The Impossibility of Us, by Katy Upperman
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Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Length: 295 pages
Times Read: Once
Rating: ADORE ADORE ADORE
The last thing Elise wants is to start her senior year in a new town. But after her brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother move from San Francisco to a sleepy coastal village.
When Elise meets Mati, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Mati is new to town too, visiting the U.S. with his family. Over the course of the summer, their relationship begins to blossom, and what starts out as a friendship becomes so much more.
But as Elise and Mati grow closer, her family becomes more and more uncomfortable with their relationship, and their concerns all center on one fact—Mati is Afghan.
Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and ultimately hopeful, THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US asks—how brave can you be when your relationship is questioned by everyone you love?
What I Liked: Dear Swoon Reads, thank you for bringing Katy Upperman into my life with her debut a few years ago right when I was about to give up on you forever.
♥ Elise & Mati. Super sweet together, and I really liked watching their relationship develop over the summer. They have a lot of roadblocks in their way, including the fact that Mati is Afghan and Elise’s mom and sister-in-law blame all Afghans for Elise’s brother’s death in Afghanistan. Despite this, their relationship gets stronger and stronger, and features some really excellent kissing.
♥ Bambi the Energetic Goldendoodle. Bambi is Elise’s new puppy, and she has energy to burn, so Elise has started taking her on long walks early in the morning. It’s on one of these such walks that she meets Mati, when he almost drowns in the ocean and Elise rescues him. Bambi is a bright spot throughout the book, always there with her cheerful nature to lighten the mood.
♥ Mati’s Baba. His father was a wonderful character, and I love every scene with him.
♥ The Culture. I always love a look into other cultures, and I haven’t read much YA fiction that features an Afghan character, so I was really happy that Elise wanted to learn so much and that Mati was willing to teach. I learned a lot of words, about food, customs, and traditions.
♥ The Side Characters. Like them or not, the side characters were really well developed. I didn’t agree with Audrey, Elise’s sister-in-law, on many of her views but she definitely wasn’t one-dimensional. The side character I did like was Ryan (Katy Upperman sure loves a cute boy next door), the grandson of Elise’s next door neighbor who’s visiting for the summer. There’s never a chance of something developing between him and Elise, and that makes their friendship all the better.
♥ The Dual POV. I love a story told in multiple voices, but when I saw that Mati’s portion of the book would be in verse, I was skeptical. I’m usually not a big fan of verse. But Mati’s sections blew me away. They were just the right length, beautifully written, and so full of emotion.
♥ Super Satisfying Ending.
What I Didn’t: NOT MUCH, GUYS
⊗ As with most things I dislike in awesome books, it was necessary to the story. But guys I really really really hated how Elise’s mom and sister-in-law treated Mati and blamed all Afghan’s for 9/11, for Elise’s brother’s death, for any terrorist attack they could. Not true, not cool, and Elise was right–her brother would have been disgusted with their behavior.
⊗ I took issue with Elise’s mom and her overly indulgent grief. I don’t know what it’s like to lose a child, but I do know that she still had a daughter who was alive at home and needed her, and her mom wasn’t there for her. She overlooked Elise’s grief, and emotionally abandoned her after her brother’s death.
Favorite Quotes: “It only lasts a moment, but it’s the best moment.”