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The Six Impossiverse #1

Six Impossible Things

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1. Kiss Estelle.
2. Get a job.
3. Cheer my mother up.
4. Try not to be a complete nerd/loser.
5. Talk to my father when he calls.
6. Figure out how to be good.

Nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving, new-school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on Estelle, the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he's narrowed it down to six impossible things…

In this charming story of one guy’s efforts to get it together when his life is falling apart, award-winning author Fiona Wood introduces an irresistible voice and a delightfully awkward character who is impossible to forget.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published August 1, 2010

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About the author

Fiona Wood

9 books171 followers
Fiona Wood is the author of young adult novels, Six Impossible Things and Wildlife. Her third book, Cloudwish, will be published in the US in October. Before writing YA fiction, Fiona worked as a television scriptwriter for twelve years, writing everything from soap, and one-hour adult drama, to children’s drama. Prior to this she dropped out of law and completed an arts degree, both at Melbourne University, worked in marketing and in arts management, did some freelance journalism, and studied screenwriting at RMIT. She has served as a judge for the AWGIE Awards (Australian Writers’ Guild) and is an ambassador for The Stella Prize Schools Program. She has two YA children, and lives in Melbourne with her husband.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 449 reviews
Profile Image for Janina.
215 reviews526 followers
September 19, 2011
Six Impossible Things …

1. Not find Dan utterly charming and adorable and not cheer him on towards his well deserved happy ending.

2. Not laugh out loud at his musings.

3. Not like Howard, the psychic dog.

4. Not wish for Dan's mom to find happiness again.

5. Put the book down.

6. Not want to hug the book after having finished.

#8 Aussie YA Challenge 2011
Profile Image for Limonessa.
300 reviews508 followers
September 25, 2011
It is not exactly pleasant to wake up one day and find out that:
- your father has declared himself gay and ditched you and your mother;
- your dad's business has gone bankrupt and you and your mother are on your own without a penny to your names;

Add to that the fact that your house has been taken over by creditors along with furniture, clothes, personal belongings, EVERYTHING. You have to leave your good, private school, your friends, and swallow the bitter humiliation.

This is what happens to Dan and his mom. They would have probably ended up like bums on a road if, unexpectedly, mom's old aunt Adelaide hadn't died of old age and left them with the use of her huge house/museum.
Dan has to face a new school, new friends and new "broke" status, as well as his blooming obsession with Estelle, a girl who lives next door. All this while his mom desperately tries to start a new job to make to make ends meet and put the pieces of her life back together.

Dan is 14 going on 40. This book and I, because of him, were off to a bit of a bumpy start.
First, I had difficulties relating to his boy's voice.
Then I had difficulties with him being so young.
Then I had difficulties with him being so old inside.
Then I had difficulties with him being such a hopeless loser and a dork, then with him being a liar.
And then, after about 70 pages in in the book, I realized I had no difficulties with him at all.
Dan is an amazing voice, with a great self-deprecating sense of humor, witty, extremely intelligent and so, so mature for his age. He finds himself in a situation which would put to the test even an adult. It's not fair for a kid tormented by teen age and raging hormones to be burdened by so many responsibilities but Dan manages pretty well eventually. He completely conquered him and I ended up liking him a lot. He's so cute I want to ruffle his hair.
And not only him. The thing about this book is that I realized I liked all the characters, they are all so well portrayed, each with their own quirks. I wish I could be Dan's mom's friend. I wish I had a dog like Howard, with a psychotherapist look.

So don't be fooled by the girly cover or by the MC's young age. Ultimately, this book is about getting your shit together when you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel, possibly with a bit a of a sense of humor.
Very funny, fresh, well written and just downright amiable, it will be hard to resist the charm of Six Impossible Things' cast of characters.
Highly recommended!

And if you're still in doubt, I forgot to mention this is Australian YA. Enough Said.
Profile Image for Arlene.
1,155 reviews643 followers
August 3, 2011
Something large and happy has unfolded in my chest, erupting in a smile that won’t quit. I can’t remember ever feeling so light-hearted. Or is my heart full? Or bursting? Not aching, that’s for sure.

Wow! Have I ever wanted to tackle hug a protag! I have to say hands down Dan from Six Impossible Things has hijacked my heart! It’s not too often we get the luxury of reading a YA Contemporary in a guy’s POV, and this book is a perfect example of how awesome they can be. This story pulled at my heart strings tighter and tighter after every chapter and by the time it was ending, I knew I was going to have a hard time letting go.

In this story, we meet Dan Cereill and he’s having a tough time coping with life seeing as his family has lost their fortune; he’s having to move to a new house and a new school; deal with a mom that’s managing a failing wedding cake business; and coming to grips with a dad that’s not only left the family, but just revealed he’s gay. It seems like asking for one life changing event at a time seems to be too much. But in the mist of crisis, Dan has narrowed down his efforts to accomplishing six things to turn his life around… How impossible can that be?

Six Impossible Things is filled with great characters, witty narrative, heartfelt moments, and worthy life lessons. This is a story about first love, humiliation, struggle and ultimate self discovery that does nothing short of reminding you how quickly life changes, but how great it can become.

What else would you expect from an Aussie book? Nothing but shear perfection! I loved this entire cast of characters and Fiona Wood has made me an instant fan. Perfect one-sitting read that shouldn’t be missed.

Two lines I won’t soon forget:

There’s this sky I like…

I love you big time…

Profile Image for Reynje.
272 reviews965 followers
September 2, 2011

Guys, I kind of want to hug this book.

Funny and endearing, Fiona Wood’s loose interpretation of Cinderella has just the right balance of quirk and emotion. Narrated by fourteen year old nerd-boy Dan Cereill (anagrams FTW!), from the intriguing prologue to the grin-inducing last line, Six Impossible Things is a charming little novel.

It’s a light read, in the sense that the prose flows smoothly and the dialogue is snappy (Wood’s experience as a television scriptwriter shows), but it also has a tremendous amount of heart. Dealing with family, first love, fitting in, finding yourself, the story is quite sweet and hopeful but also grounded in the realism of everyday life as a teenager.

