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A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,661 ratings  ·  269 reviews
Simones starting her junior year in high school. Her moms a lawyer for the ACLU, her dads a political cartoonist, so shes grown up standing outside the organic food coop asking people to sign petitions for worthy causes. Shes got a terrific younger brother and amazing friends. And shes got a secret crush on a really smart and funny guywho spends all of his time with ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published February 14th 2006 by Wendy Lamb Books
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Cynthia I wouldn't. But 12 years old might be okay if you are willing to discuss with her the issues this novel addresses.…moreI wouldn't. But 12 years old might be okay if you are willing to discuss with her the issues this novel addresses. (less)

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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  1,661 ratings  ·  269 reviews

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Susan's Reviews
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was Dana Reinhardt's debut novel. I am so impressed! The writing was excellent and flowed well. There were many touchy topics in this novel. Teen pregnancy, adoption, atheism, agnosticism, Christianity, Judaism. But this story isn't so much about religion as it is about a young girl's place in this world, and how religion, whether she liked it or not, played such a huge role in who ultimately raised her, and how.

For readers who dislike excessive (or even any) references to religion in their
Jazbia S.
Jul 18, 2019 rated it liked it
I started reading the book two three days ago. The start to it was interesting however I didn't find it capturing my attention much. A few lines here and there are quite fascinating but there's nothing extra to the storyline. I would rate it an average 2.5 stars.
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book, contemporary YA with a simple yet unique storyline. Thoughtful and touching, great characters. Addresses a lot of important issues without being preachy.
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This book was was good debut novel by Dana Reinhardt. I just love her writing! There were parts of this story I really enjoyed like the ones dealing with Jewish customs (Passover, Seder, Shabbat), Simone connecting with her real mother and Simone's relationship with Zack. There is a lot happening in this 16 year old's life.
Tasha Baxendale
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
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
Dec 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Mar 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
made me cry... not just cry, but bawl the whole last chapter.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was a little underwhelmed by this book until about halfway through and then Rivkah and Simone got me.

Sweet and sad and happy, the way a good story should be. I cried a little at the end.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just wonderful. Beautifully written book that deals with adoption, religion, adolescence, family dynamics. YA book with real heart and characters to care about.
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
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
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: english-492
I really liked this book. Its realistic in its content and characters, and doesnt 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 stories. ...more
Bronwyn Trusty
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 ...more
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was just so amazing. It was beautifully written, the characters were so real, and the plot was just absolutely emotional. A Brief Chapter In My Impossibly Life may sound like the name of a book about a teenage girl complaining about how she cant get boys because shes not pretty enough (which its partially about), but its so much more than that. It covers so many important topics that need to be discussed but arent talked about nearly as often as they should be. Also, it takes down so ...more
Mercedes Davis
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
OMG. I have been searching for the title of this book for so long now and I'm so happy that I found it.

Okay so I read this book back when I was in elementary or middle school, I'm now a college sophomore. This book is truly a masterpiece. It teaches a valuable lesson about family and learning to forgive someone that hurt you. I can say that it's one of those books that you will think about and remember many years after reading it.

The ending was so sad but happy in a way. Simone had closure and
Jun 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Richie Partington
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
Monica Tolva
Read p. 1 "Look at us Rivka called. She wants to meet you."

Simone has known since she was a child that she is adopted. She just never wanted to know the details - or so she thought until Rivka called and wanted to meet her.

Simone's life is plenty good without a long-lost mother, thank you very much. She has a great group of friends - Cleo, James, Henry and Ivy. She has a little brother, Jake, who isn't so bad, especially when she can play all-knowing junior to his unprepared freshman. Her
E Wilson
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I got this in a grab bag of used CD's and realized after I started listening that it was recommended
for ages 12-17 . I am well beyond that age group, but I found the book well written and enjoyable.
Some of the anxieties of being a teenage are no different from when I was that age, but there are
definitely some problems that were not very prevalent when I was that age.

Simone knows she's adopted and has no desire to meet her birth mother. Her adopted parents
are liberal high achievers. She and her
Kay Carman
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Adoption and religion are two of the topics in this YA novel, both subjects I'm really interested in, so it was a winner. Junior Simone has always known she's adopted, but it throws her off balance when he birthmother contacts her adoptive parents and asks to meet her. What her parents don't tell her, to begin with, is that her birthmother, Rivka, is terminally ill and wants to meet her and develop a relationship with her, including filling her in on family history, before she dies. Simone is a ...more
Lynn Butler
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Loved, loved, loved this book. Simone is one of those lucky girls. She's fine with her place in the world. She's always known she was adopted but she has never been curious about her birth parents or the circumstances surrounding her birth. Then one day, Rivka calls and the world will never be the same. Simone's discovery of her roots and the woman who gave birth to her is told lovingly and almost lyrically and what she finds is that her place in the world is more fully cemented by the knowledge ...more
Nov 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fall-2020
This book was okay. I found it to be meh. Considering this is my first year as a High School Librarian and reading Gateways for the first time, I found this book to be boring. I would recommend this book to a high school female student that interested in stories that involve, adoption, family and Judaism. Definitely my first novel that talked about Judaism and Jewish traditions and customs. Like I said in the beginning, the book was okay but I didn't feel excited or satisfied when I was finished ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017
It took be a little extra time to get "into" the style of this book. It is written from first person narrative and in her thought patterns. It makes it a pretty easy read. Read the summary. Spot on. The book takes place over a short time (hence the "brief chapter" in the title) and explains the Jewish ceremonies in brief detail for basic understanding. Good book. No suspense, thriller, but has deep philosophical thoughts on families, death and the meaning of community - if you dare to compare to ...more
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This, the first YA novel I've read in 2018, is also one of the most interesting I've read in the past few years. I'd advise parents that abortion, teen sex, and other mature topics seem to be viewed casually by the MC in the beginning, although the MC does not experience them. However, this story is about the beauty of an adoption that was meant to be for one particular girl child, the marked differences between the families involved, and a Jewish faith that found an atheist girl through her ...more
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
This was a decent YA novel. The characters felt real, dealing with many routine details in the life of an adolescent while also dealing with the unusual (finding and potentially losing a birth parent). The emotional experience of the protagonist rang true for that age group and the plot followed a nice arc. I would still recommend to teens today, in spite of the pre texting era that the novel is set in.
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am definitely one too judge a book by its cover, sometimes, but luckily I put this on hold at my library without ever seeing it. I have been want for a good narrator in a YA that's believable and honest and had just the right conversational tone that I think I could have been friends with this girl. So, even though I don't like the cover pic or the title, I love the story! It's full, multi storied, richly charactered without sounding like it's trying to hard.... You will love it too!
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I quickly fell in love with Simone, with her story, with the writing. This book was moving, relatable, poignant and exactly what I was looking for. High school is such a time of pressure, transformation, choices and changes, such that I love to read YA books. (And a little satisfying YA romance never hurts. We were all 16 with a crush once)! That said, I particularly loved the deeper story, in this book, about finding and knowing Rivka.
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Good storyline about love, laughter, grief, and restoration.
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