BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt

Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life“Look at us. A family of four. Seated around the dinner table,” 16-year-old Simone observes. “We do this every night. … Aren’t we the perfect family?” But among this handsome foursome of civil rights lawyer mother, cartoonist father, older daughter, younger son, one of them is most definitely not like the others.

“Now look more closely,” Simone warns. “[L]ook at the older sister. I have olive skin and almond eyes. … I can fold my tongue into the shape of a U. Did you know that the ability to do that is hereditary? No one else in my family can do that.” By the second page, you’ll realize that Simone is adopted and that, most unexpectedly, her birthmother has called: “‘She wants to meet you.'”

Simone is a high school junior, still best friends (since birth) with Cleo. She’s had the same close set of friends for years. Her adorable younger brother has moved up to the high school and seems to be doing better than fine fitting in. She has never had a boyfriend, but she might be feeling her very first real crush. Not that she’s ever had a defined faith, but as part of the Atheist Student Alliance, she’s not labeling herself in any way.

And she adamantly refuses to call Rivka … until she doesn’t. What she learns about her birthmother and her extended birthfamily will change her life forever – how could it not? – but surely in unexpected, unique, ‘oh-wouldn’t-have-guessed-that’-ways. Be assured: Dana Reinhardt‘s first novel (what an impressive debut; she’s written six more titles since!) is not your typical adoption story. Be ready: keep those tissues in reach – you’ll thank me by book’s end.

One minor warning: if you choose to go audible, 99% of the time, narrator Mandy Siegfried knows exactly how to be a teenager – you can practically hear the arched eyebrow, the rolling eyeballs. She falters with a single word – gratingly repeated almost a dozen times – when Simone is at her favorite Boston restaurant. Wouldn’t you think every know-it-all teenager could correctly pronounce the name of her eatery of choice?! No, it’s not ‘faux’ … which is what makes this phrase so funny (and tasty): What the Phở! Amazing the power of a single word, ahem!

Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult

Published: 2006


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