I found myself connecting to Dan as he traverses the awkwardness of adolescence and the all consuming sensation of being overwhelmed by his problems:
I’m drowning. Everything feels so relentless and impossible. It’s like trying to run with no traction. There’s no one to depend on, no one solving problems, no one picking up the tab, no one to pass the buck to.

There’s a slightly whimsical feeling to the story as well, especially in the structure and the list writing and vague fairytale connection.
There’s this girl I know. I know her by heart. I know her in every way but one: actuality.
Like Dan himself, it’s a bit of an odd sock, a unique take on not uncommon events, related in Dan’s equally witty and touching voice.

For me, the characters are the highlight of this story: they’re relatable, ridiculous, real. Wood has a way of writing that makes each of her characters shine, from Dan’s Radiohead-loving Mum, the school bully I wanted to punch on Dan’s behalf, the elusive Estelle to the wise and all round winsome dog, Howard. (I want a Howard. Please.)

Six Impossible Things made me laugh. It made me cringe (in a ‘memories of Year 9’ kind of way). It made me want to cheer. It felt achingly familiar at times.

Suffice to say, I was delighted with this book.

(Except when I read that Dan ran from Fitzroy to the Tan and around. That just made me feel incredibly unfit.)
Profile Image for Nomes.
384 reviews377 followers
October 13, 2010
Just when I thought the Aussie YA scene couldn't get any hotter right now... along comes Fiona Wood's Six Impossible Things.

I couldn't put this book down.

And then, when I finished, I immediately wanted to go back to the beginning and read it all again from that start. (I settled for another hour of flicking through and re-reading classic moments and favourite lines)

There is so much to love about this book it's hard to know where to begin.

Dan is completely lovable, funny and cute in such an unassuming way. His narration of the many tragic events unfolding in his life is teen angst with the most grin-worthy one-liners. He is sweet and hopeful and crushing hard on the unattainable girl next door (Estelle).

And the Girl Next Door is ever so funky and cool and smart in that way that you just want to hang out with her in the hope that some of her coolness rubs off.

The cast in this book were all fleshed out in such an achingly real way. Not only did I fall in love with Dan but I related to his Mum and I love how underneath all the charm and fun in this book, there's a lot of stuff readers can relate to: parent's separating/divorce, financial difficulty, depression, parent's mid-life crisis, wanting to be cool and accepted, getting your first job, wanting to get the unattainable girl and striving to be a better person but always seeming to fall short.

I have to mention: I loved how Dan's attic was connected to Estelle's which led to some sneaky creeping around between the houses. Such an awesome set up.

Six Impossible Things also has such a beautiful and whimsical prologue which I read twice before turning to the opening :)

six things about six impossible things:

1. It's funny. Brilliant one-liners, dialogue that just kills you with it's goodness, and the situations Dan finds himself in will have you grinning.
2. Dan - one of the best male POV's. Charming and smart and oh-so-funny and he transforms so awesomely from a slightly awkward geek to a cool confident guy.
3. Secret girls stuff. I loved Estelle and how the girl group hung out - it all felt so teenagery and fresh and had me feeling quite nostalgic. I loved Estelle's Diary which so reminded me of my own teenage diary :)
4. The adult cast - completely shone, even those in minor roles. I wish every YA book would strive to put in adult charatcers who are so multi-dimensional and relatable. I also love the plot lines and story arcs for the minor characters.
5. The little quirky details and how it all comes together in a climax that made my heart swell with happiness. Also you never quite know just how the story is going to end.
6. It's one of the best books I've read - right up there with Graffiti Moon and Raw Blue and Beatle Meets Destiny and Jaclyn Moriarty's work.

Recommended: I find it so hard to review books that completely floor me with it's brilliance - really, what I want to say is: I love this book so hard and think it's truly perfect for teens (guys and girls) and also for adult readers who will find a lot to love about Dan and his experiences.

And: I read in an interview that Dan Cereill is an anagram of Cinderella. I know, very cool!
392 reviews333 followers
November 23, 2010
Favourite Quotes: ‘Something large and happy has unfolded in my chest, erupting in a smile that won’t quit. I can’t remember ever feeling so light-hearted. Or is my heart full? Or bursting? Not aching, that’s for sure.’

5 stars is not a high enough rating for this. There is something special about Six Impossible Things. Maybe it is the extraordinary writing or the touching and funny plot or maybe it is the unforgettable characters but either way this book is absolutely brilliant.

One of the reason I loved this book is because of the writing - interesting, quirky, witty, humorous and engaging. Fiona Wood has been writing television script for popular Aussie TV shows for the last ten years. And you can tell that she is an experienced writer as she knows how to draw you into Dan's world and make you never want to leave. I could happily stayed surrounded by this wonderful bunch of characters.

And what well crafted characters they are, even the secondary. Dan, is a sweetheart. Why didn't I know any boys like that when I was teenager? He is impossible not to love. I really empathize with him as his world is turned upside. Being a teen is hard enough without you Dad declaring his gay, your Mum's business failing, moving house, changing school, suddenly becoming poor and of course crushing on the impossible girl, Estelle. But despite all those struggles Dan is a hopeful character. You will be cheering him on, laughing with him (okay sometimes at him) and want to hug him when things go wrong.

And his crush on Estelle is super sweet. He likes her for more than just because she is beautiful but because she is interesting and smart. I love the prologue where Dan talks about Estelle and list all these little crazy facts about her. And that kissing her is always at the top of his list of things to do even if it seems impossible. The romance just makes you smile.

Overall, AMAZING. Please Fiona Wood hurry up and write more books. I want more!

And because I loved the writing so much I going to leave you with another favourite quote: 'My problems are like waves - just as one disappears with a snarl and a hiss there’s another shaping up to knock me down'.
Profile Image for Jasprit.
527 reviews733 followers
October 8, 2011
I’ve been on a Aussie book binge as of late, the last couple of books I read were full of awesomeness, but they have also been quite intense The Piper’s Son and Raw Blue, so I needed something light and easy going, a couple of my great Goodreads friends suggested Six Impossible Things and it was exactly what I needed.

