Book Review, Young Adult

Book Review: Impossible by Nancy Werlin

Lucy has nine months to break an ancient curse in order to save both herself and her unborn daughter. 
Inspired by the ballad “Scarborough Fair,” this riveting novel combines suspense, fantasy, and romance for an intensely page-turning and masterfully original tale. 
Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or to fall into madness upon their child’s birth. But Lucy is the first girl who won’t be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents and her childhood friend Zach beside her. Do they have love and strength enough to overcome an age-old evil? (From Goodreads.com)
I signed up to receive this book as part of International Book Tours because it sounded interesting. I probably should have taken a closer look at it and done a little investigating first, because the truth is if I had, then I probably wouldn’t have joined this particular tour.
Lucy has been brought up by loving foster parents after her biological mother gave birth to her very young and then proceeded to go insane. But having been brought up so well by her foster parents, Lucy’s future is bright. Until she is raped on the night of her prom and discovers she is pregnant. Not only that, but it appears an evil Elfin Knight is responsible, and like many Scarborough women before her, to break the curse Lucy must complete three seemingly impossible tasks. If she fails, then she faces the same fate as her mother and the curse will be passed down to her unborn child.
The problem I have is that I’m uncomfortable with such a serious sexual assault being used the way it is in this novel. It’s not because I don’t feel it’s an appropriate subject for a young adult novel, if it is done sensitively. I just didn’t feel it was at all necessary in this book. The assault itself is only really hinted at thankfully, and isn’t graphic or particularly violent. What I really hated was how it somehow made the whole thing sound some how romantic. Lucy seems largely unaffected by it, determined to have the baby, is lucky enough to have another handsome love interest prepared to rescue her, an evil but beautiful knight, ancient curses. It just seemed very distasteful to me, and an insult to women who have suffered the brutal reality of rape.
This happens quite early on, and I was prepared to find it a real struggle from then on in, but was actually surprised to find the rest of the book a compelling and intriguing tale. The whole story is set around the old folk song ‘Scarborough Fair’, adapted by the author to fit the story. I loved the old folklore and mythology that sprung up. It’s sufficiently creepy and mysterious to ensure that I kept turning the pages and wanted to know how it all ends, and I really enjoyed the research and efforts that went into each task to be completed. I also really did like the romance between Zach and Lucy, despite the criticisms I made in the previous chapter. By the end I was on the edge of my seat, routing for them both against the evil Elfin Knight and didn’t want to stop reading.
So, I have a very conflicting opinion of this book. I found the assault and the reactions to it somewhat distasteful and really do wish Nancy Werlin had chosen a different way to carry the curse. It didn’t seem necessary and left me feeling uncomfortable. On the other hand, I can absolutely see that Werlin is a compelling writer who can weave an ancient and mysterious tale into the present, create a passionate and believable romance and produce a gripping and magical story. Perhaps others won’t feel as sensitive about the issues I raise, judging by ratings given on goodreads.com it certainly seems one that people either love or hate and provokes extreme reactions. Personally the discomfort I felt was too much and completely tainted the book for me.
You can check out what other reviewers on this tour think about Impossible by clicking here.

Thanks to International Book Tours for organising the tour and allowing me to take part. 

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Impossible by Nancy Werlin”

  1. Hey Rhiana, I have this book to read next. I'm so grateful for your review, because you actually give readers a taste of what they will encounter. I know there's a rape in the story, but I'm glad you mentioned it anyway, otherwise that would have been a major shocker. I totally understand what you're saying, too, about liking the story but not finding a particular part to be necessary. I feel that way too a lot, so I can definitely relate. You articulate your thoughts very well, and it's always fun to read what you have to say!
    :DD

    Like

  2. You bring up an excellent point in your review of this book, and while I do not see how Werlin could have achieved the underlying problem in the story without the rape, it is does stand to reason that it is something to be concerned about. I did find the rest of the story amazing but I am sure that this is a book to recommend to younger YA audiences.

    Like

  3. I remember going into this book knowing that some readers had a hard time accepting the assault as well. I don't recall my reaction completely, but I know that it didn't ruin the experience of reading the book for me. I should go back and reread it and see how I feel now. The rest of the story, though (the writing, the plot, the romance, the use of the song), is so beautiful and magical. Impossible was one of my favorite YA reads last year. I can't wait to read Extraordinary!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s