Imaginary Enemy

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Imaginary Enemy Book Poster Image
Main character is hard to like in disjointed tale.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

The main character is proud to be a slacker, doesn't do homework, and mouths off to adults.


Kissing, mentions of pubic hair, pierced nipples, perverts.


One use of "boobs."


Candy, soap, alcohol, restaurant chain, toy brands.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults and teens drink, sometimes to excess. A teen smokes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, for a book aimed at teens, this is pretty mild: a little kissing, some references to drinking and smoking. The main character is proud to be a slacker, but learns better by the end.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 14 years old Written byMillyMolly November 30, 2010

Really Good!

I get in trouble a lot, so in a way I relate to Jane. I really liked her charecter and her neighbores. Its a really funny book, and a great read. I would reccom... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 20, 2010

What's the story?

Less a story than a series of loosely related moments through the years, this follows Jane from second grade through high school, as she tries to avoid work, avoid learning, and avoid taking responsibility for her own actions. She more or less accomplishes this last by blaming them on an imaginary enemy named Bubba, to whom she writes nasty letters.

Is it any good?

There are two glaring flaws here; the first is that the main character, Jane, simply isn't very likable. Often books about kids who seem to be brats on the outside make them likable by letting readers see them from the inside. But Jane isn't very likable inside either. She's not horrible -- she's just the kind of person you'd rather not spend much time with.

The second is that this is not a story. It's a fairly disjointed series of vignettes that don't really lead anywhere, and are only loosely held together by the gimmick of the imaginary enemy, which doesn't seem to have any real purpose other than to show another unpleasant side of Jane. Between these two flaws, there's not really much to draw readers in and keep them reading.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the process of growing up. How does Jane change over the years? What causes the changes? How does having an imaginary enemy help or hinder her?

Book details

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