found to have one is sent for the COSH, a procedure that shrinks the area of the imagination that an invisible friend will reside in. Klaris Cliff is one such invisible friend. An imaginary person who contacts Flea, and later, Joseph. As bad things go on at the Cliff household, Doctor Cliff wants Klaris gone, and it's up to Joseph to prove her innocence.
I hadn't heard of this until the OUP night for this and Storm and Stone, but upon hearing about this, I definitely wanted to read it. The first thing I heard about it was “What if someone can kill your imaginary friend”, which caught my attention, as it must have caught Sheehan's.
You very quickly get a feel for this world, which is slightly dystopian for the way that the COSH and its threat rules over the children. You also quickly get to know the characters, the friendship between them, and the sibling relationships seem real.
The characters all have their individual quirks that make them likable, unique and funny at times. The twins are especially cute (and a little gross in parts). Despite the fact most of them are younger than I normally read about, they're really nice to get to know.
The mystery uncovering works nicely, and I liked the way it all panned out at the end. Sheehan also wrote in less mystery, more family parts, which I found a nice touch, rounding out Joseph and giving him a bit more of a life.
I like the fact that one little detail that you think isn't going to be major, just a bit of back-story to explain where Joseph is today, is quite important, and leads to a satisfying, kind of heart-warming but also sad, conclusion.
The idea of the COSH is very very scary.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a slightly younger mystery that people of all ages should read.