Dan’s life has quickly been turned upside down, from living with his parents and attending a private school with his friend Fred, he’s just found out his dad’s gay, their family business has gone bankrupt and consequently their house and most of their possessions have been re-possessed. He and his mum have been forced to move into his mum’s great aunt Adelaide’s house, he has to find a job as they have hardly any money and are just managing to scrape by. On top of that he has to try and get his mum out of the slump she’s in and cheer her up somehow, try and keep a low profile at the new school he will be attending and he also has a crush on his next door neighbour Estelle, the “unattainable one!”

Some of the situations and mishaps Dan found himself in were absolutely hysterical, from trying to keep a low profile at school and responding to when someone called him “dickhead” on the first day, to fainting in front of the girl he liked, snooping through Estelle’s things and organising the school social. Also the lists he kept, I absolutely adored them!

I’m grateful to my Goodreads friends for pushing me to read this book, as it was a really quick and easy book to get into, the characters were amusing and funny and it was basically one of the funniest books I’ve read in a while!

Favourite quotes
“The only things anyone could possibly know about me are: tall, sometimes answers to ‘dickhead’, silent in class, frowns, slouches, surname pronounced ‘surreal’ not ‘cereal’, chews with mouth shut.
Might be easier to get loser/loner tattooed on my forehead and be done with it!”

“You’re a dickhead Cereal”, Jayzo says
“It’s Cereill”, I manage.
“Cyril next time you’re feeling faint, please sit down with
your head between your knees or go out for some fresh air”
“Okay?” Ms. Peale says
“It’s Dan, not Cyril”
Profile Image for oliviasbooks.
774 reviews510 followers
January 10, 2011
This fulfilling story of friendship, loneliness, loyalty and love has two important ingredients going for it:

1. Awfully sweet, but realistic characters (There is no need to emphasize his unquestionably cute infatuation with his next door neighbor Estelle, because I loved 15-years-old hero Dan for caring so much about his inherited and footsore dog Harold and for trying to pull his freshly divorced and impoverished mom out of her misery and her imagined talks to her idol Thom Yorke anyway. Said mom gets over her ex-husband's confession to be broke and gay by unintentionally talking all the bridal customers of her recently started wedding cake business "I Do Cakes" out of wanting to marry at all. A whole army of exceptional minor characters - sweet, funny, excentric, true-to-life - compose the wholesome filling.)
2. On-the-spot, humorous, crafty and perceptive language that melts on your tongue but is still not unlikely for a nerdy, funny and considerate teenaged boy. Before I hand this book over to the next in line I have to save a few quotes, like for instance:
"Stress level: extreme. It's like she was a jar with the lid screwed on too tight, and inside the jar were pickles, angry pickles, and they were fermenting, and about to explode."
"Fred is staying with his mother these holidays. She's living in London for six months, in Chelsea, studying Georgian underwear at the National Art Library. It's a thesis, not a fetish."
"'... you cow,' Estelle added. 'I heard that.' 'Give the woman the geriatric audiology medal,' Estelle said. 'I heard that, too', her mother said, from the other side of the door."

I really enjoyed "Six Impossible Things" (it grew on me from chapter to chapter) and I hope I have been making that sufficiently clear, but I think you have to wait for my friend Janina's (I'm counting on you, Janina!) review to put her finger onto the exact spot which makes this book just right.

Thank you so much, lovely Nic, for being our Corner's Australian Book Angel!

One book down for the Aussie Book Challenge 2011! It's not too late to sign up, Goodreaders.
Profile Image for Emily.
187 reviews301 followers
June 25, 2011
There's this book I like.

Well, like might be a bit of an understatement. I LOVE Fiona Wood's Six Impossible Things with a fiery passion. If, in some sort of unforeseeable situation, I needed to take a bullet for this book? Well it was great knowing you guys.

This is a book full of not-so-secret diaries, wedding cakes, ancient houses, hidden attics, pretty shoes and pretty girls, Radiohead (with an unhealthy Thom Yorke obsession thrown in), sneaking out and a loveable dog named Howard.

In a not-so-clever fashion I will list six things I loved about this book:

1. The relationships.

I prefer my books to be highly character driven and Six Impossible Things is definitely so. Half the fun of this book was being a spectator to Dan's transformation through connecting with the people around him. Seriously, it felt like being a fly on the wall in someone's incredibly funny and interesting life.

2. The attic

I was on the edge of my seat (er, bed?) during the sneaky attic scenes. When Dan jumped, I jumped. When he read I felt guilty, too. Plus, Estelle's attic set-up sounded awesome.

3. Howard

Howard, the poodle in this story, is a major character and I have to say I probably wouldn't have liked the book quite as much without him.

4. Capturing teen life

This book felt incredibly realistic. I've been to the high school dances, sneaked out with friends, had an after school job and been tormented by the typical Jayzo-like bully (or the girl equivalent). As far as a true reflection of teen life goes, this one hits the mark.

5. Dan

Dan was an optimistic sort of guy. Sure, he let stuff get him down and he wallowed every now and then, but he managed to find his way in the end - and he has a kick-ass sense of humour that had me laughing out loud countless times and getting strange looks from my boyfriend.

6. It's not twilight and/or random dystopian novel

I love this book because it is happy. There's no fighting for your life in some epic battle or dealing with a zombie apocalypse. I love those books as much as the next goodreader, but it was nice to have a break from all that and enjoy this down to earth, quirky, loveable story.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews838 followers
July 7, 2015
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood
Book One of the Six Impossible Things series
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: August 11, 2015
Rating: 2 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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 Estelle, the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he's narrowed it down to just six impossible things...

What I Liked:

This book is cute, very much lower YA literature. Oh, what it is to be fourteen again! That was six years ago, for me. How time flies. This book is all about fourteen-year-old Dan, and basically how life took a dump on him and his mother in a very short span of time.

