I was incredibly lucky earlier this year to meet Rowan Coleman as I chaired a panel she was on, along with Julie Cohen and Lisa Jewell, discussing their newest releases. It did dissolve quite quickly into me fangirling in their general direction, but I think it was at least relatively coherent. For Rowan, we were there to discuss her 2017 release, The Summer of Impossible Things.
A protagonist who is a physicist and a woman? Seizures that might actually be time travel? I couldn’t shout sign me up quicker, could I?
When Luna and her sister Pia visit New York to settle the estate of their recently deceased mother, strange seizure-like episodes begin to happen to her. But she doesn’t black out; Luna keeps finding herself in New York in the summer of 1977 – the season that changed her mother’s life forever. Realising that she has the power to impact her future, Luna realises she could change the past and save their mother from dying from suicide.
I was immediately hooked by this stunning novel. Luna and her mission are both so easy to get behind, and Coleman sews the landscape of 1977 New York as vividly as though she’d just walked through there herself.
Lovely Penguin have helpfully supplied an extract here – you must check this out.
The Summer of Impossible Things, like Hold Back the Stars and Of Things Gone Astray, is one of those high concept fiction novels that I keep pushing on young adult fiction readers. Both contain great stories, believable romances, characters you get behind and a quick pace to the writing that seems to be a hallmark of the YA genre.
The novel is so beautiful, an impassioned tale of determination and redemption, in which Luna tries to solve the mystery of what changed her mother that summer and who is responsible. It kept me guessing throughout, while also feeling a sweet heartache at the scenes of her parents falling in love. I truly loved The Summer of Impossible Things so much that I know it is a book I’ll revisit in the future (a rare behaviour for me!)
What to read next:
Thank you kindly to Ebury Press for sharing this copy with me and Hillingdon Libraries Events team for giving me the opportunity to chair this lovely panel.