As Anna tries to figure things out in Salsburg, her childhood friend Jamie Presswood once again enters her life. Now a handsome man, if a bit dark and emo, he runs a landscaping and lawn work business and cares for his ill mother in the house next door to Duffy and Winston. While the two were inseparable as young children, Anna ignored Jamie when she returned to Salsburg as a teenager and attended the local high school. However, Jamie seems content to let bygones be bygones and, right now, Anna could use all the friends she can get. But could it turn into more?
Her ex is a brooding artist named Patrick who has a tendency to get off of his meds and behave in a dangerous and unpredictable manner. She's got a restraining order on him, for the time being, but what does the future hold? To top things off, her young son David has been behaving in a really stubborn and bratty way since they arrived at her grandparents' and he seems incredibly preoccupied with his new-found imaginary friends, King Rex and Weeple - a T-Rex and a Brontosaurus, respectively. While many kids have imaginary friends, it's not every parent that can see them and Anna becomes deeply disturbed when she begins to visualize David's friends as they romp with him in the yard and behave protectively towards David and against other people. Things become even more complicated when Jamie reminds her that she had an imaginary friend named Leah Nola who was quite prevalent in her life when they were kids and Anna starts to wonder if this had something to do with her mother sending her to stay with her grandparents.
As Anna explores the psychology behind a child's imaginary friends, she reaches out to her mother to ask about her past, unearthing an entire can of worms she had forgotten about, but in doing so, she just may have shed some light on David's "playmates." Just when she grows accustomed to them, despite the obvious inconvenience of having two dinosaurs that follow your son around like bodyguards, David becomes petrified of a panther living under his bed. When Anna confronts it, only to be scared out of her bed as well, she realizes the problem is bigger than she first thought and something that can't be ignored. When tragedy strikes and David goes missing, Anna fears that the "imaginary things" may be getting a bit out of control.
Imaginary Things is much more of a drama than a mysterious thriller, despite the supernatural vibe that the imaginary friends might give off. It is the story of a mother's love, family ties and finding love again despite life's hardships. While I typically prefer the murder mystery/thriller genre, Imaginary Things is an interesting take on childhood imaginary friends and their underlying meanings and I enjoyed the read.