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A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life
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A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  1,225 ratings  ·  222 reviews
Simone’s starting her junior year in high school. Her mom’s a lawyer for the ACLU, her dad’s a political cartoonist, so she’s grown up standing outside the organic food coop asking people to sign petitions for worthy causes. She’s got a terrific younger brother and amazing friends. And she’s got a secret crush on a really smart and funny guy–who spends all of his time with...more
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Published November 13th 2007 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published February 14th 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Meghan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alicia
This YA novel was the recipient of a few awards within the Jewish book community, so I was psyched to meet its author and get her signature while at ALA. It's a really likable book too, about an adopted teenage girl whose birth mother suddenly wants to meet her. I really enjoyed the way it all played out, though there were a few too many moments of Jewish education for my taste. I already know all about Passover and Hannukah, thanks, and I think the non-Jews in the audience don't need to be talk...more
Chris
I really liked this book. It’s realistic in its content and characters, and doesn’t shy away from depicting many things as they actually occur in high school society. Next to John Green, I think Reinhardt is really accurate in her depiction of teens, not just in the adjustments they adapt to but also in their way of thinking and talking. I really liked the main character of Simone, too. Being adopted, her state really brought more depth to the self-discovery that happens in coming-of-age storie...more
Kim
Apr 03, 2012 Kim rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: freshman and sophomore high school students
Recommended to Kim by: Mark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tasha Baxendale
I decided to read 'A brief chapter in my impossible life' because it was highly recommended by the libray and it was apparently an excellent read.

This book falls into the category of 'a book that teaches you about a culture other than your own'. I thought this category was interesting as I learnt knew things about the main character's culture and religious beliefs. I have never really read a book based around learing more about famiy roots, history and adoption but I thoroughly enjoyed this nov...more
Bronwyn Trusty
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Lyn
Being adopted is not a problem for sixteen-year-old Simone. She has parents who love her and a younger brother who adores her. Someday she may want to know about her adoption. Someday there may be questions she'll want answered about her biological mother. Maybe she'll even want to meet her, but right now in her junior year at high school, Simone is happy with her life and family and wants nothing more than for things to remain the same.

When Simone's birth mother Rivka asks to see her, she resis...more
Amy
3.5 of 5 stars
Simone has always known she was adopted, but she's reluctant to meet her birth mother, despite her parents encouragement. She calls Rivka, who is a very religious, jewish woman, a stark contrast to Simone's liberal, atheist parents. Why did Rivka contact her now, and what is she, and her parents hiding.

I'd read and loved Dana Reinhardt's other books, though not her first, A BRIEF CHAPTER IN MY IMPOSSIBLE LIFE (ABC). The writing is crisp, clear and spot on. Reading the words Reinhar...more
Rosanne
• What was interesting about the book?
I thought that this book was very interesting because of the plot and the things that happened in it. Some things that happened were very predictable while others came out of the blue for me. It was one of those books that I couldn't put down.

• What did you like about the book?
I really liked the book because even though the ending of the book was expected, I really didn't foreshadow the climax. I also thought this was a great book because what the main char...more
Wendy
Jun 02, 2008 Wendy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Laurie's students
Good book, kind of a lame title (I think it makes the book sound more "typical" than it really is, and it doesn't really say anything about the story). Good for your Sarah Dessen fans, Laurie. Oh, and it's good for people who are interested in Jewish themes in kids' books.
Alita
made me cry... not just cry, but bawl the whole last chapter.
Fifi Barash
A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, by Dana Reinhardt, is about a girl named Simone, who is adopted. Simone is happy with her life the way it is, so when her biological mother calls and says she wants to meet her, Simone refuses. During the next few chapters, Simone learns the pros and cons of calling her mother, and makes an important decision.
Dana Reinhardt’s writing kept me engaged, but I think she could have made some parts of the book more interesting. I would recommend this book to any...more
Richard
I picked this book up for my daughter because she is adopted, doesn't know her birth-parents and we are atheists. When the book turned out to be a little advanced for her, I read it for perspective. While not being female teenager, I think the author has a good grasp of the thought processes of a young lady working through identity, religious, and dating issues. The main character, Simone, was portrayed as an intelligent, level-headed & articulate. The atheist aspect of her seemed unnecessar...more
Richie Partington
14 October 2005 A BRIEF CHAPTER IN MY IMPOSSIBLE LIFE by Dana Reinhardt, Random House/Wendy Lamb, February 2006, ISBN: 0-385-74698-9; LIB. ISBN: 0-385-90940-3