Dan's father springs it on Dan's mother that the company is bankrupt and their home and assets are to be liquidated. Oh, and he tells them that he's gay, and he and the mother are no longer together. Great-Aunt Adelaide died, conveniently leaving Dan's mother a house, but not a house to keep. It's a historic house, and it's a bit of a dump, honestly. So they move, and Dan has to start in a new school system. Dan and his mother are totally broke, and can't even afford utilities in the house. Everything is a disaster for this boy, and he has to learn how to be much older than fourteen. Dan gets a job, changes his lifestyle, his look, and falls in love...

This is a coming-of-age novel, and it seems like it's meant for younger audiences in YA. Dan is fourteen, and he certainly thinks like a fourteen-year-old. Still, I think I liked him. He's totally awkward and weird, nerdy and painfully shy. I don't think I was anything like this at fourteen, but I definitely think Dan is an authentic adolescent character. And certainly fun to follow!

The story itself is ridiculous and a bit exaggerated? But also fun to read. So much craziness and shenanigans go on in this book. While the tone is lighthearted, there is also melancholy and sad. Life is hard in the Cereill home. There is a lot of struggling and hate towards the father and frustration with each other. But I like these negative emotions, and how well Wood writes this situation.

There is romance - Dan is basically obsessed with Estelle, the girl from next door. Estelle thinks Dan is a bit weird (which is true), and so it isn't mutual at all, at first. Dan makes a fool of himself in school and outside of school no matter what he does, but he never really stops trying to indirectly win Estelle. The romance isn't one of my favorite, but it was sweet, in an adolescent way.

Overall, I think I liked the story, but it definitely wasn't one for me. This is definitely a case of it's-not-you-it's-me. Contemporary doesn't always work for me.

What I Did Not Like:

I'm not a huge fan of lower YA, I'll just say that right now. It's not my thing! I can't dislike this book because it's lower YA, that's not fair, but I'm saying that if lower YA is something that you enjoy, then you'll already have a better chance at liking this novel, than I did.

I really didn't like how Dan was so obsessed with Estelle. It was creepy, and weird, and didn't come off as romantic or nice at all. I would have been very angry and very hurt if someone did some of the things Dan did to Estelle, to me. In general though, Dan is literally obsessed with Estelle, and no part of that is okay, in my opinion.

I didn't like how overblown and exaggerated things seemed. Maybe the author wrote this book years and years ago, because no one in high school acts like they way they do in this book? No one immediately starts calling someone a dickhead, in public, in front of everyone, especially not a new kid. No one takes a Sharpie and writes all over the new kid's face. This is like Mean Girls but for boys, and it is so exaggerated and infuriating.

Also infuriating - how much illegal and/or trouble-making activity goes on, and how Dan keeps letting it happen or not tell adults. You're fourteen, not twenty! Dan is a pushover and lets people walk over him all the time.

Which kind of ties into the romance - read this next part at your own risk - I kind of wish Dan would say no to Estelle more. She totally uses him at several points in the book! Totally not okay! And he keeps saying yes, because omg-she-is-paying-attention-to-me. Gee, I wonder why...

And then when everyone was blaming Dan for something completely out of his control... honestly, everything in this book was way too exaggerated for my tastes. Contemporary novels often aren't my thing, but this one was a different kind of contemporary that I didn't really enjoy.

To be honest, the story was a bit on the boring side...I like when everything is pulled together at the end, but most of the story is focused on Estelle and Dan's obsession with her, which I wasn't really digging. So I found the story a wee bit boring, unfortunately.

Would I Recommend It:

I personally didn't love this one, but it's probably a "me" thing, like I said above. Or maybe it just wasn't that great. It looks like it's a popular book, so I'd say it was just me. Contemporaries are hardly agreeable with me! Still, I'm glad I gave this one a shot. I won't be reading the companion sequel, Wildlife - especially from the sneak peek I saw in the back on this book! What is happening?!


2.5 stars -> rounded down to 2 stars. I wish I had liked this one! I tried though. The voice is very unique, the protagonist very original and likable, but the story wasn't that interesting to me, and there were a bunch of little things that bothered me!
Profile Image for Maggie.
415 reviews430 followers
December 4, 2013
Meet Dan Cereill.

Fourteen, smart, and totally adorkable. He’s also dealing with:

1. His parents’ divorce
2. ...on account of his father being gay.
3. Having to move and start a new school
4. ...because dad lost their savings.
5. Trying to shed his loser image and impress the girl next door
6. ...as he ends up answering to ‘dickhead’ in front of her on the first day of school.

Needless to say, things aren’t going well. After moving into his deceased aunt's house, the person he talks to the most is Howard, the judgmental poodle who came with the house.

Still, he has a list of six things, six seemingly impossible things, that he revisits and uses as a reference point to get through each day. For example, in order to cheer up his mom (#3 on the list), he confronts the school bully, Jayzo, about crank calling his house/mom's business.

Yeah, it doesn't work for Dan either.

Even as I cringed for him, I just wanted to give Dan a hug. I was cheering for him the whole way through and hoping that he'd end up taking the girl to the dance at the end.

This was so witty and heartwarming. I would be surprised that this is a debut novel except that the author is Australian. I appreciated how she tackled social issues such as homophobia without being heavy-handed or having her character rant on and on. Dan is also prone to typical 14-year-old petulance, but I loved his character's development. There was such a sweetness to how he liked Estelle.

This book may take some effort to get (Don't even get me started on Paypal vs Paypal Australia), but it's definitely worth it. Dear Dan, Love you big time!

This review appears on Young Adult Anonymous.
Profile Image for Ariana.
936 reviews1,299 followers
March 20, 2015
Rating: 5 shiny stars from the midnight sky and a litlle moon :)

Now six Impossible facts about me:
✔ not to want to read an Aussie book
✔ not to love a witty main character
✔ not to enjoy sarcasm and good humor
✔ not to love young love stories that make me smile laught until my cheeks hurt
✔ not to LOVE this story
✔ not to give a big thanks to my book fairy for bringing this piece of joy into my life
✔ not to realize that this is the seventh item on my list.

