The Summer of Impossible Things…
If you could change the past, would you?
Thirty years ago, something terrible happened to Luna’s mother. Something she’s only prepared to reveal after her death.
Now Luna and her sister have a chance to go back to their mother’s birthplace and settle her affairs. But in Brooklyn they find more questions than answers, until something impossible – magical – happens to Luna, and she meets her mother as a young woman back in the summer of 1977.
At first Luna’s thinks she’s going crazy, but if she can truly travel back in time, she can change things. But in doing anything – everything – to save her mother’s life, will she have to sacrifice her own?
You know that saying:
Sometimes the universes line up?
I never gave much thought to what that meant until reading this novel. The Summer of Impossible Things is so aptly titled, because everything the story is based on is…well, entirely impossible. Or is it?
I won’t pretend to have any grasp whatsoever on the concept of quantum physics. Even presented at its most basic level, my brain refuses to open itself up to the possibilities and theories. Nevertheless, this didn’t impede my enjoyment of The Summer of Impossible Things, and I think Rowan did a great job of presenting all of the sections containing anything physics related in an accessible manner. One aspect of the novel that worked really well for me was how Luna scientifically analysed all of the ‘impossible things’ that were happening to her. Despite knowing that time travel and universe hopping was impossible, she still tried at every opportunity to apply scientific reason. For me, this provided a good grounding within the story, giving it the anchor it needed to keep it from floating away into the realm of ridiculous. I’ve come to think of this novel as a time travel fairytale. If you check your reality meter at the beginning of the novel, you’ll enjoy The Summer of Impossible Things for what it is: a well thought out and entertaining story with plenty of tugging on your heartstrings moments.
Despite being a physicist herself, it takes Luna almost the entire novel to fully appreciate the ripple effect that comes from changing the past. She doesn’t seem to realise for quite some time that by changing the past, she not only alters the future of her immediate circle of interest, but that of others as well, even strangers she is unlikely to ever meet. This ‘universe retaining control’ aspect appealed to me greatly. We may like to think we are in control of our own destinies, able to spin the universe in the direction of our own whims, but Rowan turns this idea onto its head and presents an entirely different notion: that the universe made us. The universe is in control, not us. The universe has the last word. Every time. No exceptions. Despite being a science dunder-head, I liked this concept and enjoyed watching the story unfold within this context.
The era Luna repeatedly steps back into is 1977, the year I was born. I got a kick out of this and thoroughly enjoyed Rowan’s re-creation of a late 70s Brooklyn neighbourhood. They say the devil is in the details and Rowan left nothing to chance. One of my favourite scenes was when Luna stood on the Saturday Night Fever dance floor, her excitement uncontained; I imagined myself feeling the same way!
Any review of The Summer of Impossible Things can’t be wrapped up without a mention of Michael and the ‘impossible love story’. I thought this entire romance was beautifully done. Michael was nothing short of divine. There was a beautiful serendipity about the way this panned out, reinforcing the previously mentioned ‘we are at the mercy of the universe’ angle. It just goes to show that faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust, can still go a long way.
The Summer of Impossible Things is a gorgeous cosy read that will keep you up reading late into the night. It’s well paced and the pages just fly by. Well done Rowan Coleman on another fantastic novel!