"So my free period found me in the gym leafing through pamphlets and scarfing down bite-sized Charleston Chews looking for some clubs to join because Mr. McAdams told me that if I don't 'diversify my resume' I won't get into a good college. The obvious choice for me would be to join the math club, but I don't even need to go into the reason...more
Ruhama
Simone is an adopted sixteen year old who has lived a happy atheist life up until now—her birth mother wants to meet her. Suddenly Simone’s world is turned upside down when she agrees to get to know her birth mother. Rivkah is Jewish (originally an Orthodox Jew) and is dying from cancer, but Simone is enjoying (mostly) getting to know her anyway. Simone also is dealing with changing friendships (one friend is dating a guy no good for her, another is pining for a guy he met at camp and her younge...more
Linda Ash
This is a wonderful story, very touching, funny in places, and a delight to read. Dana Reinhardt's writing comes across with enviable ease. The story centers around Simone, a teen who knows she was adopted, knows nothing about her birth mother, and wants to keep it that way.

During her junior year of high school, her birth mother suddenly iniatiates contact. Simone's parents encourage her to follow through with the contact, but Simone is fighting the subtle arguments. As with all teens, Simone's...more
Hannah
ok, the title makes you think, "woah, somebodies got stress issues".. yet no, the title doesn't speak for this outstanding book. I mean, i just love books like these. It's about a girl whos a junior in high school (11th grade) and finds herself caught in a situation with her "birth-mother" (weird...) you see, her mom was a teenager and had had her and hid it from her dad, who is the ruler of this Jewish company thing, and the teenager gives the baby to a friend, which becomes the babies mother,...more
Katie
A Brief Chapter in my Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt is the story of Simone, a high school junior in a suburb of Boston. Simone has known since she was able to understand words that she was adopted. Her mother is a lawyer with the ACLU and her father is a cartoonist who spends most of his time at home trying out new recipes on his family. Simone has never felt a reason to meet her birth mother. Her history is here with her mother, father, and brother who look nothing like her. Simone has acce...more
Hannah
I had picked this book up out of sheer boredom while manning a desk at my local library. I didn't really have much to do but wait at the desk for little kids to come up to me, so I passed the time reading this book. I quickly wandered into the young adult section, and grabbed the first book that looked slightly appealing. I'd heard of it before, but didn't expect much.

I have four words for you, however. I. Love. This. Book. It always seems to be the books that I read on impulse that turn out to...more
Laura
A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life covers a lot of ground in a single book. Simone, the main character, has always know that she is adopted. In the course of a year, she meets her mother for the first time, explores her ideas about God, develops a relationship with a cute guy, and lives the ups and downs that every teen experiences. While the plot focuses on Simone's relationship with her mother, the theme is more about Simone's developing maturity and compassion. Reinhardt creates a realisti...more
Knitme23
Well, THIS was an excellent novel, and I blazed through it, wishing it were longer all the way, just because I enjoyed it so much. The voice is wonderful--funny, smart, insightful, but not heavily preachy or unrealistically wise (cf the narrator in "Does My Head Look Big", earlier review). The one wrinkle is that the male characters are a little undeveloped--a little TOO good or TOO bad--but the depth and interest in the book comes from its grappling with deep ideas: religion, belief, family, ad...more
Rachel
Going into the book A Brief Chapter in my Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt, I was expecting it to be about the normal high school problems. The cliché things like being popular, or boys, but instead Simone went through a really hard situation in her life. Reinhardt did include best friend and boy drama, but the main conflict that Simone was going through would be rough on any person, young or old. After being adopted and not knowing her birth mother for over sixteen years, Simone accepts her pa...more
Mark
"When I was little I never played with dolls. I never had baby dolls with little changeable outfits. I never had a doll who closed her eyes when you tilted her head back, or said 'mama,' or, like Cleo's doll, peed when you fed her a bottle of water. (I always thought that was kind of gross). And I never, ever played with Barbie dolls because in my house Barbie was pretty much the devil incarnate. But I did have this one soft toy that I never would have called a doll, though it had yarn for hair...more
Sofia G.
Book Review





