Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood

Title: Six Impossible Things
Author: Fiona Wood
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: August 11, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
1. Kiss Estelle.
2. Get a job.
3. Cheer my mother up.
4. Try not to be a complete nerd/loser.
5. Talk to my father when he calls.
6. Figure out how to be good.

Nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a whole heap of problems, including a reversal of family fortune, moving, new-school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and a massive crush on Estelle, the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he’s narrowed it down to just six impossible things…

In this charming story of one guy’s efforts to get it together when his life is falling apart, award-winning author Fiona Wood introduces an irresistible voice and a delightfully awkward character who is impossible to forget.

Last year, I read Fiona Wood’s Wildlife which kind of flew under the radar. It was a quiet story that I enjoyed reading and left me looking forward to reading more from this author. And along came Six Impossible Things. Much like with Fiona Wood’s other book, it was a quiet story and it was one I enjoyed reading.

Dan Cereill’s life is falling apart. His father lost the family fortune and announced he was gay, his mother is trying to make a living as a wedding cake baker and failing, and he has to start at a new school where he doesn’t know anyone…other than the girl living next door who he has a crush on despite having never talked to her. There’s a lot happening all at once, but there are six things in particular Dan thinks he can handle, no matter how impossible they might seem. And if he can do those six things then maybe he can start putting his life back together.

So here’s an interesting bit of information for those of you who are curious: though it was published after Wildlife in North America, Six Impossible Things was actually Fiona Wood’s debut novel and it features some of the main characters from Wildlife before the events that happen in Wildlife. Did that make sense? All that to say that reading Six Impossible Things AFTER Wildlife made for an interesting reading experience. Nothing was really spoiled, thought that might have more to do with me sucking at remembering details sometimes, but there were moments when I was like “Right! This is such and such from Wildlife” and then just keep on reading. If anything, it might have even made my Six Impossible Things reading experience more interesting. Beyond that, Six Impossible Things is very much a quiet story. There isn’t much that happens in terms of action and it’s instead about the journey Dan goes through as an individual between the start and end of the book. It’s about the small moments that, when they’re all put together, help you move on when you feel like everything around you is falling apart. And all things considering, Dan does a pretty good job figuring it out.

When I started reading Six Impossible Things I wasn’t entirely sure about how I was going to feel about Dan. And that’s because of his age. I sometimes get nervous when reading younger YA. I’m never sure how certain topics are going to be tackled or if the story will feel realistic for the age of the character. But I didn’t have to worry about anything in this particular case. Dan felt like an almost-fifteen-year-old and the story felt right for him. Dan had a unique voice, and told his story in a way that was entirely his own. And he made me smile, just as much as sometimes he was totally pulling on my heartstrings. And joining Dan was a great cast of supporting characters, from his mother trying to make a living baking wedding cakes but turns all potential clients off of marriage to Estelle, the girl next door he’s crushing on and may have possibly accidentally stalked. So yeah, there were definitely some interesting situations in this book, but they were a lot of fun.

I really enjoyed Fiona Wood’s Six Impossible Things. Much like her with Wildlife, it feels like it has so far flown under the radar. If you’re looking for a quieter YA with a grate male narrator, this is the book for you.

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