Imaginary Friend or Imaginary Love?

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A totally original love story, this magical tale combines elements of the supernatural and the mundane.

We witness her inner turmoil as other people grow up and leave behind childish things such as schoolhouse valentine cards. Even her father no longer indulges her when she gives him yet another sweet card. She struggles to avoid heartbreak while chasing after love…all the while a spectral figure, uncertain and grim, haunts her.

Valentina Tran starts off cheery and believing in a floating Cupid, her original best friend (even if he is imaginary), only to have him turn sinister and threatening. Is she seeing ghosts or suffering from visions brought on by a motherless life? Is she in a state of arrested development? How does she know when it’s love or when it’s just a passing fancy? Advice given to her by her love-em-and-leave-em girlfriend Bernice Lee doesn’t help nor can she get decent help from her unhappy father.

The illustrations are superb, especially the Cupid/Saint V/Valentine of Rome figures. When chubby, cheery Cupid transforms to a disturbing ghastly specter, it’s the stuff of nightmares. Valentine wonders why he can’t turn back. We wonder if this is a romance or a ghost story.

The ending isn’t necessarily happy but that’s because it’s better. It acknowledges that love isn’t all sunshine, roses and handmade cards. The best kind of love is one that includes everything that the emotion brings with it, even if that happens to be pain and heartache. It’s a thrilling tale of passion, amorous flings, secrets, lies and deception…all the good stuff you’d expect in a romance.