Dan put the cute into the cuteness and if I have to define in one word the experience of reading this book I would say: delightful.

The main character, Dan, is one lovely young man that had to grow up faster than he could blink or say "impossible". One day his life was perfect, the other day there was only chaos surrounding him - the family business broke, the father gay, the mother not coping, the new school syndrome getting to him, the next-door-girl crush impossible, making friends a distant dream.. and so on. All he wanted was to make everything right, to be good, but he was just a boy with a list of 6 impossible things.

If you think that this book is about him getting the things he wants (oh boy, you're such a genius) yes you are right. If you think (like my husband) that they are not really as impossible as Dan thinks, you are 'geniously' right again.. But my review is not about praising your cleverness (which of course I deeply admire) so I'll tell you what you don't know:

#1 This book is hilarious - you will spend more time laughing and cheering for Dan than thinking about his problems and how he will get out of them.

#2 Dan is not your average teen boy.. Yes he has issues, and he has lots of questions and no one available to give him answers, but what I liked more about him was the fact that he really tried to get his own answers - it was more like a trial-and-error kind of method that got him more into trouble than out of it, but it made him grow up through the story all on his own.

#3 You will love all the characters. One moment they are just strangers peeking at you through the lines, and then you will get so attached to them that you will want them all to be part of your life. They are young, they are full of life, they do silly things, they are great friends finding each other when they least expect it, and together you will have the time of your life..

#4 Parents are an interesting topic in this story - we get to know various types of parents and they deliver a great amount of humor. Also the kids are showing what I always say: don't let your kids do something and they will always find a way to go around your restrictions. I know this because I was a kid (we've all been) and I usually knew how to handle my parents such that I got what I wanted (no matter if they liked it or not).

"I saw Estelle for the first time that day.
She stopped outside our place and stared into the bare branches of the footpath plane tree. First checking there was no one nearby she turned slowly around and around, framing her view of the twig-snaggled sky with a hand held to her eye.
Then she walked into the house next door, half dizzy, smiling, and carrying my heart.
There’s this sky she likes."

#5 Dan and Estelle are such a lovely young couple - they will remind you of your first love, of all that clumsiness, of the nights spent thinking "does (s)he like me, does (s)he not", of the silly things you do when you're in love for the very first time, when you don't have any idea what love is, but your head spinning and your heart skipping a beat will tell you that you do.

#6 If you don't read this book soon enough, there will be a day when you will finally do it and then you'll think "Why in the world didn't I read it sooner?"

Now the tricky question: would I forgive the snooping around?

The rational part of me says No - No offence, I love Dan (in an I-want-to-adopt-him kind of way) but snooping in the attic is probably how Edward Cullen started as a kid and where did this get him? Let's hear you!..Come on, don't get shy on me!.. Yes, 100 years later watching his girlfriend sleep at night which back then I found kind of cute, damn it, now it totally creeps me out.

The younger self of me would probably say Yes , because you know how dumb you get when you are young and in love for the first time and you dream of your knight in shining armor. Dan has a word for it, in fact several words: "Lovesick, sick at heart, sick with longing, sick of feeling confused, jealous and hopless"... Did I hear a bell ringing or is it Christmas yet?
And I don't even need to mention that note he left. *sigh* Yes, I understand, but that doesn't mean it is not still wrong.

All in one, this was an amazing read, I loved every word of it and from time to time I got to forget how young Dan really was because he was smart for a kid and his sharply witty tone made the reading experience even better.


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Pre-reading thoughts:
Sending a big,big hug across the ocean to my bookfairy.
Thanks a lot, Jo!

This review can also be found at ReadingAfterMidnight.com
Profile Image for Jenna.
Author 4 books774 followers
November 20, 2017
This book is adorable. Wood deals with even the trickiest subject matter with heart and compassion and a good dose of humour. Six Impossible Things is funny, witty, lighthearted and just a lot of fun. Read it. Read it now!
Profile Image for Cath Crowley.
Author 12 books1,339 followers
July 31, 2010
I sat all afternoon today and read this book. It is so beautiful and hilarious and sad and sweet. I love it. I am sitting with it next to me because I am not ready to leave Dan and Estelle just yet.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,352 reviews199 followers
March 2, 2016

Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood is adorable, emotionally honest, and hilarious. I had fun from beginning to end! Sorry but…I’m taking the list route with this review. How could I not?! Dan’s love of lists is contagious. :D

Here are my 6 reasons to LOVE this book.

1. Dan. This boy! He killed me. Dan Cereill, our guide through this story, was brave, mature, oblivious and downright adorable. Even dealing with huge, difficult issues—new school, new home, money worries, divorce, bullies, and one big, big, monumental crush—he was sweet and hilarious! His goodness came through in everything he did.

2. The writing. From laugh out loud, self-deprecating humor to beauty! ---“the wind is scribbling the trees’ bare branches against a darkening sky”

3. Strong supporting characters. Namely Dan’s parents. Even though we never actually meet Dan’s Dad—he was there. You could see and feel him in his persistence and Dan’s hurt and loneliness.

4. Australian love. There is something in the water down under. Australian writers (the ones I’ve come across anyway) all seem to have this direct, gritty, powerful way about them. The emotions cut straight to the bone. I love that kind of writing style. No BS. Plus we get smart-arses, trams, jumpers, musk sticks and more. :)

5. Did I say Dan already? He deserves another shout out of love!

6. One of the BEST last lines ever!

Read this book. I’m off to find more from Fiona Wood.

Highly recommended.

Profile Image for Tina.
444 reviews455 followers
November 17, 2011
Original post at One More Page

Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood is a loose retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale with a guy as the main character. Dan Cereill's life just kind of fell apart. His parents split after his dad came out, they lost their family fortune, he moved to a new-old house and transferred to a new school and his mom opened a wedding cake business that was doomed to fail from the start. And then there's his neighbor, Estelle, who's caught his eye and his heart from the moment he saw her, but had absolutely no idea that he exists.

