Title: Impossible
Author: Nancy Werlin
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (August 11, 2009)
Bought at Target
Author website:

Impossible is sort of cutting the line, to get reviewed today, but I’m just so excited about it, I couldn’t wait to share.  I read this over the Labor Day weekend, almost in one sitting.  This book is just SO GOOD.  

By the way, isn’t that a great cover?  It’s the whole reason I picked it up!

I have long enjoyed books that take an old folk story, fairy tale or such things and used them to create a new story.  Impossible does this with a classic folk ballad called “Scarborough Fair.”  Older readers may recognize the title because Simon and Garfunkle recorded a version of the song.  I had never heard of it.  I’m not going to go into the substantial history of the song, even though it is fascinating.  If you would like to know more, Wikipedia has an article dedicated to the song which includes links to different recordings of the many different versions of the song.  

With “Scarborough Fair” laying the groundwork, Nancy Werlin has written an original and absolutely absorbing story about love, belief in yourself, belief in others, and finding the power to change your life.  Lucy Scarborough is just like any other 17-year-old girl.  She’s a good student.  She’s making plans for her future.  She has loving foster parents that she adores.  She’s going to the prom with her first real boyfriend.   The only problem she has is her insane mother and never knowing when she is going to turn up.  Until something possesses her boyfriend at the prom and leads him to rape her and then drive himself into the first tree he comes to afterwards.

Now Lucy learns there is a curse on her family. All the women are doomed to live 18 years of a normal, sane life.  Then each girl becomes pregnant (i.e. raped) and looses their hold on their minds once their daughter is born.  It is always at the age of 18, always a daughter, and always insanity afterwards.  Obviously there is a villain here worthy of the utmost hate. He sets three impossible tasks for these women to complete, the tasks in “Scarborough Fair,” if they hope to break the curse.  For hundreds of years, no Scarborough woman has been able to do it.  Until now.

This is an exceptional story.  The characters are well-drawn and nuanced.  Lucy is a great, strong, female character.  Werlin deals with rape, teen pregnancy and family madness with a strong, firm hand that is to be admired.  This is a very enjoyable, breath-taking read that will be impossible to put down.  Pun intended.

I definitely can’t wait to get my hands on more by Ms. Werlin.

Also by Nancy Werlin

Are You Alone on Purpose? | The Killer’s Cousin | Locked Inside  
Black Mirror | Double Helix | The Rules of Survival

Also reviewed by

 Reading Rants | The Compulsive Reader | The Book…Spot | And Another Book Read | Angieville Confessions of a Bibliovore | Flight into Fantasy | And many more….

14 thoughts on “Impossible

  1. I guess I'm an older reader because I remember that song well. I don't know any of the story behind the song, though, so I'd love to read the book!

  2. This one sounds good. You're right about the cover, it is wonderful. Scarborough Fair is a lovely song. The version I am familiar with is sung by Sarah Brightman and I find it very beautiful. The idea of wrapping a story around that song is very creative and certainly has me intrigued.

  3. Great review! I'm particularly happy to read this, since I have been hesitant to read the book and haven't seen that many reviews of it. Thanks!

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