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Fans of the Impossible Life

Fans of the Impossible Life

4.5 6
by Kate Scelsa

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A captivating and profound debut novel about complicated love and the friendships that have the power to transform you forever, perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Mira is starting over at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to pretend that she could act like a functioning human


A captivating and profound debut novel about complicated love and the friendships that have the power to transform you forever, perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Mira is starting over at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to pretend that she could act like a functioning human this time, not a girl who can’t get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she’s with Sebby.

Jeremy is the painfully shy art nerd at Saint Francis who’s been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn it’s as if he’s been expecting this blond, lanky boy with a mischief glinting in his eye.

Sebby, Mira’s gay best friend, is a boy who seems to carry sunlight around with him . Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and impromptu road trips, designed to fix the broken parts of their lives.

As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira’s world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don’t understand their quest to live for the impossible.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 06/29/2015
Scelsa debuts with an evocative novel about finding friendship, love, and oneself, as well as the pain that often accompanies the journey. When Jeremy, a shy artist who has kept to himself after a humiliating incident at school left him scarred and vulnerable, meets Mira and Sebby, two sophomores with troubled pasts, the three form a strong bond. Mira, who is struggling to tame debilitating depression, makes Jeremy feel a profound sense of belonging, while his attraction to Sebby, an openly gay foster kid, ignites a passion he’s never known. But Sebby’s demons, Mira’s self-doubts, and Jeremy’s insecurities begin to seem too much for the trio to bear, and their world of shared laughter and easy camaraderie starts to crumble. Scelsa alternates among the perspectives of these three characters seamlessly, allowing readers to feel their raw emotions and deep emotional needs. Themes of betrayal, forgiveness, and resilience resonate strongly, while the characters’ stories are so beautifully told and their struggles so hauntingly familiar that they will stay with readers long after they have finished the book. Ages 14–up. Agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. (Sept.)
VOYA, August 2015 (Vol. 38, No. 3) - Katherine Noone
On the first day of sophomore year at St. Francis Prep, Mira and Jeremy make shaky re-entries, each feeling vulnerable after long absence. Sebastian (Seb), an openly gay school dropout, supports Mira, whom he met in a psych ward after both considered suicide. Jeremy, who lives with his two gay dads, underwent traumatic bullying when a newspaper published his dads’ wedding announcement. The trio find a comforting magic in their friendship. Jeremy shyly begins to accept the possibility that he also may be gay, as attraction to Seb gives color to his life. The chapters alternate their points of view, Jeremy’s in first-, Seb’s in second-, and Mira’s in third-person narration. The back stories that wounded each are slowly revealed. As close as they become, they still harbor secrets. Mira knows that Seb shoplifts; she does not know of his sexual encounters with an older male, revealed in a jarring early chapter. Only gradually do Mira and Jeremy learn of Seb’s increasing reliance on drugs, his refuge when ejected from his foster home. Their efforts to protect him end up costing a treasured teacher his job. Readers who respond to the humorous and imaginative comradeship of the three young people will probably feel undermined as Seb’s story darkens. At the end, Scelsa leaves Mira and Jeremy in summertime Provincetown, a cherished, idyllic place for all three. Elsewhere, Seb grasps at the faint memory of love, with no indication that he will survive. It is not a generous ending for a book that deals generously with so many vulnerabilities of modern teen life. Reviewer: Katherine Noone; Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
Failed by the institutions and adults who rule their lives, three stressed-out teens rely on their friendship to overcome—or at least survive—abuse, depression, and homophobia. Having been brutally outed by classmates, Jeremy dreads returning to St. Francis Prep, but at a teacher's urging, he reluctantly starts an art club. His first recruit is Mira, whose crippling depression last year landed her in a hospital psych ward. There, she met Sebby, who'd been savagely beaten by school homophobes. Their bond became a lifeline for each; now their friendship nourishes Jeremy. Whether it can replace adult support is another matter. Jeremy's the child of supportive, emotionally mature dads. Mira's the biracial daughter of a workaholic black lawyer and white stay-at-home mom; her high-achieving sister's at Harvard. Their high expectations weigh heavily on Mira. Orphaned, openly gay Sebby has endured multiple foster placements. He lacks a safety net. Terrified to return to school, he lies about where he spends his days to his foster mother. Well-intentioned but unfit to parent a gay teen, she threatens to send him to a group home. Constrained by his teacher role, Peter—the adult best-equipped to offer support—can do little as stresses mount. Rounded characters large and small, drawn with insight and empathy, drive the plot. Buoyant writing and wry humor balance the pathos in this powerful debut, a moving tale of friendship as refuge and shield against a hostile world. (Fiction. 14-18)
Nina LaCour
“A deeply moving story about friendship and individuality in an often inhospitable world.”
Julie Murphy
“I wish my high school self could read this book. Fans of the Impossible Life perfectly captures the complexity of love, sexuality, and the cost of secrets. Mira, Sebby, and Jeremy will stay with you long after you finish the last page.”
Bennett Madison
“In this beautiful and devastating novel, Kate Scelsa introduces three of the most memorable and original characters in recent memory. Fans of the Impossible Life is a truly unconventional love story that will challenge everything you think you know about the nature of love and friendship.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.50(d)
HL730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Kate Scelsa studied writing and theater at Sarah Lawrence College. For the past twelve years she has performed in New York and on tour around the world with experimental theater company Elevator Repair Service in their trilogy of works based on great American literature, including an eight-hour-long performance that uses the entire text of The Great Gatsby. Kate grew up in New Jersey and now lives in Brooklyn with her wife and two black cats.

