I do not consider myself a gifted writer, but I do enjoy writing my blog entries, reviews and the occasional work for publication in professional journals. When I was a tween and into my early teens, I thought I wanted to be a writer. My mother still thinks I want to be a writer (perhaps because she's not repaying my library school loans each month) and my husband is somehow convinced I'm going to write the Great American Novel one day.
But as I've told Lara Zeises, there is no point in me becoming a writer because I could never in a million years even come close to writing half as well as Nancy Werlin. This woman can write anything and write it brilliantly. Her stories tunnel deep into your psyche and they stay there.
The plot: I have to laugh, because the plot sounds horrendous when I break it down. Lucy, beloved foster child and avid runner, is raped on her prom night and gets pregnant. She decides to keep the baby and learns of a curse that has plagued generations of her family's women and makes them go crazy after they all give birth at eighteen. There's a ballad and a diary and Lucy falls in love and gets married to Zach, a boy she's known all her life. But it's more than that. Lucy knows that her mother, Miranda, is insane, but what she doesn't know is that Miranda only went insane after giving birth to Lucy. Through Zach, Lucy comes into possession of Miranda's diary and learns that she too is doomed to go insane. Before Lucy gives birth, she must complete three tasks set forth by the Elfin King, who fell in love with one of her ancestors and cursed their lineage via a ballad, a version of "Scarborough Fair" known to very few. All of these tasks seem impossible at first glance, but using a little ingenuity and human smarts Lucy, Zach, Soledad and Leo come up with a plan to break the curse.
Why you'll love it: This is a "No, trust me!" novel, just like The Book Thief. The plot of The Book Thief sounds horrendous when broken down, too: This book is about a girl growing up in WWII Germany and she steals books and it's narrated by Death. When booktalking both The Book Thief and Impossible, you have to say, "No, trust me!" to the person listening to the talk, because if they do they're in for something wonderful. Lucy is pragmatic, intelligent, and literal-minded. Soledad and Leo and Zach are more artistic and emotional, and together all of them make a great team. Alone, none of them could have even attempted to break the Scarborough family curse. Together, they show the power love has over something that seems insurmountable.
I know some people are going to read this book and complain about how good and perfect Zach is, so I wanted to address that. You're reading the blog of what seems like the only librarian...or maybe the only woman...in the world who finds the "bad boy" completely unappealing. This is my personal preference, and it taints what I read. I have never been attracted to bad boys, either in literature or in real life. I have no sense of danger. I like rules and order and good behavior. I would never want to date Sirius Black and Edward Cullen positively turns my stomach. Because of this, I adored Zach. I loved that there was a "good boy" in this book, and that he was so pure of heart and character. I loved Zach's dedication to Lucy. We should all be so lucky to have someone in our lives who loves us so much.
Read Nancy's thoughts on writing Impossible.
Every year, I read hundreds of books. I tend to not think much of about half of them, enjoy another thirty percent or so, love another eighteen percent, and then, rarely, there are those few books that cling to my heart and soul. Impossible is one of the clingers-on. I can't wait until more people have read this because I am dying to discuss it.
Nasty Women's Middle Grade Books
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