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The Impossible Vastness of Us Kindle Edition
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|Length: 368 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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|Age Level: 12 - 11|
|Grade Level: 9 - 12|
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The Impossible Vastness of Us is a wide-reaching, hard-hitting Young Adult novel that bravely takes on varying painful topics. It’s moving and powerful and simply told. One that hurts to experience, but the kind that mends your soul in a very romantic, but tough-love kind of way. That feeling will continue to resonate long after the book has closed.
From self-esteem issues to the intricacies of status and the teenage ego, this novel traverses much without feeling overwhelming or shallow on the issues at hand. I’ve yet to read a YA novel like this with such closely-knitted female characters fighting the odds against them in becoming more than what is expected of them as ‘rivals’ or non-equals. Young easily crafted an entire cast of characters who all played their parts perfectly. I usually love novels for their love stories, but I have to say that while I loved the love story here, I fell harder for the bond of family, blood or not, that radiated from this story. Each character brought such depth and vividness to this story, a kind of 3-D nature to it, that it was a joy to experience every aspect of it.
It’s easy to connect with a character like India, even if your experiences were nothing like hers. Young made her tough, but likable, a harda**, but a joyful smarta**. She wasn’t a typical YA heroine; her compassion and inherent need for justice never wavered, instead consistently proving her selflessness and rationality even in moments where it benefited her in the least. There’s something powerfully magnetic about that, something we can admire. What made her an outsider radiated strength instead of weakness, and those like Finn and Eloise were drawn to that.
I originally fell for Young with her earlier YA series and have been hoping she’d venture back to the genre one day; I can tell you it came with the perfect story. A beautiful cover that matches the story within, one overflowing with the beauty of love, family, and, most of all, friendship, The Impossible Vastness of Us was a poignantly moving and compassionate tale of acceptance, hope, and self-love. Love comes in many forms as does what one can take away from this novel. I could’ve kept going and I do hope there comes a day when we meet these characters again.
The Impossible Vastness of Us was a very fresh story to me. I’ve never read anything quite like it and I am finding in difficult to properly describe the what the experience of reading it was. I went into this book thinking it was going to be more sappy romance than substantial commentary on the ills of the world. My take away was completely opposite of what I had assumed and I am very happy about that. Samantha Young wrote a book about the struggles and rewards of discovering the parts of you that make you and individual, whether they’re something others understand and accept or not. Above the romance and finding love, The Impossible Vastness of Us was a story of learning to love yourself in spite of the things you may not find lovable.
There were moments in the book that veered into the monotonous, parts that seemed more like filler than plot development, but they were overshadowed by all of the intense emotions and horrors of the past that the characters experienced. The plot of The Impossible Vastness of Us was so unique, compared to other books I’ve read, that it was easy to overlook those moments that didn’t work for me in favor of the intrigue of the rest of the book. At one point in the book India says she used to need books to have a happy ending, but she’d come to a place where she just wanted them to have the right ending, to which her mother states that the right ending is a happy ending. That interaction perfectly sums up how I feel about this book.
When I first met the characters in this book I wasn’t sure which, if any of them, I would like or even identify with. By the halfway point, I was sure that a few of them were beyond redemption, even if they thought they were doing the only thing they could, given their circumstances. When I read the final line of The Impossible Vastness of Us, I realized how ridiculous my pre-conceived notions were and that even if the motivations of a person don’t make sense on the surface with time and explanation understanding was easy to come by. I fell in love with almost every character in the book and there were pieces of each of them that were things I could see within myself.
Though I’ve had several of Samantha Young’s books sitting on my shelves for years, this is the first book of hers that I’ve actually read. I was quite impressed with her writing and storytelling abilities. She wove a plot that was interesting and felt real, while still remaining relevant to the particular circumstances each of the major players were facing. I also greatly enjoyed her characterizations and will definitely be adding more of her books to my short list.
I have known plenty of Americans, but this premise that you cannot date someone because of their last name. . . Or you must date them because of their illustrious last name. . . Nope. Maybe in England, where the author is from, parents make up class-specific rules like that (careful, that limits the gene pool). In the U.S., parents tie up the inheritance in a trust fund and then whatever happens, happens, as far as who the kids marry, but the money's safe.
Nice details on high school rowing. Pretty accurate! As for photography dark rooms, that's quaint -- the kids use digital pictures for the school newspapers, now (for ten years).
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