cover image Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

Matthew Dicks. St. Martin’s, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-00621-9

Elementary school teacher Dicks’s quirky and pleasant newest (after Unexpectedly, Milo) is narrated by Budo, eight-year-old Max Delaney’s imaginary friend of five years, who also serves as Max’s guardian/confidante and can only “persist” so long as Max doesn’t “forget” about him. Max’s dad, a manager at a Connecticut Burger King, and Max’s mom, a manager at Aetna, argue and fret about the introverted Max, a “late bloomer” and “special needs” student. The charmingly sophisticated Budo likes Max’s teacher, Mrs. Gosk, but he’s suspicious of Mrs. Patterson, his paraprofessional. Budo’s wariness proves well-founded when the “little-boy-stealing devil” Mrs. Patterson (who is grief-stricken over the death of her son, Scotty) kidnaps Max. The tenacious Budo finds him in Mrs. Patterson’s basement playing with Legos; since Budo can only communicate with Max, he enlists imaginary friends Oswald the Giant and Teeny the fairy to orchestrate Max’s release. But while Budo fights to free Max, he also has his own tenuous existence to worry about. A chipper narrative and lively climax make Dicks’s newest a fun read and engaging exploration of the vibrant world of a child’s imagination. Agent: Taryn Fagerness.(Aug.)