Oh what a cute, cute book this was. Despite the dreary set-up of Dan's new life, his voice was quite the contrary. Dan was sarcastic yet real, and he dealt with his problems with the best way a fourteen-year-old can. The humorous approach makes the entire situation just hilarious instead of pitiful, and at the back of my mind, I just thought that they would eventually get through this. As for how, that was the thing I was supposed to find out in the story. Since this is kind of a retelling of Cinderella, I liked figuring out what character was equivalent to that character in the fairy tale, even if it took me a while to figure out who was who. But even if you know how Cinderella turns out, the events in this story still took me pleasantly by surprise that, well, you just end up sighing happily by the last page. :)

The writing in Six Impossible Things was fresh and light and so readable that I never had a hard time connecting with Dan. Dan is awkward and dorky but still so lovable that I wanted to adopt him as my little brother or something. I think his may be the first time I will use it but if there was any character that fits the word "adorkable", it's Dan. Even if his crush on Estelle kind of qualified as "insta-love", at least on his side, it was still quite realistically done. Come on, don't tell me you've never had a "crush at first sight" moment with someone! :P Major plus points on how Dan and Estelle's relationship was developed -- it was about ten parts awkward most of the time, but about a hundred parts cute and "aww" inducing.

The other characters surrounding Dan and Estelle were a hoot too. I loved Dan's mom, in all her Radiohead singing glory (although I'm not really a fan of the band). I loved their friends and the guy who lived in the house behind Dan's new house and the bully. But most especially, I loved the presence of Howard the dog. Dogs in stories always wins my heart.

Let me repeat what I first said about this book: Six Impossible Things is a cute, cute book. This is a perfect book to read when you want to relax and laugh and feel the feeling of wanting to hug a book when you get to the end. Because that is really what you'd end up wanting to do when you're done with this. :)
Profile Image for Paula Weston.
Author 6 books850 followers
April 29, 2013
I loved this. Read it in almost a single sitting (stopping only for food). Simmone Howell is right: Dan is an absolute sweetheart. I love that he has such little hope of success, but commits fully to every challenge. And yes, I loved sweet little Howard too.

Fiona Wood's writing is sharp and witty, and her characters are so likable and believable. I laughed out loud more than once and enjoyed the way all the emotional strands came together. Like I said: I loved it.
Profile Image for Holly.
529 reviews62 followers
July 22, 2011
Fourteen-year-old Dan Cereil’s life couldn’t be more upside down. Not only has his father come out of the closet but he’s left Dan and his mum to move house and find another source of income after his company folded and he’s moved out. Luckily it would seem Dan’s great aunt Adelaide has just so conveniently died leaving them her historic home. Unfortunately it’s in various states of disrepair and needs to be refitted for his mother’s new wedding cake business. Compounded by Dan’s geeky and shy tendencies and his hopeless crush on the girl next door, Dan is doomed to never fit in at his new school. Being the straight, honest yet hopeful guy that he is, Dan has boiled down his life to six impossible things that may or may not turn out to be so impossible to achieve after all.

Loosely based on the story of Cinderella, Six Impossible Things is a cute, fun, lighthearted and readable novel. It was not only Dan’s witty, dry sarcasm and his bullet-pointed lists that made it likable and easy to fall into but also Fiona Wood’s concise, popping prose. The writing stood out as both effortless and striking, read with ease until you come across one of the many witty one-liners that stops and strikes you with its brilliance. As an experienced TV scriptwriter, Wood pens these so well. Some of my favorites from early on:

“Guys, please, one life-changing shock at a time.”

'She’s going to be making wedding cakes. It wouldn’t occur to everyone in the throes of a marriage breakdown, but we do irony in this house in addition to sarcasm.”

"My mother didn’t obviously hear my agonized moaning over Radiohead’s agonized moaning or I’m sure she would have been upstairs in a flash."

Further on I began to notice that many of these lines ended a chapter or started a new one and I looked forward to them with pleasure. From the get-go Dan is hard not to like. He’s geeky and kind and thoughtless and unexpected. His hopeful self-deprecation is endearing and makes his awkward encounters at school and his struggles to make his mom happy ever entertaining. A laugh-out-loud passage between Dan and the bully Jayzo:
He sits down groaning. We’re both panting and drenched in sweat.

“Are you okay?” I ask.

A sound escapes his blood covered lips. It couldn’t be, could it? A snort of laughter?

“You wimp, you don’t ask the guy you’re bashing if he’s ‘okay’,” he says.

“Not really, no.” I say.

I take off my shirt and hand it to him. He balls it up and sticks it under his nose.

“I’d keep going, only I’m a bleeder,” he says.

“That’s fine,” I say. I’m alive, and it feels like a miracle.

“That was a lucky punch for a loser like you,” he says. “You can’t fight for shit.”

“I know.”

As you can tell Wood also has a knack for writing dialogue that just shines. Dan makes light of absolutely everything, especially the fortune reversal that is his life. While this makes the novel easy to read, mid-way through I didn’t feel a real urgency to finish the book, I wanted him to take his problems more seriously at times. But Dan is 14 years old so his reaction to weighty topics such as his dad’s sexuality, his divorced mother’s mental state, and their lack of income is natural and appropriate. I’m glad I kept on reading because the ending was sweet and just as it should be. Six Impossible Things is recommended for fans of quirky writing, younger YA, modern happily ever afters and retellings.

Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,370 reviews918 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
August 19, 2015
So first there was:

It feels as though I'm thinking about Estelle most of the time. As though someone has changed my default setting to "Estelle" without my permission, or she's become my brain's screen saver. Desire has merged with a (completely alien) noble feeling of wanting to be able to offer Estelle my absolutely best self. The power of this is undercut by not really knowing what my best self is. But it's got to be more than the current sum of parts.

All this churning, and I haven't even met her.

