ARC Review: The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman


Title: The Impossibility of Us
Author: Katy Upperman
Publisher: SwoonReads
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 320 Pages
Publication Date: July 31st, 2018
Summary: 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?

My review for this book was originally published on TeenReads.com.

I received an advanced copy of this book from SwoonReads in exchange for an honest review, and I'm really glad that I did. The Impossibility of Us is a captivating, heart-wrenching story about falling for someone that you know your family doesn't approve of, but doing so anyway. This book also manages to tackle important topics such as hatred, prejudice, the armed forces, and Islamophobia. 

As the summary explains, Elise just moved to a sleepy coastal town with her mother, following in the footsteps of her sister-in-law, Audrey, and her niece, Janie. Audrey was married to Elise's brother, Nick, and then he was deployed and died in Afghanistan -- so, naturally, people that are Muslim are an off-limits topic in Elise's family. But then Elise meets Mati, an attractive, sweet, smart boy from Afghanistan, and she falls for him quicker than she ever could've imagined. The only problem? Neither of their families approve --- Elise's because they can't look past their bigotry and stop blaming Mati for what happened to Nick, and Mati's, because his mother believes that falling for Elise will taint every single one of Mati's beliefs. So it's definitely a super tricky situation. 

I really enjoyed reading this book. The romance that Mati and Elise shared was adorable and had me swooning from start to finish, especially in those little moments where they were just getting to know each other, or Mati was teaching Elise something about the culture in Afghanistan. They were super sweet together, and I shipped them from the very start. It was also really cool how the chapters in Mati's point of view were told in verse, while Elise's were told in prose. It gave an extra element of creativity to the story that held my interest, and it also highlighted the fact that Mati is such a beautiful writer.

Something else that I thought was really important in this book was how Katy Upperman addressed Islamophobia. Elise's mother and Audrey were not even willing to give Mati a chance, treating him like garbage and ultimately placing the blame on Mati and his family for the September 11th attacks in New York City (which I have lived through, having lived in NYC at the time, so that was particularly distressing to me to see that people still think this way about people who practice Islam), and also because Nick died in Afghanistan. There were also instances where members of the town would treat Mati differently or harass him because he was different, and that made me really sad to see. But what I liked most about Elise was the fact that she didn't let these prejudiced attitudes get to her, and instead she embraced Mati, wanted to learn more about his culture, and even told her mother and Audrey that if Nick were alive, he would be disgusted with the way they were treating him. It was really badass and brave, and I was cheering her on the whole time. 

The romance in this book also made me really happy, and there were several points where I squealed out loud or gasped or laughed. Mati and Elise were just so cute together that my heart couldn't take it. I also really liked Elise's friendship with Ryan, which developed over time, and the way he interacted with Mati as well. (I find it interesting how people my age aren't nearly as prejudiced and hateful towards people different than us, in the way the older generations are...hm.) 

(Spoilers in this paragraph! Skip to the next one!) The ending of the book made me smile as well, because although things were rocky between Mati and Elise, the way they found their way back to each other in the end was really cute. (But that plot twist that led to the big fight -- omg. I was not expecting that! I actually gasped out loud and couldn't believe it.)

Overall, I really enjoyed The Impossibility of Us. It was an adorable story about falling for a boy and realizing what love really is, while also having to deal with your respective families and addressing the prejudices that they have against one another. If you're looking for your next beach read that will grip you and have you flipping the pages quickly, laughing, crying, gasping and even swooning, then this is definitely the book for you!




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