Book Review: The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman
I’d heard good things about this book, and The Summer of Impossible Things didn’t disappoint.
Luna has been seeing things, impossible things, for a while. She thinks she might be going mad, or perhaps have some physical issue like a brain tumour. When her mother, Marissa (Riss), passes away Luna does her best to ignore the strange episodes and instead she and her sister, Pia, travel to Brooklyn to sell their mother’s childhood home. Seeing the house, however, only makes the impossible things appear stronger until Luna is time travelling back to 1977.
Luna knows quite a bit about the summer of 1977. She knows Hollywood was filming Saturday Night Fever around her mother’s local neighbourhood. She knows her mother met and fell in love with her father while he was working as a photographer on the set. She knows Brooklyn residents were in a mild panic over the Son of Sam serial killer. She knows they were also in the middle of a heatwave that would cause a major power outage. But what she doesn’t know is that her mother became a victim of a horrific crime during that blackout.
Coleman reveals not only the details of the crime gradually, but its after effects. Everyone in Riss’s life — her sister, her father, her husband, her two daughters — suffers because of this one moment in time. Luna decides, therefore, she must save her family by travelling back to 1977 to change that moment by preventing the crime happening in the first place.
As writers of the time travel genre like to point out, there’s always a consequence to changing the past. Each time Luna returns to the present, she is met with the changes she’s made happen — some good, but some heartbreakingly sad. Coleman’s pacing and the placement of the sequences showing the repercussions of Luna’s ‘meddling’ was just right. I also loved the way the differences started small and grew more significant with each visit Luna made, building the tension beautifully.
I devoured this book, desperate to find out how things would turn out for Luna in the present day. And, although I did guess one outcome, the ending tied up all the threads to my satisfaction.
If I could change one thing about the book it would be to include more present day scenes featuring Michael, the man Luna finds herself falling for in 1977. I think his and Luna’s age difference etc, could have made interesting and (even more) teary reading. It’s not a big deal though and most people would probably say the romance was perfect as is.
I highly recommend this unexpectedly charming book.
5 out of 5