Friday, August 3, 2018

"The Impossibility of Us" by Katy Upperman

The Impossibility of Us
by Katy Upperman

The Impossibility of Us  by Katy Upperman

The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

The last thing Elise wants is to start her senior year in a new town. But after her brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother move from San Francisco to a sleepy coastal village.
When Elise meets Mati, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Mati is new to town too, visiting the U.S. with his family. Over the course of the summer, their relationship begins to blossom, and what starts out as a friendship becomes so much more.
But as Elise and Mati grow closer, her family becomes more and more uncomfortable with their relationship, and their concerns all center on one fact - Mati is Afghan.
Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and ultimately hopeful, The Impossibility of Us asks - how brave can you be when your relationship is questioned by everyone you love?

I lower my camera, letting it hang from the woven strap around my neck. Absently, I toss Bambi’s tennis ball, not so far this time, because I’m watching a tall figure move down the beach. He’s a ways south, but I can tell he’s somewhere near my age—a small miracle in this town.
He’s wearing dark track pants and a hooded sweatshirt, and his hair’s black, standing out in sharp contrast to the pale sand.
He strides into the surf, fully clothed.
The air is cool and crisp, and the ocean is frigid. He’s up to his knees when a white-capped wave breaks hard against his middle, driving him back a few steps. I expect him to wade out, back to the beach, but he presses forward, undeterred, immersing his lower half completely. He uses his hands against the surging breakers like he thinks he can control them, like he’s unaware of the water’s absolute power.
I’m no fearmonger—that’s more in keeping with my mom’s personality—but the Pacific’s scary along this strip of the coast. I’ve seen surfers in dry suits, but unless you’ve got a board, this isn’t a swimming beach. Thanks to the California Current, the water’s bitter cold and the undertows are unreal. There are sharks, too. Big ones, which normally feed on harbor seals and sea lions, but are probably ravenous for breakfast at the moment and would likely settle for a nice big bite of boy.
“Hey!” I call as he moves farther into the swells. Stupid, because there’s no way he can hear me over the wind and the waves.
What he’s doing . . . It’s so unsafe.
Without a second thought, I take off in his direction, clutching my camera so it doesn’t knock against my chest. Bambi chases me, nipping at my heels.
He’s up to his shoulders when I reach the dragging footsteps he left in the sand. I watch him jump as waves distend, then advance beyond him in a race for the beach. His head bobs the way Bambi’s ball does after landing in the surf. If he goes any deeper, he could be sucked out to sea.
“Hey!” I scream again, waving my arms.
He doesn’t hear me, or doesn’t want to, because he pushes off and paddles farther out.
He’s an adrenaline-seeking dumbass, or he’s suicidal. I keep my eyes on his dark hair and peel off my sweatshirt, trying not to strangle myself with my camera’s strap in the process. I toss it into the sand and take half a second to wrap my Nikon in its fabric, praying my beloved camera doesn’t get stolen or lost to an aggressive wave.
Then I bolt into the ocean.
I lose my breath immediately.
The water is millions of sharp pins sinking into my flesh. The breakers are powerful, but I battle them, keeping my eyes trained on the boy. Distantly, I hear Bambi’s distressed barking. I spare a quick glance over my shoulder as I slog through the deepening water; she’s still on the shore, hopping around. Silly dog will follow her ball into the water, but not me.
Again, I shout at the boy.
Again, no response.
Death wish, I think. And then: Me, too.
By the time I reach him, a good thirty yards offshore, I’m numb.
My teeth are chattering and I’m not calling out anymore because my tongue’s immovable. Treading to keep my head above water, I make a grab for his shoulder. He wrenches his head around and I realize, too late, that I’ve startled him. He jerks out of my grip.
“I’m trying to help you!” My voice is scratchy and my throat feels raked over.
He shakes his head. No.
“You can’t be out here—it’s dangerous!”
As if to illustrate my point, a rogue wave crashes over our heads.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“A poignant reminder that the world isn’t black and white, The Impossibility of Us crackles with chemistry and will fill you with hope.” ~ Gina Ciocca, author of Last Year’s Mistake, Busted, and A Kiss in the Dark
“The Impossibility of Us is such a sweet story of tolerance, hope, and love. It’s a timely one too. As we mourn the rise of bigotry and xenophobia, stories like this offer reassurance that there is still goodness in the human spirit. Katy Upperman does not shy away from including problematic opinions among her characters, but she also shares intelligent, thoughtful and poetic responses to them. This is the age old story of star cross’d lovers retold beautifully for the challenging world we live in today.” ~ Caroline Leech, author of Wait For Me and In Another Time
“Tender, romantic and realistic, The Impossibility of Us is the story of a strong girl growing stronger and a boy surrendering to the power of a love that seems impossible… It will linger in your mind and your heart.” ~ Huntley Fitzpatrick, author of My Life Next Door, What I Thought Was True, and The Boy Most Likely To
“Katy Upperman’s The Impossibility of Us runs the gamut, from laughs to swoons, from goosebumps to tears. It’s a soaring, beautiful romance, for sure, but there are also so many powerful messages about loss, desertion, racism, tolerance, love, equality, selflessness, friendship, family, and kindness. Touching, well written, and impressively honest, The Impossibility of Us is not to be missed.” ~ Marci Lyn Curtis, author of The One Thing and The Leading Edge of Now

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
Just before her senior year of high school, seventeen-year-old Elise is forced to move to the tiny town of Cypress Beach. An encounter with a strange boy on the beach will lead to something she never expected to find this far from her beloved San Francisco. Will she be strong enough to overcome the prejudices of her family in order to seek her own happiness? And is it true that, in the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson, “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”?
The story is told in the first-person present tense from the points-of-view of Elise and Mati, with Mati’s story told in non-rhyming verse. This stylistic choice suits his voice, as the short sentences give us a sense that English isn’t his first language while, at the same time, making him sound poetic rather than stilted. The poetry theme is continued further by implying that his viewpoint is comprised of the actual entries in his notebook that, as an aspiring writer, he carries with him everywhere. In addition, the narrative is interspersed with quotes by Muslim poet Rumi. This book provides a fascinating look into the lifestyle and culture of Muslims and at the prejudices they must face in their day-to-day lives.
Beautiful and heartbreaking in equal measures.
Warnings: mild coarse language, sexual references, racism.

Some of My Favorite Lines
“Our world, no matter how beautiful, no matter how fulfilling, will forever feel off-kilter because Nicky was taken from it.”
“We’re all on a deadline. Every day’s a step toward extinction. Why not make the best of our time?”
“… his face breaks into a sunrise smile, casting light over the beach.”
“I don’t want to find love—I want it to find me. I want it to crash into me. Knock me down. Seize me.”
“I can’t decide if I’m right, or if my family’s right, or if right falls somewhere in the middle, in that gray area between their intolerance and my suddenly smitten heart.”
“Butterflies flap hopeful wings in my stomach. It’s strange to feel happiness amid this place drenched in somber memories. Strange, but not wrong.”
“My heart … It sings.”
“I realize he’s as upset as I am, and we’re such a mess, such a perfectly beautiful mess, I don’t care if time screeches to a halt and we’re frozen in this dreary room for eternity. At least I’ll be frozen with him.”
“I miss her like twilight misses the sun.”

About the Author
Katy Upperman
Katy Upperman is a graduate of Washington State University, a former elementary school teacher, and an insatiable reader. When not writing for young adults, Katy can be found whipping up batches of chocolate chip cookies or exploring the country with her husband and daughter. Kissing Max Holden was her debut novel; her sophomore novel, The Impossibility of Us, was  released in July 2018.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman (US/Canada only).