Cover Image: The Summer of Impossibilities

The Summer of Impossibilities

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Member Reviews

A cute, quick summer read. I enjoyed the feeling of friendshp portrayed in this story, and the range of female characters was a nice change. Some nice LGBT representaton too. Some of the plot points were a little predictable, but it was a heartwarming story nonetheless.

Perfect for a summer holiday, for ages 14+.
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Every now and then authors get it into their heads to try and recreate the success of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. And then we get books like this one, of a group of vastly different girls thrown together by some circumstance. Each girl has some serious struggle she's dealing with in secret, a struggle that is threatening to overwhelm her. And its only through sharing and sisterhood that they can find their way out. So this all seems obvious and predictable. Even all the twists and turns, the way secrets come out and threatened to tear them apart. This is exactly what we expect from main stream fictions. There were some subtleties that I did like. I liked Scarlet's relationship as compare to her mothers and the abusive one. We see then how people get into unhealthy relationships, the things that drive one to stay in it. The comparison, though, lacked in finesse. Overall, I liked the plot and the characters more than I anticipated but this isn't one I'd turn to first.
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I have very mixed feelings about this one. Kind of, I wasn't the right reader, or maybe I read it at the wrong timing. Still, I enjoyed this book more than I was expecting. The premise of the book made me go for it, but after starting it, it felt like a NO for me. But after I finished it, I felt like it was worth it. One thing I highly appreciate about this book is the dynamic and character development. I liked how each of the characters was distinct their own way. The writing style was something entirely new to me and I liked it for that too. Overall, I think it is a good book to read on a hot summer day.
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This was a fun read all about sisterhood and camaraderie as four friends weather love and conflicts together in one turbulent summer. I enjoyed the diversity present, especially the neuro- and physical- diversity (we still don't see much of either in middle grade and YA books). A more relevant Traveling Pants type book.
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Four girls are forced to spend a summer with each other as their mothers are best friends from way back in their college days. A crisis is what brings them all together, but could the bonds of the mothers extend to the girls themselves?

Though I struggled getting started with this book as most of the characters seemed superficial and self involved to start, this book really grew on me and I ended up loving it! The relationships young women have with their friends and family are complex and at time heartbreaking. It was an interesting progression through the book to see how each girl was hiding a secret and each girl was afraid to trust the group; however they grew together to not only reveal the darkest parts of themselves to each other, but also leads to personal revelations. They learned how strong the bonds of friendship can be and the heartwarming true meaning of family.
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Reading this book felt like a warm hug. There was something so comforting and home-y about it. It’s a love letter to female friendship, and to growing up and growing into yourself. Loved the representation, loved the character growth, loved the summer-y lake house vibes
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5/5 stars

This book was just the joy I needed at exactly a terrible time. It has that essence of YA contemporary that I love so much, that bright joy and fun and dealing with hard topics but ultimately leaving you with hope.

It's a four-POV book, and at first it took a bit to figure out the particularities of each MC, especially with two of them being twins whose names start with the same letter — reading fast I had a hard time distinguishing between them. By maybe 15% of the way through, though, each POV was crystallized and that made it so pleasant to read and follow these journeys.

There was a lot of exploration of hard things in this book (bullying, pain, marital stress, etc), juxtaposed with fun moments like parties on the lake, so many descriptions of food and fun, and great friendship vibes.

Overall, would definitely recommend as I think it's a great book that touches on some hard things while remaining overall upbeat and positive, and is skillfully crafted what with those four distinct POVs.
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I've loved the other books by Rachael Allen in the past - I think she's a super underrated YA writer with a lot of quiet books that more people should read! I've always thought that she did a nice job of writing real teenagers.

This book, unfortunately, missed that element for me. This is definitely a story where an old person like myself needs to turn on their teen brain and see where they're coming from, so don't read this if you're finding yourself unable to do that. I still felt that a lot of their inner thoughts and feelings were a bit unrealistic for characters their age. 

I struggled to keep all of the characters straight, which is frustrating, because they're all honestly quite different from each other. I could tell you details about each of them and their defining characteristics, but their inner thoughts and POVs didn't distinguish enough from each other. I constantly forgot who I was reading about. Skyler and Scarlett are twins - Skyler is dealing with juvenile arthritis and struggles to tell her mom that the pain meds aren't working, while Scarlett is having issues with her "perfect" boyfriend and has had issues with self-harming in the past. Ellie is a biracial Muslim girl who loves tennis, has had issues with eating (borderline eating disorder), and has struggled with bullies and making friends. Amelia Grace loves going to church but is trying to reconcile her sexuality with her love of God, all while harboring a longtime crush on Scarlett. All of the girls are at the lake house for the summer because their moms were sorority sisters and needed to come together to help one of them. 

So, as you can tell, there was kind of a lot going on... while at the same time, the plot never really kicked into gear for me. They would try to go to a party, talk about some stuff, hang out with their moms... and that's about it. So much of the book was just their internal thoughts about each other and overall feelings, without moving toward anything interesting.

