STARRED REVIEW
August 11, 2015

Big changes keep on coming

By Fiona Wood
Review by

Dan Cereill (say “surreal,” not “cereal”) was OK with being an outsider—one best friend and two parents ought to be enough for anyone, right? But when his father comes out as gay and leaves Dan and his mother penniless, starting over in a new home and new school is too much, too soon. His crush on new neighbor Estelle is just one more of the Six Impossible Things he has to face before life begins to even out.

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Dan Cereill (say “surreal,” not “cereal”) was OK with being an outsider—one best friend and two parents ought to be enough for anyone, right? But when his father comes out as gay and leaves Dan and his mother penniless, starting over in a new home and new school is too much, too soon. His crush on new neighbor Estelle is just one more of the Six Impossible Things he has to face before life begins to even out.

Author Fiona Wood (Wildlife) infuses a story full of serious themes with great humor. Dan’s mother opens a boutique wedding cake business but chases away her clients by persuading them not to get married. Dan is equal parts bully magnet and adorable charmer, an easy guy to root for even when he’s messing up (which happens often). His crush feels like “someone has changed my default setting to ‘Estelle’ without my permission, or she’s become my brain’s screen saver.” If you are, or ever were, a teenager, you can likely relate.

The numerous secondary characters and finely detailed suburban neighborhood outside Sydney, Australia, feel true to life, and Dan’s struggle to accept his dad’s new life and the changes to his own is bittersweet. Six Impossible Things manages the near-impossible on its own, balancing insight and rollicking entertainment.

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