Book: All the Impossible Things (2019)
Author: Lindsay Lackey
Genre: MG, Magical Realism
Basic plot: Red is a foster kid who’s been in and out of foster days. And her newest placement, with a family who owns a petting zoo of sorts, is just going to be temporary. That’s because Red’s mom will be released from prison, and she promised to stay off those white pills. But then Red meets a the tortoise named Tuck and she starts to fall in love with her new foster home. So, what can she do when she learns that her mom is getting out on good behaviour?
1) I felt the emotional struggle of poor Red through the ups and downs of being a foster kid. The magical realism kicks in with the fact that her emotions are somehow connected to wind. Red’s mood can cause horrible storms. It’s a neat little twist on a term called pathetic fallacy. (I love that term!)
2) How great are Jackson and Celine! They’re the foster parents. At first, Red isn’t sure about them, but through the book, we see her becoming more and more comfortable around this couple. I love how they interact with Red, especially when they see her connection to their tortoise, Tuck! (All the animals on the farm have great bookish names… like Frodo and Gandalf and Bronte!)
3) And then, there’s Marvin. Love this kid! He instantly reaches out to Red and accepts her, even when she’s a little too quiet. I like how he works with her to get the video production to help at the end. And the Hawaii connection is interesting.
4) Even though Gamma (Red’s grandmother) is no longer alive in the book, we get little flashbacks to when she cared for Red. She’s the one who gets Red to write in a notebook about all the impossible things. Because a thing is only impossible until it is done. I love her wisdom and her love. And I like how the impossible things permeates throughout the narrative.
5) The scenes with Red’s mom were painful, but I liked the realism there. She really struggles with being a mom. And I like how Lindsay Lackey shows how complicated life can be.
6) The cover is beautiful!
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) I mentioned earlier that there’s a scene where Marvin is helping Red with producing a video. Right at the end (Spoiler!) he loses the footage. “Sorry, Red!” This scene is almost an afterthought, a throwaway. As somebody who does work with video, I’m not even sure how he lost the edit. Did he just erase the original videos… ALL of them? That’s pretty hard to do unless your drive fails or something. In any case, the part of the story felt like a cheap way out for the author. I would rather have seen this actually play out in real time with Marvin and Red reacting to what is happening… and not simply as a report from Marvin. (End Spoiler)
Loved this book! It’s really a contemporary novel with elements of magical realism. I would recommend it for readers who loved The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday…