Six Impossible Things
by Fiona Woods
Publication Date: August 11, 2015
Length: 304 pages
Obtained Via: gifted
companion to Wildlife, but can stand alone
View at the Traffic light:
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 reversal of family fortune, moving, new-school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on Estelle, the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he’s narrowed it down to 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.
Ooh, Six Impossible Things was delightful. I had read the companion novel, Wildlife, which was published first in the US, so I thought I would like this. I was right! Six Impossible Things can be read as a standalone, but IF you plan to read Wildlife, I would read this one first, as it was originally published in Australia, because there are some developments in Wildlife that give some things away. Also, Wildlife is much more serious overall in my opinion, though I wouldn’t call Six Impossible Things light and fluffy. There’s a lot going on.
Six Impossible Things follows Dan, who is so realistically awkward and endearingly earnest. Six Impossible Things is one of the youngest-skewing YA contemporary books I’ve read — Dan is fourteen at the beginning of the book and turns fifteen during it. Dan and his mom have fallen on hard times. His dad’s ruined the family income and come out and left. It’s a lot for any fourteen-year-old to handle. Dan comes up with a list of “six impossible things” he’s trying to tackle to make it through the year. These goals are used as a framing device, but the real story is about Dan’s new life. It’s a coming of age story, sure, but there’s also a classic YA contemporary feel to it.
Six Impossible Things is an incredibly character-driven book. In many ways, it is very much a slice-of-life book. Dan deals with having a crush, dealing with a bully, and trying to get a job. On the surface it’s nothing special, but there’s something about the way that Wood writes Dan that is just so earnest. Even when you shake your head at some of his choices(because he’s fourteen/fifteen, of course he’s going to make some bad decisions), you still find yourself rooting for him.
I kept finding myself thinking about Dan’s age. He’s one of the younger protagonist in YA. Most seem to be about sixteen/seventeen-year-olds, and I think that strongly influences the way his character is written. As much as I loved the book, there were some awkward moments, because fourteen tends to be a pretty awkward age. Six Impossible Things is definitely YA and not MG, but I think it has a lot of cross-over appeal for MG readers looking to age up a bit.
A lovely book about an awkward, but wonderful boy in some tough circumstances. Despite the rather dire circumstances Dan is in, the book never loses hope or that spark of charm that hooked me from the first chapter. If you like contemporary YA, this should be on your TBR. 4/5 cupcakes.