I really enjoyed the Carolina lake setting and would have been curious to read more summery vibes in this one, as we're heading into May and I love reading summertime books now. Allen did a good job of touching on all kinds of marginalizations and problems teens could have, but it was a lot to read without really making progress toward a cohesive story. I really needed this book because it was easy to crank through, but I didn't love it as much as I hoped!
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Don't you love summer books? The Summer of Impossibilities by Rachael Allen is a lovely book about summer, friendship, and learning to accept yourself for who you are.

It revolves around four main characters:

Skyler - she suffers from juvenile arthritis, and although she loves playing softball, it's incredibly painful to play. She doesn't want to disappoint her family by telling them her hands hurt.

Scarlett - Sky's twin sister, she's not sure about her boyfriend.

Amelia Grace - She's interested in girls and also likes church, but when her church finds out that she likes girls, doesn't want her to be a youth pastor anymore.

Ellie - She's been homeschooled for most of her life and has trouble making friends.

When Skyler and Scarlett's parents are having marriage troubles, the girl's parents take them to a lakeside cabin for the summer and the girls all share a cabin together. They follow in their mothers' footsteps by creating the Southern Belles Drinking Club - which doesn't necessarily involve drinking because Ellie is Moslem and doesn't drink. Together, they make a pact to do something impossible over the summer.

The growth and the friendship of these girls is sweet, and this makes a wonderful summer book. I only wish I had friendships like these. In the background of these girl's friendships, their parents are also dealing with things, and their difficulties bleed into the girl's lives--as they can in real life. I loved how the girls dealt with their family amidst their growing independence.

Although I enjoyed the book, my biggest problem was that sometimes I had difficulty distinguishing the voices of the various characters, especially at the beginning. I generally was able to tell the different characters apart mostly by what they were dealing with or by flipping back to see what name was at the chapter header, not by their different ways of speaking. But this is a minor issue.

I definitely think this is a fun book for teens to read this summer.
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Thank you Netgalley for this ARC of The Summer of Impossibilities by Rachael Allen.

Sisters Scarlett and Skyler are shocked to come home one day to find their mother throwing out all of their father's possessions.  He has been cheating on her, and she is taking her two girls to see her best and longest girlfriends in their summer home.  Scarlett and Skyler are now going to be spending all summer with their "Aunties" and their aunties own teen daughters.  Some of them know each other, some of them don't, but all of them are holding in secrets and looking for new friendships and romance.

Ok, this book covered a lot of totally legit teen issues.  Sexual orientation, romance, health, pain, sex, divorce, emotional abuse, friendship and a need to belong.  I appreciated all of that, this is a book that I think I would have really enjoyed as a teen.  

Having said that, I think it could have been better.  A lot of the plight's of the teens felt a bit unbelievable and contrived.  The secret club that they formed was silly, and even the in-fighting between the girls was OTT.  However, there was nothing overtly wrong with the story, in my opinion, but I think it could have gone deeper.
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An ideal YA book for a group of friends to read together. Four seemingly different girls grouped by their mothers must spend a summer in the same cabin. The chapters hop from girl to girl so there are no true secrets from the reader only from the characters. A coming of age story that will hit home with more then one kind of young woman due to the insight of multiple personalities and situations. Children ages 14 and up.
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I love summer. I love summer novels and this was one filled with friendships, falling in love and discovering yourself. This was amazing. the perfect summer novel.
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I truly enjoyed the way Allen explored the relationships between the four girls, and used them to pull out various aspects of each character. There were frustrating elements of each character, where you at times just wanted them to do the very obvious thing they needed to do - but that's OK! Sometimes life is like that, and the thing that you need to do is the hardest. I thought it was a cute premise and setting, and enjoyed spending time in the world Allen created.
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"I didn’t realise friendship could be a thing that makes you feel like you’ve been cracked wide open, but in the best possible way."

Perfect for fans of: The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and readers who love Kasie West and Morgan Matson

Review:

The overall execution of the story was really well done. When it comes to multiple POV’s, it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between the different voices but all of the four girls had distinct tones to their chapters and their own individual goals that they were trying to make a reality.

The Summer of Impossibilities highlights friendship in all its glory. From the quiet anxieties everyone faces when trying to make new friends (am I likeable? Should I be funnier? Why don’t they want to hang out with me? is it them – or me?) to the best part of having a friend group (spending time together making the ordinary feel extraordinary), Allen encompasses a lot of different dynamics and preconceived notions about what a friend should be like in this novel.

Though the tone of the book is light, the topics addressed are on the darker side of things. Amelia Grace deals with the fallout with her church after she has been outed as gay during a sermon, Ellie struggles with building friendships because she doesn’t know how to be herself around other people and feels the pressure to be the best she can be on the tennis court, Scarlett used to cut herself and is still recovering and Skyler is frightened to tell her parents that her juvenile arthritis has deteriorated. It’s a lot to tackle in one novel and while there were some parts of the individual’s stories that could have used more page time for the reader to empathise, it was also extremely refreshing to have their issues be part of their personality instead of taking over every single aspect of their lives. In the end, it’s the friendships these guys develop that help them find a way to cope with their problems and feel supported enough to make their voices heard.

