“Fourteen year old nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving house, new school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he’s narrowed it down to just six impossible things…”
It always seems to be that when one thing goes wrong in your life, other things like to join in and make it even worse. When it rains it pours right? It’s under these circumstances that we meet fourteen year old Dan Cereill.
After his father’s business goes broke, he announces that he’s bankrupt, gay and moving out. Dan and his mother are left to face the liquidators as Dan’s whole life is literally taken away from him. At the same time, his mother’s great Aunt Adelaide has passed away and left the house to Dan’s mother. The family collects their few belonging and tries to start again.
Not long after they move in, Dan meets his next door neighbor (and soon to be new classmate), Estelle. Needless to say he is head over heels in 5 seconds flat. He also meets his new roommate, Howard, Aunt Adelaide’s dog, and the very cool Oliver, who lives in the stable house. With a new house, school, friends and a new lifestyle, can Dan and his mother cope to make this new life work?
Six Impossible Things is quite a remarkable book. Loosely based on Cinderella (Dan Cereill is an anagram for Cinderella), the story also has a touch of Lewis Caroll’s Through The Looking Glass as well as a bit of the Ugly Duckling. Though it references these stories the book itself is still quite unique and makes these connections without being obvious.
Dan himself is a total sweetheart, so many times I felt like reaching into the book and giving this kid a hug. I thought he was really an amazing character who steps up to the plate despite the unfortunate situation around him. Even though he’s young, he displays maturity, yet still stays true to his age. It was great to see him grow and see how he was dealing with things (while not dealing with others).
His crush on Estelle is also quite cute. Unlike other books where there’s a love interest just because the girl is super super gorgeous, Dan likes her for more than that. He stumbles around a bit but really works at making her see him for what he really is. It was very sweet, and always maintained the feeling of it being real.
Dan’s mother was a very human character. As a kid in this situation you’d probably look to your mother to stay strong and pick up the pieces but in this story, I was pretty disappointed by her behavior. She’d be moody, sad, and sometimes even neglectful of Dan, often she sabotaged her own business and chance at income and failed to recognize just how much Dan was trying to make her happy. You’re not always going to like a character and though I didn’t like her, she was still very real. It’s realistically how many people would cope (or not cope) in the situation.
This book is skillfully written, with not only great characters (both main and minor) who each had their own defining personality, great dialogue, but also by adding just the right amount of humor so that this book doesn’t come off as depressing. It seems with so much heartache this book would be much sadder, but it was instead a very sweet and heartwarming novel that I really enjoyed.
Publication Date: August 2010
Teaser Quote: He gives me an assessing once over. “Out of your league, man, unless you do something about the look,” he says.
“You said outward stuff doesn’t make you cool.”
“It’s definitely not the thing, but it’s a thing. It’s one of those paradoxes life throws up – it can’t make you cool, but it can make you uncool.”
Now he tells me.