Review Blog

Mar 18 2010

Impossible by Nancy Werlin

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Penguin, 2010.
(Age 15+) Recommended. Chosen as one of the Best Books for Young Adults 2009 by the American Library Association, Impossible is a love story, a puzzle and a fantasy set in the here and now. Based on the old ballad, Are you going to Scarborough Fair, made popular by Simon and Garfunkel in the 60's, Werlin has written a gripping story of love, curses and an elfin knight. Lucy Scarborough has always believed that her mother is a mad bag lady who has abandoned her when she was a baby. When she reads an old diary she discovers that a curse has been put on her family and it is this that has driven her mother insane. To her horror, she finds that she too will suffer that fate. If she cannot do the three seemingly impossible tasks, described in the song, while she is pregnant, then her daughter will suffer the consequences.
Lucy is a strong character. Brought up by loving foster parents, Soledah and Leo, and with the help of Zach, she sets out to break the curse by figuring out the puzzles in her mother's version of Scarborough Fair.
Werlin has combined a clever mixture of high school story with a touch of Faerie. I felt I knew her family, her best friend and her hopes for the future. When Padraig Seeley enters her life, I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what this Elfin Knight would do and was horrified at the outcome. Werlin managed the rape scene and its consequences with clever writing, leaving the reader emphasising with Lucy and well informed about the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy.
Readers who like to solve puzzles will have a wonderful time trying to come to grips with how Lucy can break the curse. Those like me, who couldn't imagine how the curse could be broken, will be satisfied with the answers to the puzzles.
I loved the romance in this book. Zach was a steady, sympathetic boy who proved to be steadfast in his support for Lucy. The fears of his parents about a teenage marriage were vividly described but the pair knew that they had the support of their families.
Impossible has enormous appeal, with its supernatural elements, an evil elf, date rape, teen pregnancy and marriage, all beautifully crafted by an award winning author. A fascinating author's note and useful discussion guide are included at the end of the book.
Pat Pledger

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