The romantic relationships definitely take a back burner in this one, and while I understood that for the most part seeing as friendship was the focus, I would have wished for a bit more development when it came to romantic interests – there was a very caricature-y way both Scarlett’s boyfriend and Amelia Grace’s and Skyler’s summer flings were described. Despite that, the LGBT aspect kept me turning the pages to find out what happens between Amelia Grace and her long-term crush on one of the girls at the lake house.

Altogether, this was a cute and quick read, an homage to friendships and dreamy summers, perfect for everyone who needs a pick-me-up and some feel-good vibes to brighten their day!
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC.

I absolutely loved this book. It felt like a warm hug from start to finish. Books that truly get it right about female friendships are few and far between, but this is one of them. It was heartbreaking, empowering, angsty and inspiring all at once. Every single character was meaningful and well-developed. All I want to do now is hug every single one of my female friends and tell them I love them.
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Rating: 3.5 Stars

A family crisis brought these girls physically together, but their new found friendship will bind them for life.

This book follows four young women through a summer of great changes. When Scarlett and Skyler's mother discovers her husband's infidelity, she sends out an SOS to her sorority sisters, and they flee to their lake house. There, they reconvene with all the "aunts" and their daughters, Amelia Grace and Ellie. After finding documents belonging to the SBDC, the Southern Belles Drinking Club, the girls agree to trying to achieve one impossibility this summer.

Though they set out to accomplish something impossible, they ended up discovering so much about themselves and each other. The characters each had their own storyline, as well as their own set of issues, and I think because of that, there will be something most readers could relate to.

• Skyler is a "caretaker", whose softball dreams have been sidelined due to juvenile arthritis.

• Scarlett is short tempered, prone to self harm, and struggling with the decision to get more physical with her boyfriend.

• Amelia Grace accidentally came out at a church event. She wants to earn back her position as junior youth minister, but is not sure she wants to sacrifice or hide parts of herself to get it.

• Ellie is a biracial muslim tennis ace, who struggled with body image, identity, and loneliness.

I enjoyed getting to know all four of these young women, and was rooting for them as they grew and changed and discovered so much over the course of the summer. I was definitely feeling some Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants vibes, as there were four women, experiencing life, love, and friendship in the summertime, but that's where it ended.

There were a few things I especially loved:

• The focus on female friendships. I didn't only get to enjoy the friendship that formed between the four main characters, but also was treated to the lifelong friendship their mother's shared. And, it didn't stop there. Allen included some examples of healthy and unhealthy friendships, too, which I always love seeing in juxtaposition.

• The relationship between the twins, Scarlett and Skyler, was far from perfect. Each held some misconceptions about the other, but even as they harbored some ill will for the other, they still took care of one another. There were some really lovely and tender moments shared between them, which warmed my heart, and reminded me of how special a sister's love could be.

• So. Much. Growth. I mentioned it before, but it wasn't only the younger generation that was growing and changing. Allen had the mother's evolving a bit too, and there was one storyline in particular that I really loved.

Overall: It started as the summer of impossibilities, but turned into a summer of friendship, change, and endless possibilities.
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From 11 yo: This book is YA but I definitely felt this book is for the older children in that bracket. It contained a lot of adult concepts and language a good dose of sex.
This story is about 4 girls who have to spend the summer together at a lake house. They soon find the remains of a secret club that was there so they decide to remake it. An unlikely friendship comes between the girls and after lots of ups and downs, anger and happiness, they all bond for life.

I thought this book was interesting and explore friendship. I loved the character of Ames (Amelia Grace) the most because of her personality and how much she loves Scarlet. I also like how she disagrees with some aspects of religion even if she is extremely religious. I think each character had some good and bad traits that make them feel human.
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The four females in this book had good story lines which were well laid out. The story was ok but I didn't feel like anything really happened. I didn't get caught up in any of the stories. It was almost like emotion was taken out of the characters voices. I found it a bland read which was very disappointing because I was excited to read about summertime friends.
The lack of males (except as a prop) was discouraging. Men / boys can be wonderful support, role models, and cheer leaders. I didn't like the way they were portrayed.
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I really enjoyed this book and thought the writing style was fantastic. The characters were very three dimensional and I really enjoyed my reading experience.
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This story told in the voices of four teen girls explores the trials of finding your identity in the face of shifting family dynamics, questions of social and sexual identity, and discovering one's own integrity.  As an adult reader, I was able to feel both the parental and adolescent angst, but this book is approachable for readers on both sides of forty.    The characters in this book are believable and likable, even in their flaws.  The challenges are true to contemporary experience and push the reader to understand what it would be to be "other" in some way.
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