Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood

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 Estelle, the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he's narrowed it down to just six impossible things...

Just when I thought the Aussie YA scene couldn't get any hotter right now... along comes Fiona Wood's Six Impossible Things.

I couldn't put this book down.

And then, when I finished, I immediately wanted to go back to the beginning and read it all again from that start. (I settled for another hour of flicking through and re-reading classic moments and favourite lines)

There is so much to love about this book it's hard to know where to begin.

Dan is completely lovable, funny and cute in such an unassuming way. His narration of the many tragic events unfolding  in his life is teen angst with the most grin-worthy one-liners. He is sweet and hopeful and crushing hard on the unattainable girl next door (Estelle).

And the Girl Next Door is ever so funky and cool and smart in that way that you just want to hang out with her in the hope that some of her coolness rubs off. 

The cast in this book were all fleshed out in such an achingly real way. Not only did I fall in love with Dan but I related to his Mum and I love how underneath all the charm and fun in this book, there's a lot of stuff readers can relate to: parent's separating/divorce, financial difficulty, depression, parent's mid-life crisis, wanting to be cool and accepted, getting your first job, wanting to get the unattainable girl and striving to be a better person but always seeming to fall short.

I have to mention: I loved how Dan's attic was connected to Estelle's which led to some sneaky creeping around between the houses. Such an awesome set up.

Six Impossible Things also has such a beautiful and whimsical prologue which I read twice before turning  to the opening :)

six things about six impossible things:

1. It's funny. Brilliant one-liners, dialogue that just kills you with it's goodness, and the situations Dan finds himself in will have you grinning.
2. Dan - one of the best male POV's. Charming and smart and oh-so-funny and he transforms so awesomely from a slightly awkward geek to a cool confident guy.
3. Secret girls stuff. I loved Estelle and how the girl group hung out - it all felt so teenagery and fresh and had me feeling quite nostalgic. I loved Estelle's Diary which so reminded me of my own teenage diary :)
4. The adult cast - completely shone, even those in minor roles. I wish every YA book would strive to put in adult charatcers who are so multi-dimensional and relatable. I also love the plot lines and story arcs for the minor characters.
5. The little quirky details and how it all comes together in a climax that made my heart swell with happiness. Also you never quite know just how the story is going to end.
6.  It's one of the best books I've read - right up there with Graffiti Moon and Raw Blue and Beatle Meets Destiny and Jaclyn Moriarty's work.

Recommended: I find it so hard to review books that completely floor me with it's brilliance - really, what I want to say is: I love this book so hard and think it's truly perfect for teens (guys and girls) and also for adult readers who will find a lot to love about Dan and his experiences. 5 Stars

And: I read in an interview that Dan Cereill is an anagram of Cinderella. I know, very cool!

Fiona Wood is a popular scriptwriter and has worked for many popular shows including Neighbours, Home & Away, The Secret Life of Us, Always greener and more. She also works as a story consultant: "That’s where you sit around a table talking through everything from story ideas to what brand of jeans a character might wear." (what a cool sounding job) Fiona is currently working on her second YA book (already can't wait!) 

Fiona Wood's Website
Fiona Wood on Six Impossible Things
Six Impossible Things on goodreads

Thank you to Fiona Wood and Pan Macmillan for sending me this review copy


  1. I WISH this book was in the US!! I've heard so many great things about it. Great review-I especially like the list :)

  2. i hope it gets released in the US too - it would do fantastically over there :)

  3. Ohh - this sounds really good. I love Neighbours :) I hope this book comes out in the UK (fingers crossed)

    I also think it's cool that they can sneak around in a shared attic. And that Cinderella anagram is awesome.

    great review

  4. Oh Nomes, I swear you go through books faster than a box of condoms on a two bit hooker. :-) Wish I could keep up with you. :-)


  5. @ Danielle: Neighbours is big in the UK, hey. The attic thing was very very cool. I wish I lived in a house like that (ajoining my crush, haha) when I was a teen :)

    @ Mel: hahahahaha. i burst out laughing at this. You're such a classic, Mel! This one I read in one lovely lovely Saturday afternoon - when your girls are bigger you'll be able to spend Saturday afternoons chilling out too :)

  6. Absolutely brilliant review! I am ordering this right now.

    (I've seen it around and thought it looked intriguing)

  7. The book sounds awesome! Thanks for the review! Unfortunately its not available in my country but I think I am going to order it online.

  8. The whole time I was reading this I was thinking about your reviews of Graffiti Moon, and Beatle Meets Destiny, which I bought because of your great review. Now I am certain that this is another must have book (after Graffiti Moon, and Raw Blue)

  9. @ Heidi - you will love it :)

    @ misha - aww, hope you can find it online

    and Jan - yes - you will love this book (and the others you listed - so stoked you remember all my favourite books!) it really makes other YA stuff pale in comparison

  10. Sounds great! I'll probably pick it up once my HSC's done :)

  11. Great review, I really like the sound of this book. The attics being linked reminds me of CS Lewis: The Magician's Nephew, and I always loved that idea. I will look out for this book.


Thanks for the commenty love :)