The Merging of Real and Pretend

, by Janine M.

My Imaginary Ex by Mina V. Esguerra
Here's what happens when you play pretend.

When Zack asks Jasmine to pretend to be his ex-girlfriend, she gamely agrees, thinking it would be fun. A few years later, she still has to keep convincing people that they were never together! Then one day, she finds out he's getting married--to someone she'd just met once! All of a sudden, things aren't so clear-cut anymore. Can Jasmine sort out her feelings (sometimes she can't even tell real from pretend when it comes to her and Zack) before it's too late?

This week will be filled with reviews of literature by Filipino writers because I'm feeling quite patriotic. That and I'm too lazy to pore over more lengthy novels from the West. Hehe.

So the second review to grace this blog would be another chick lit. (Hurrah!) It's actually my second time to read this because I want to remember all the details before I write anything about it. "Que horror!" if I mixed this up with some other book I've read. =))

The novel started immediately with the problem shoved to our face. I like its being straightforward, no beating around the bush. Then the next chapter takes the reader back to how it all started, which is actually, with a lie. From there we alternate from present to a more recent past, and we become frustrated with Jasmine and Zack's push-and-pull relationship. As for the characters, we have a college version of Zack who up to the present has intimacy/privacy issues; a Jasmine who used to avoid everyone blooming into a more confident version of herself  (passionate and sexy, as Zack put it at the end of the novel); Lena and Marjorie, second and third ex (technically first and second) respectively, quite different but similar in their concern for Zack; and of course a good chick lit won't be complete without the villains: cheating, scheming bitch Kimmy, and egotistic, condescending ex-BF Tim (glad he didn't have a lot of print exposure though).

An excerpt:

But all of a sudden, I wished that what Marjorie said was true. I knew she was basing it on a false assumption, and was most likely wrong, but...

If she knew I was never Zack's ex, would she and Lena have come to the same conclusion? Would they still think that this girl Zack kept talking about was someone he was in love with, or just a friend?

I wanted it to be true, though. So badly that it took me by surprise.  (page 80)

In a nutshell, this is about a guy who couldn't bring himself to tell the girl he loves how he truly feels, and relied on dropping hints that an all-too-dense Jasmine can't pick up. This is also about a girl who for almost a decade, was unconsciously in denial but wondered why sometimes she couldn't tell between real and pretend. Ultimately, this is about the people surrounding them, observers of a love story that wasn't before, but was actually in the making. In Jasmine's recall of an emotional college graduation, she realized, "Because it looked like everyone knew it but us, and that made me want to cry."

All in all, I highly recommend this to those who enjoy good, clean enough (well there's a passionate scene near the end. Who could blame them? They waited nine years for things to happen!) chick lit. I personally don't like Western counterparts that are too passionate (read: graphic *cringe*).

The parting line of the novel was very cute. :) I quote Jasmine:

"He was, in many ways, still my Zack from college."

Awwww... Bring on the cheese!!! :P

 Rating: ♥♥♥♥


  1. Judy Marie SantiagoJuly 6, 2010 at 11:03 PM

    Like! :D And oh, can I also habe my signature on my blog posts? Would you let me copy? Haha :D Whenever I visit this blog, I ready myself like someone's going to tell me a story. And it feels good up to the end. :D Thanks Nin! Blogs keep me company cause I'm alone here in the office. :) Hope you've already read my newest blog post, REDRUM. If not, here's the link:

  2. Judy! Eto yung chuberber na signature site:

    Can't control my hand kaya yung default yung ginagamit ko. Hahaha!

  3. Hi, Janine! Hope you don't mind my dropping by. (Facebook's fault!)

    Thanks for writing about the book, and for your rating. Really appreciate it!

  4. Ms. Mina! Of course, I don't mind. :) Your blog visit is an honor. I look forward to more of your work. :)


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