‘Imaginary Friend’ is Stephen Chbosky’s Creepy Return to the Literary Scene

The Perks of Being a Wallflower was a moving, emotional rollercoaster through teenage friendship that delights readers to this day. Now its author Stephen Chbosky is coming out with a new novel, his first in 20 years since Perks was published back in 1999. So, what would you expect? Another deep and intimate look at the connections between ourselves and others?

You’d be right on the money…if by connections between others, you mean a seven-year-old and the disembodied voices telling him all of his town’s dark secrets.

Yes, much to my own joy (and perhaps the chargin of others) Chbosky’s next novel, Imaginary Friend is a horror story. The story centers on Christopher, a little boy who moves to a new town with his mom Kate. Soon, the lonely child starts hearing voices from nowhere telling him to build a treehouse and reveals to him some pretty dark secrets.

Chbosky gave an interview with Entertainment Weekly and explained where the inspiration for this spooky story came from:

Imaginary Friend came from this what-if premise. Remember when you were a little kid, and you’d lay in the grass looking at the clouds? We all did it. You’d look at the shapes, and say, “That looks like a dog. Or a hammer, or a face, or whatever.” My what-if was, what if a little boy looked up at the clouds, and realized that for the last two weeks it was always the same face looking at him?”

Of course, this dark turn isn’t necessarily out of left field. Chbosky, after all, was one of the creators for the TV show Jericho, which was about a small Kansas town dealing with the fallout of a massive nuclear attack on the U.S. Still, it’ll be interesting to see what he does with this creepy concept and just what/who is talking to little Christopher.

Imaginary Friend will be available for purchase at all major book retailers and online on October 1, 2019.