10 June, 2014

Book Review: Six Impossible Things

From Goodreads: Fourteen-year-old nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving house, new school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on the girl next door.
His life is a mess, but for now he's narrowed it down to just six impossible things...

Thoughts: So apparently I read this for the 2011 Children's Book Council Short list for Older Readers and liked it enough to say it should be an honour book. That may go some way to explaining why it sounded kinda familiar! However, I'd forgotten enough to think I'd read the start and not finished or something. Bizarre given that I really quite enjoyed it.
I decided to read it after reading Wildlife for this years short list. The books are linked, but interestingly, by a secondary character in this. Lou does play a larger part in  Wildlife, but both books stand well on their own. Having read this, I now want to go back and check a few things in Wildlife.
I like Dan, the main character in this. He's aware of his faults, but like many teenagers, seems unable to get out of his own way. He bumbles along, thinking it's all up to him without realising there are plenty of people willing to help. I love his mum who keeps talking brides - who come to discuss wedding cakes -  out of  getting married and thus not helping matter at all! 
I do however, have two issues with the book. The first has to do with the age of the characters. The way they behave, their conversations and maturity level I struggle to believe. In truth, they would only have to be 12 months older to make it easier to believe, but Dan is only 14 and while circumstances have forced him to grow up and quickly, I still have a hard time believing he is only 14. My other issue is the neat tidy ending. Without giving anything away, too many issues such as impending poverty and a huge betrayal of trust are resolved way to easily. I most probably could have dealt with one and the hint of the other sorting itself out, but both together just didn't gel for me. Don't let that put you off, though, both books are well worth reading.