And then:

Fred buys us Mars bars. He's fully briefed on my family's finances.
"Isn't this like pimples' favorite food?" I ask.
"Nah, that's crap. It's all about hormones and genes. I blame the Gazelle.

The gazelle being, I'm assuming, his father.

And then the nail in the coffin (around page 50):

She must have put her earbuds in again, because her mother turned up the volume to say, "How can you study with that thing on?"
"I'm not studying. It's holidays..."
Then her mother must have left, shutting the door after her.
"...you cow," Estelle added.

Charming. She sounds like my teenage daughter. Sorry, but pass. I'm too old for this shit.
Profile Image for Nicole.
123 reviews27 followers
December 4, 2010
What a great book! If Dan wasn't 14, I'd be majorly crushing. Instead I get to remind myself that I'm pretty much a creepy old lady now. Aussie YA is impressing the hell out of me lately. I can't believe Fiona Wood wasted any of her writing talent on Neighbours, practically sac-religious when you can write books this magic! Read this, you will love it!
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,671 reviews852 followers
April 20, 2016
3.5 stars

I am so glad that I made myself reread this book. The first time I picked it up - over two years ago - I disliked it. The writing was too quirky, the protagonist a tad too weird, the plot duller than a blunt knife... it wasn't a happy reading experience. But when I got my hands of the sequel - a companion book really, but let's not be picky - I knew that I'd have to reread this. It been too long and I didn't want to jeopardise liking Wildlife because I couldn't remember the characters from the previous book... and I am so glad that I did pick this up again.

The writing was perfect. I honestly don't know why I complained about it last time. Sure, it's a little simple but that's what makes it so fantastic. It manages to capture the perfect voice of a teenager - I don't want to limit it a male teenager 'cause I don't exactly have personal experience but it sounded spot on. It had the easy-going but raw and open tone to it. And it really worked.

Again, I don't know what I found so "weird" about Dan. He's an incredible realistic, relatable and adorably awkward character. His internal monologue had me in stitches - thank God I didn't read this in public - and other times I was smiling like a fool to myself because he just gets it. It had all the silly little things we think to ourselves written down on the page and I was nodding a long thing exactly, exactly.

So I don't know why I didn't like this the first time. It was funny, light-hearted, feel-good and adorable. The characters were spot on. The writing was pretty fantastic. On to Wildlife now with no regrets!
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 6 books1,204 followers
June 15, 2015
In Australia, this came out before Wildlife did, and I kind of wish the same thing happened here. While this is great read -- and I love that Dan's voice feels so 14-year-old boy -- it's not as strong as Wildlife and suffers a bit because of that.

This is a funnier read, but it has a lot of heart. It's a bit of a twist on Cinderella, down to Dan's name. There's a sweet romance that blooms, and the things Dan has to tackle, including moving, his parents' split, his father's coming out, entering a new school, are well done, authentic, and really flesh out Dan as a compelling, sometimes downright dorky, character. While I suspect many readers may be put off by what he does when trying to get to know Estelle, I thought it was kind of charming and funny in the way that's real to a boy his age.

A little reminiscent of the humor of Amy Spalding, in that sometimes it's laugh out loud, sometimes it's really subtle, and sometimes it's really about the heart and family.
Profile Image for Kinga.
680 reviews65 followers
October 24, 2015
6 things to treasure: love, friendship, family, forgivness, belonging, goodness.

This book portreys difficult times very well. For kids especially it's always hard when it comes to moving and anything that has to do with çhanging. The making friends part doesn't work for all of as that smoothly.
I love the aussie writing style. These types of books always leave behind a box of good. You know, it smells like the perfect combination of flowery perfume, some ornate left behind jewelry, an old coffee stained photo. In other words this kind of books makes yo feel eveything at one, and nothing at all. I know, confusing. But that's how I feel. Oddly complete because I'm happy for the characters but also wondering how they'll do in the future. It's oddly comforting knowing that beautifully written ords can make you feel so full.

Anyway. No more drama, sorry.

One last thing: I love Dan and I really admire him for making it!
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,381 reviews11.7k followers
April 7, 2021
I wasn't comfortable with how some unforgivable stuff was too easily forgiven.
Profile Image for Justine.
243 reviews132 followers
September 15, 2015
My feelings are quite mixed with this one. There are indeed heart warming parts and some hilarious moments. However, the flaws were glaring and I have a lot of issues with it. I know that this novel is more of a feel good, escapist work and I have no prejudice against escapist works. Stephanie Perkins' works had escapist plots that had the everything-went-perfect feel but her wonderful writing and gift for creating developed romance made her works stand out from the other feel good works. In this one, I was rather annoyed with several aspects of the novel and I will enumerate them below:

1.Dan's obsession with estelle.

It felt over the top. I just dislike obsession. I mean come on, you just saw the girl and then suddenly you can't forget her and now you act like a stalker? This isn't the direction that I wanted for this novel.

I believe that romantic development is something that occurs over a long period of time. It doesn't happen in an instant. And why does he keep on talking about estelle for several chapters? What happened to "plot progression?"

2.The message of the novel.

This isn't the direction I wanted. You see Dan is a nerd who badly wants to become cool. I understand where he's coming from because even up till now, I also want to be cool and popular in school. But what I don't like is how Dan started becoming more and more cool by doing work outs and weight lifting. I thought that the novel would deliver a subtle message that being a nerd is also cool in its own different way. But because Dan started becoming cool, the nerd image became even more degraded.

3. Dan's juvenile narration.

Well I guess it isn't the author's fault that I can no longer relate that much to a 15 year old who's a little immature and at times annoying. 15 year olds are normally like that so Im giving props to the author for writing a believable narration. Had I read this novel when I was at dan's age, I might've liked it more.

4. Cliched rom com plot.
This plot of a nerd boy falling for that perfect beautiful girl. . . . . . and the girl miraculously liking the guy back, I wonder where I have seen this. Oh wait! This is the plot of thousands of romantic comedy films out there (cough* she's out of my league cough*).