We all have problems in our lives, whether there small problems or big problems. Dana Reinhardt the author of the book A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life gives Simone a huge problem to deal with throughout the whole book. Since Simone is adopted, ever since she was born, she hasn’t met her biological mother. Simone doesn’t want to meet her or know anything about her past, but there is still something inside of her that sort of does want to know. Then one day her foster parents tell...more
Shana Dempsey
As I read this book, I felt a connection to Simone. I think this is because I was adopted and I don't hardly ever see books with the main character facing an issue like Simone. I'm not saying I had a problem with my religion, but facing issues that are rather difficult. I liked this book for the fact that she seemed to really stand out when it came to rather difficult issues. I didn't like that she was forced to see her birth mother, because that is something that you should decide on your own,...more
Thomas Trottier
I didn't really get into this one until about halfway through. I felt like I had read the formula for the first half of the book before. However, once the main character meets her mom, I instantly became engaged. I cannot imagine what it would be like for an adopted kid to meet their biological parents after 17 years of not knowing them. To see someone standing before you that looks like you and talks like you is a crazy thing for me to wrap my head around. The depth of the backstory gives the r...more
CeJayCe
First things first: The cover. Is. HIDEOUS. Had I not already read Reinhardt's more recent novel, "How to Build a House" I never would have touched this book. That's how shallow and superficial I am when it comes to reading. That being said, between the badly covered spine of this book lies a gorgeous story. Sweet, but not diabetic. Humorous, but only when necessary. Serious, but not morbidly so. Romantic, but not in an in-your-face sloppily mushy kind of way. Reinhardt has the right amounts of...more
Nick
"A Brief Chapter in my Impossible Life" by Dana Reinhardt depicts several months in the life of adopted 16 year old teenage girl named Simone. She's an atheist and an activist living with her mom, dad, and perfect star-athlete younger brother. Simone has always known she was adopted, but never pushed the issue any further. She has no desire to meet her birth mother. Then Simone's birth mother, Rivka calls and leaves a phone number. Simone is surprised at how firmly her parents encourage to reach...more
Megan Mann
Simone knows she's a little different. She has olive skin with straight black hair whereas her family is fair skinned with light hair. They never made a big deal about her being adopted because she's always felt this is exactly where she belongs. However, one night at dinner, she's thrown for a loop. Her parents tell her that Rivka wants to speak to her. Why would her birth mother want to speak to her now? After 16 years? She didn't need to know the story when she was younger and she didn't need...more
Mrs Pearl
Author: Dana Reinhardt
Genre: Coming of Age
Rating: 9

I finished this book a few days ago. The book revolves around Simone, a girl who has always known she was adopted and has had no interest in finding out about where she came from, until her birth mother makes a desperate attempt to get to know her. The tale that follows is funny, heartwarming and melancholy.

I went into this book expecting not to like it. I'm not sure why I did, but perhaps its because the premise of the story did not really appe...more
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Why don't you have a bio section?

Because I hate writing about myself.

But wouldn't that be easier than answering a whole bunch of FAQs?

Maybe. Probably. Go on...

So where are you from?

I'm from Los Angeles, but now I live in San Francisco. Except for the summers where I go back to Los Angeles in search of the sun.

What are you doing when you aren't writing?

Laundry, usually. Sometimes dishes. And I re...more
More about Dana Reinhardt...
The Things a Brother Knows How to Build a House The Summer I Learned to Fly Harmless We Are the Goldens

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“I've learned enough this year to know that life may surprise you, but not usually in the ways you imagine.” 11 likes
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