Title: All That Impossible Space
Author: Anna Morgan
Genre: Young Adult: Contemporary
Format: Paperback ARC
Publication Date: June 25th 2019
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Amelia Westlake meets My Favorite Murder in this debut from a terrific new voice in Australian YA. Combines a realistic story about high school drama and toxic friendship with true crime – the endlessly fascinating Somerton Man or Taman Shud mystery.
15-year-old Lara Laylor feels like supporting character in her own life. She’s Ashley’s best friend, she’s Hannah’s sister-she’s never just Lara.
When new history teacher Mr. Grant gives her an unusual assignment: investigating the mystery of the Somerton Man. Found dead in on an Adelaide beach in 1948, a half-smoked cigarette still in his mouth and the labels cut out of his clothes, the Somerton Man has intrigued people for years. Was he a spy? A criminal? Year 10 has plenty of mysteries of its own: boys, drama queen friends, and enigmatic new students. When they seem just as unsolvable as a 60-year-old cold case, Lara finds herself spending more and more time on the assignment. But Mr Grant himself may be the biggest mystery of all…
Interspersed with fictionalised snapshots of the Somerton Man investigation, ALL THAT IMPOSSIBLE SPACE is a coming of age novel exploring toxic friendships and the balance of power between teacher and student, perfect for fans of Cath Crowley and Fiona Wood.
I received this ARC from Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I didn’t know what to expect when I started this, but I can definitely say that it hooked me. I was interested in the Somerton Man mystery, and even though growing up in Australia, I was never made aware that that mystery existed. It’s an unsolved case and it’s rather interesting. I’m actually interested in more unsolved cases now because of this book, so I may read more books like this or read up on some unsolved cases.
I actually don’t know what made me love this book. But I know I really liked the discussion on toxic friendships. Ash and Lara have been best friends ever since Ash helped Lara with her first asthma attack, but she’s a tad bit controlling. I think, in a way, I could relate to Lara, how she felt she had to stay friends and defend Ash because she was a friend from primary school (elementary for my international readers). Lara grows a lot as a characters. She starts as someone who’s timid and will do whatever Ash says, and she changes in the end, making her own decisions. There’s also discussion about power dynamic (I think that’s what you call it) between teacher and student, which I thought was another important topic to discuss.
The one thing I don’t like about this was how unrealistic the ending was. I don’t know, but like my parents would never allow me to do what Lara did at the end. And the pacing was a little slow, but overall the book was good and intriguing and I think it’s worth a read. I read it in a dayish and I’m honestly surprised with how much I enjoyed it. I think that if you’re in a slump, this book would help you get out of it solely because it’s interesting and fast paced.
Title: I Wish You All The Best
Author: Mason Deaver
Genre: Young Adult: Contemporary
Publication Date: May 14th 2019
My Rating: 4/5 stars
When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.
But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.
At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.
I absolutely adored this book. It’s so sweet and heart-warming and cute, yet heartbreaking at the same time, whilst delving into such important topics for non-binary people, especially teens.
Ben, is a non-binary character who faces many hardships especially with their coming out to their parents. They all suffer from anxiety, which I felt was portrayed realistically. Their whole life is uprooted, and essentially this book is about them trying to get back onto their feet. Nathan is honestly the sweetest, most caring people ever. He’s funny and thoughtful and genuine and I loved the friendship between Ben and Nathan. Honestly, I loved all the people that Ben met, they were all kind and supportive and reminded me of my own friends. This book is basically filled with LGBTQIA+ diversity and has mental health rep and exploration. I also liked how we got to see therapy sessions Ben had because it shows that therapy isn’t terrible and is actually vital for many people in getting better, mental health wise.
Honestly, this book is so so important to all everyone, and even more special and important to non-binary teens so that they know they’re not alone. This book, whilst beautiful and had it’s own plot, was also educational. It helped me to understand the non-binary spectrum a little better, and I hope that I won’t misgender someone and hurt them, like Ben felt.
All the love to I Wish You All The Best and all the love to Ben and Nathan, especially Ben, because they deserve a big warm hug and sheltered from the cruel outside world. So yeah, if it wasn’t already clear, I HIGHLY recommend you read this one because it tackles an important topic, the non-binary spectrum of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Will you be reading any of these books? I highly recommend I Wish You All The Best, it’s definitely a must read! If you’ve read it, I’d love to know what you thought of it.