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Fans of the Impossible Life 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first book that I had read that made me feel completely overwhelmed with the story. During my first time reading the book I was struggling with (still am) depression and anxiety as well as shame for liking the same sex. I remember waking up at least two hours before school so I could read it. This book made me feel so good. It made me realize I wasn't the only one going through all this even if they're in a book. I will hold this dear to me for a very long time. It talks about topics I feel important. I will always recommend this book to people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
I wanted to read Fans of the Impossible Life because the mention of recurring depression and the fact that she had been in the hospital for it. I am a sucker for a book about mental illness, and while it seems like she is on an upward or stable phase, I wanted to read about her. I deal with mental health issues myself, and its always been a struggle for me, I've gone through multiple labels and treatments, so awareness is something that I am all about. It also seems like a different sort of love triangle. Mira and her depression was realistic. She had the spirals of negative thought that can lead to the feeling worse and not being able to get self out of it easily. She had the fatigue, the overbearing tiredness that sleep doesn't seem to fix. It takes over and colors everything. She tries hard and sometimes she breaks through these, but often there isn't much she can do. Jeremy is shy and he has been a victim of a hate crime and that has colored his social life. He hardly talks at school except to Peter, who is a very popular teacher there. He breaks out of his shell a bit when he forms an art club. He sees that Mira is different and he likes that, he needs student signatures and Mira is one of the first he asks, and she shows up along with her best friend Sebby. Sebby is a foster kid, very gay, and charismatic. He is attracted to Jeremy, but him and Mira can't figure out at first if he is gay or if he is attracted to Mira. But Jeremy seems to like spending time with the both of them. Sebby doesn't go to the same school as Jeremy and Mira, but he is there more than he is at his own school. It was a story of friendship, of love, of kids with hard problems that there are no easy solutions to. Their relationship was complicated, Jeremy fell for Sebby. Sebby and Mira have a past with friendship but also more complicated history because they met at the hospital. Sebby and Mira were friends before they met Jeremy, but they included him right away. There was also the cast of secondary characters that added another layer to the story. Jeremy's dads, the teacher Peter at school who was very involved in the lives of his students. There's Nick, who Sebby gets in trouble with. The flawed foster mom. Their other friends Rose, and Talia. The climax and ending are both very realistic, and its not all hea. These are kids in hard situations, and though their friendship has brought them lots of strength, sometimes the things they are facing are bigger than sixteen year olds can handle. The epilogue is more hopeful and gives a sense of closure and that they have the possibilities of a future, that their friendship might be able to survive, though getting there will take work. Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free This is a book with dark or sad themes. Kids that have made hard choices from hard backgrounds. Also mentions depresssion, suicide, gay/lesbian relationships, drugs, drinking, and alludes to oral sex. It is a young adult book, but if under 18, ask parent's guidance. Bottom Line: Gritty story about three teens, and their friendship that helps them through.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago