Great Summer Read | The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman

Friday, August 21, 2020

 The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman

Swoon Reads
Publication Date: 7/31/18
Pages: 305
Source: BookExpo 2018

The last thing Elise wants is to start her senior year in a new town. But after her brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother move from San Francisco to a sleepy coastal village. When Elise meets Mati, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Mati is new to town too, visiting the U.S. with his family. Over the course of the summer, their relationship begins to blossom, and what starts out as a friendship becomes so much more. But as Elise and Mati grow closer, her family becomes more and more uncomfortable with their relationship, and their concerns all center on one fact—Mati is Afghan. Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and ultimately hopeful, THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US asks—how brave can you be when your relationship is questioned by everyone you love?

Elise is forced to move from her perfect apartment in the big city to a small, quaint beach town to help her sister-in-law raise her young child. Even after several years, the family still grieves over the loss of Elise’s brother who was killed in the war. When Elise meets handsome and sweet Mati, it certainly feels like love at first sight. However, Mati is visiting America from Afghanistan and others’ prejudices are set on tearing the pair apart. In The Impossibility of Us, Katy Upperman gives readers the perfect summer read.

Strong Beginning

  • The Impossibility of Us starts off with such a strong beginning that it is hard not to like everything that comes after it. However, as much as the beginning started strong, it was never fully explained why Mati went into the ocean. He simply shrugged it away and I don’t see that as a full answer. Upperman lost an opportunity to flesh Mati out even more right in the first few pages. Readers can infer tons of scenarios which may have been the author’s intention.

Writing Romance

  • Each chapter is either told from Mati or Elise’s perspective. The different point-of-views gives us a look inside each of their minds. Upperman, also, gives Mati’s perspective in verse and Elise’s in prose. This decision is incredibly interesting, making each voice distinct from the other. It takes some getting used to but the Mati chapters in verse are gorgeous and in not so many words, readers will fall in love with him. The steady rhythm of the verse gives an almost melodic tone to Mati which is emphasized through many of his actions.
  • The sexual tension between the two protagonists is so amazing that it's almost tangible. Katy Upperman is able to give us a romance that is as passionate as it is innocent. 
  • A lot of books set near the ocean side seem to always have such amazing descriptions. Upperman gives readers the sense they are really there, playing catch with Elise’s dog on the beach. It is so visual and endearing.

Wonderfully Diverse

  • This diverse novel taught me a few things about Islamic culture I didn't already know. Despite being a light-hearted romance, I still felt this story was an important one to tell. We definitely need more diverse light contemporaries. Upperman is a fantastic storyteller. Despite being a lighthearted romance, there are still some heavy themes the characters deal with like death and cancer. However, these themes aren't primarily at the forefront. The themes help each of the characters develop in different ways which is interesting to see. Most interesting is to see Elise’s family dynamic after her brother is killed in the war. The side characters will win your heart as easily as Elise and Mati does. 
  • As much as I wished Elise’s mother would look past her prejudices eventually, her character arc was the most believable but also a bit sad. Elise’s development is most pronounced at the end. She grows so much since page one that it is incredible to follow along on her journey. 
  • The ending was so miraculously heartwarming. Upperman leaves the fate of the romance up to the last second where others may find it a bit rushed, I found it sweet. It's such an amazing summer read! 
Overall, The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman is a great summer read that will have you falling in love with a fantastic diverse cast, gorgeous writing, and an amazing romance.

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