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Impossible Paperback – August 11, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Impossible Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 9 Up—Werlin combines magic, romance, and a family curse in this 21st-century fairy tale based on the ballad "Scarborough Fair." On the night of her prom, Lucy, 17, is raped by her date and becomes pregnant. She decides to keep the child, and she is supported by her foster parents and Zach, her childhood friend whose love for Lucy changes from platonic to romantic as the story progresses. The teen discovers the curse on the women in her family when she reads her birth mother's diary. Lucy is destined for madness at 18 unless she can perform the three impossible tasks described in the song and break the curse of the Elfin Knight. She is determined to rid herself and her unborn child of the curse, and her family and Zach help her as she works to solve the riddles. This unique story flows smoothly and evenly, and the well-drawn characters and subtle hints of magic early on allow readers to enter willingly into the world of fantasy. As in The Rules of Survival (Dial, 2006), Werlin addresses tough topics. Rape, teen pregnancy, and family madness set the story in motion, but the strength of Lucy's character and the love of her family and friends allow her to deal with such difficult matters and take on the impossible. Teens, especially young women, will enjoy this romantic fairy tale with modern trappings.—Jennifer D. Montgomery, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Date rape, a pregnant teen, and a shotgun wedding (of sorts)—must be a YA problem novel circa 1985, right? Not really. From a hidden letter, 17-year-old Lucy Scarborough learns “all sorts of melodramatic, ridiculous, but true things” about the circumstances surrounding her rape on prom night, her subsequent pregnancy, and why therapy and her signature pragmatism won’t be much help against an ancient fairy’s curse. By the Edgar Award–winning novelist whose thrillers include The Rules of Survival (2006), this tale, inspired by the song “Scarborough Fair,” showcases the author’s finesse at melding genres. Although it’s perhaps overly rosy that Lucy’s devoted foster parents take the curse in stride, Werlin earns high marks for the tale’s graceful interplay between wild magic and contemporary reality—from the evil fairy lord disguised as a charismatic social worker to the main players’ skepticism as they attempt to solve the curse’s three archaic puzzles (“We’ve formed the Fellowship of the Ring when really we should’ve all just gone on medication”). Meantime, Lucy’s marriage to childhood pal Zach, a development unusual in YA fiction but convincing in context, underlies the catapulting suspense with a notion that will be deeply gratifying to many teens: no destiny is unalterable, especially not when faced with tender love magic, “weird and hilarious and sweeter than Lucy ever dreamed,” worked by truly mated souls. Grades 7-11. --Jennifer Mattson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: HL670L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (August 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142414913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142414910
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #708,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Monie Garcia VINE VOICE on August 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
For the past five generations the women in Lucy Scarborough's family have been cursed to give birth to a girl at 17-years old then fall into madness. One difference in Lucy's case is that she has her foster family and good friend Zach to protect her. When the inevitable pregnancy happens Lucy finds her birth mother's diary and learns the secrets to breaking the curse. Now Lucy has nine months to figure out and complete three tasks. Will she do it on time and save herself and her daughter or will she be doomed to follow the women in her family into insanity?
The target audience is ages 12 and up however I feel that some of the subject matter in the book would be unsuitable for children so young. Without revealing any spoilers the way Lucy becomes pregnant and the discussions of sex in the book seem more suited for someone at least 16 years or older.
I got through the book in one day however it seemed to drag on more than I expected. Lucy's character is well written but I just couldn't connect with the other characters surrounding her. The happily ever after ending was unbelievable and I feel that the completion of the three tasks could have been developed a whole lot more being that they were a major plot point in Lucy breaking free of the curse.
I'm not convinced that true fantasy readers will like this story. To me it was passable but I would have liked more fantasy elements to the story. The book is more romance or fiction addressing social issues than fantasy. If you're looking for a realistic fantasy with lots of magical elements then this book might not work for you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With such a haunting cover and a vague description on the book jacket, the reader who picks up this book has to take a leap of faith. The blurb mentions a song, a curse, something about mental illness, and not much more. You are left wondering if the book is worth unraveling such nonsense... and trust me it is! Impossible by Nancy Werlin is a haunting story full of love, pain, and supernatural mystery that will keep you turning the pages all night long.

Lucy Scarborough has been tormented by her mother's insanity for years. Lucy's foster parents, Soledad and Leo, take wonderful care of Lucy. In a way, they do for Lucy what they couldn't do for Lucy's mother, Miranda, when she came to them 17 and pregnant with no place to go. They took care of Miranda, but as soon as she gave birth to Lucy, she was lost in a world of her own madness. Lucy is so humiliated and saddened by her birth mother that she doesn't tell anyone her story, except Zach. Zach has stayed with her foster parents for years and is finally back on Christmas break from college. While Lucy has always trusted Zach with everything, she is starting to see him as more than just a family member.

When prom comes around, Zach helps convince the overprotective Soledad to let her go. Although he is jealous of the nerdy boy she is going with, he thinks it is important Lucy gets some normal fun in her life. Unfortunately, prom night is anything but normal or fun. After the dance, Lucy follows her date back into the ballroom where he forgot something. In the ballroom, he admits he didn't forget anything, but just wanted some time with her. Then he proceeds to rape her. Lucy tries to stop him, but something happens to his face as he hurts her- it seems to shift as though someone else is inside his body.
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Format: Paperback
This book is just not good. The characters are totally wooden, for one thing: A challenge comes up and they sit down and talk about it without actually dealing with the fact that it's completely insane. Nobody has a problem, nobody screws up, nobody yells; it's like watching an informational video on How To Deal With An Ancient Curse. This is particularly awful when you realize that the nature of the curse is that a supernatural being has been raping and enslaving every single generation of this family for the last umpteen years - yet Lucy, our heroine, and everyone else in this godforsaken book, just go on with their lives, ho-hum. "Oh, I guess we need to do this impossible task," one of them will say, and then they do it, ho-hum. Even the villain is boring.

There are other problems; pacing is one of them. If the book was a movie, 65% of it would be in montage format: The heroine making a shirt! The heroine is working out! The heroine is getting ready for prom! (The other 35% would be awkward dialogue.) I think the book would probably have made an excellent novella, but instead it is many interminable pages long.

I would also point out the afterschool special that is the teenage pregnancy resulting from rape in this book as problematic. (It's a spoiler, but then again, it's also a trigger warning - so for those of you who need one, please take note. It's the premise on which the entire book is based, so it's not really a spoiler.) The heroine struggles a little bit with this one, but she's totally okay by the end of the book. In fact, I'm not sure we ever see how she deals with it.
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