Impossible, by Nancy Werlin (REVIEW)
Sept. 2008. 384p. Dial, hardcover, $17.99
(9780803730021). Grades 7-11.
While searching for young adult books without vampires, demons or werewolves, I picked up this National Book Award Finalist. Impossible begins with a version of the ballad, “Scarborough Fair,” which interested me immediately, since the lyrics are so … disturbing.
Impossible is full of telling, instead of showing, and in a few chapters, the narrative jumped heads so many times it made me dizzy. But once I got past the writing nit-picks and focused on the storyline, it held my attention. Lucinda (Lucy) Scarborough—a unique young girl who is comfortable enough in her own skin to wear sneakers with her prom dress—becomes impregnated when her prom date rapes her. Not just any ole’ prom date either, Gray Spencer has apparently been possessed by an evil elfin knight who has cursed the Scarborough women.
Through clues left by her completely insane mother, Lucy discovers that she must complete the three impossible tasks of the ballad before her baby is born. If not, she’ll lose her mind, just like all the other women in her line. Her foster parents and childhood friend, Zack, work against the clock to decipher the riddles and keep Lucy from going insane.
The book is rated grades 7-11. I might be old-fashioned, but I wouldn’t encourage a pre-high school teen to read stories of date rape, pregnancies and young marriages. I also found the dialogue to be a bit unbelievable for teenagers—having two of my own. The book did have many redeeming qualities though, like the blossoming relationship between Zack and Lucy, the belief and aid of her foster parents, and little diamonds of humor that broke up the intense moments.
Not great, but not bad either.