Come on! What happened to plot "originality"? Why does this feel like a typical soap opera? What happened to the concept of realism? The plot was too much of an escapist work. I mean in real life, it's unlikely that a brilliant, perfect girl would fall for a nerd guy. I wish this book had a better grasp of the reality that these genre cliches don't always happen in real life.

Highly disappointing. This book could've been a part of my favorites. At the first part, I was sure that this would garner 4-5 stars because Dan is just like me. I have almost felt everything he has felt back when I was at his age. I was also a nerd like him who was trying to be cool. I liked a girl and did things I never thought I could do just to win her. I understand all of that, but his narration just didn't work for me. He was always blabbering about Estelle for multiple chapters and it just weakened the plot progression during the middle part.

Perhaps if I read this back when I was in high school, it might've earned more stars from me. But now that I'm in college, I just can't tolerate books with immature narration filled with obsessive remarks. I guess I'm just getting mature for books like this.

I guess the author and I have a different sense of direction with a plot like this. I wish this book took a fresh new approach to typical feel good books. But alas, she went for the stereotypical, cliched approach. I will still be reading Wildlife though because I heard that the characters were more mature in fiona wood's new YA novel.
Profile Image for ALPHAreader.
1,090 reviews
September 17, 2011
Dan Cereill (pronounced ‘surreal’, not ‘cereal’) has undergone a rude awakening. At the same time that his mother inherited a heritage-listed house from her dead great-aunt Adelaide, she discovered that her husband was both gay and bankrupt and they would have to move into said heritage-listed abode because the bank was repossessing everything else.

And so, Dan finds himself living in a piss-smelling, run-down relic, not talking to his ‘out’ dad, about to start on the bottom rung at a new high school.

The only thing getting him through this teenage mid-life crisis is the girl next door, Estelle, a hidden doorway leading into her attic, and a list of six impossible things;

The List:

1. Kiss Estelle. I know. I haven’t met her yet. Technically. But it gets top spot regardless.
2. Get a job. We’re in a complete mess financially. It’s down to me to tide us over money-wise if my mother’s new business crashes.
3. Cheer my mother up. Better chance of business not crashing if she’s half okay.
4. It’s not like I expect to be cool or popular at the new school, but I’m going to try not to be a complete nerd/loser.
5. Should talk to my father when he calls. But how, when the only thing I want to ask is something I can’t bear to hear the answer to: How could you leave us like this?
6. The existential one. Figure out how to be good. I don’t want to end up the sort of person who up and leaves his family out of the blue.

‘Six Impossible Things’ is a stand-alone YA novel from Australian author, Fiona Wood.

I loved this book for its simplicity. On the surface there’s a lot of things happening in Dan’s life – his gay dad, bankrupt family, new school and first real crush. The book could have buckled under the weight of so many issues – but Wood handles them with a deft hand and earnest male perspective.

Dan is our narrator, and it’s lovely to get a male perspective in Aussie YA, for a change. He’s starting year nine when all his familial issues implode – he’s a sensitive soul who has spent the holidays crying under his doona and avoiding his dad’s phone calls. Perhaps to distract himself from the things he can’t change – no money, divorced parents, gay dad – he becomes a teensy bit consumed with his crush on the girl next door, Estelle.

This was a great and realistic way For Wood to explore such catastrophic issues. His mum’s coping mechanisms creep into the story, as does his avoidance of his dad’s olive branches and monetary decline. But for Dan, Estelle is centre stage in his new life.

I loved Dan. He’s a smart and sensitive young man, with a cracking wit that especially shines through when he observes the social structure of his new public school. Like his nick-naming of the transposable bracket girls (omigod).

‘Six Impossible Things’ was a wonderful Australian young adult novel exploring cutting-edge issues through a voice of lovable innocence.
Profile Image for Romy.
168 reviews15 followers
August 12, 2010
Congratulations are in order for Fiona Wood she has written a thoroughly entertaining debut YA novel which I devoured in only a couple of days. Six Impossible Things is a funny and poignant coming of age novel with a nerdy yet loveable protagonist who I have to say I have a bit of a soft spot for.

Dan’s had a bad couple of months, his mother is broke due to his fathers bankruptcy, his father just ‘came out of the closet’, he’s moved with his mother into an old house that’s cold and smells like urine, his mother’s new wedding cake business is not going too well especially when she’s talking all the brides out of marriage and to top it off Dan’s had to move from his private school to the local secondary school. It’s during this upheaval when Dan meets Estelle, does some morally questionable activities in her attic and comes up with his list of Six Impossible Things, but are they really impossible?

I just have to say that I adored this book, Dan was such a loveable character. It was really amazing seeing his transformation throughout the novel from a socially awkward teenage boy trying to make sense of his current situation to a confident and happy teenager. Dan never felt sorry for himself and he cared for the people around him, when he realised the financial black hole his mother was in he took it on himself to find a part time job, when his mother wanted him to hand flyers out at school for her cake business he did even though he knew it would be social suicide if he got caught. I found myself laughing out loud a number of times throughout the book at many of the things Dan did or said. My personal favourite was when walking to school for his first day, Jayzo, the school bully who takes a particular shine to Dan, calls out dickhead to get Dan’s attention and big mistake Dan responds by turning around, hmm now that I’m writing this down it doesn’t sound as funny but trust me it is I’m just not conveying it very well.

Whilst we only get Dan’s point of view we were introduced to a fabulous cast of supporting characters, who I loved just as much as Dan, including Estelle, Dan’s dream girl, Jazyo the school bully, Fred, Dan’s best friend and my particular favourite Howard, the dog who came with the house. I loved Dan and Howard’s interactions, it put a smile on my face when Dan would talk to him this really endeared Dan to me, I’ll admit I too talk to my dog sometimes.

Also, I just have to say that I loved that this book was set in Melbourne, my home town, I actually knew where some of the places were.

The Good

* Dan’s voice, caring and self deprecating with a really sharp wit = hilarious
* Supporting characters
* The setting *go Melbourne!*

The Not So Good

* Too short!
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