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The Impossibility of Us

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The last thing Elise wants is to start her senior year in a new town. But after her brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother move from San Francisco to a sleepy coastal village.

When Elise meets Mati, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Mati is new to town too, visiting the U.S. with his family. Over the course of the summer, their relationship begins to blossom, and what starts out as a friendship becomes so much more.

But as Elise and Mati grow closer, her family becomes more and more uncomfortable with their relationship, and their concerns all center on one fact—Mati is Afghan.

Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and ultimately hopeful, THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US asks—how brave can you be when your relationship is questioned by everyone you love?

305 pages, Hardcover

First published July 31, 2018

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Katy Upperman

4 books307 followers

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5 stars
359 (41%)
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313 (36%)
3 stars
130 (15%)
2 stars
38 (4%)
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16 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 204 reviews
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,711 reviews703 followers
July 28, 2018
Well, I went into this expecting a ball of fluff, but it’s not quite that.

I loved Elise and Mati. They’re both such good people and I truly enjoyed reading them figure everything out. She’s such a smart ass and he’s such a marshmallow and together they have this quiet intensity that I couldn’t get enough of.

Plot wise it was heartbreaking, but hopeful. There’s so much racism and it’s sad to know that this is actually happening in our world right now. It was impossible not to root for Elise and Mati just from their strength.

Overall, it was a slow burn with pretty words and thoughtful actions. This slice of time was fairly perfect and I’m happy and where it ended.

**Huge thanks to Swoon Reads for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,438 reviews234 followers
July 23, 2018
Buckets, people, I cried buckets of tears reading this one. It was emotional on so many levels. Upperman incorporated ideas of forgiveness, friendship, grief, loss, tolerance, and prejudice into a touching story of first love.

• Pro: What a beautiful and emotional story. My heart was wrecked in a bunch different ways, but also filled with so much joy.

• Pro: I must say, I was a fan of the book format. It was alternating POVs between Elise and Mati, but Mati's chapters were in verse, and they were really gorgeous.

• Pro: Mati shared so many wonderful things about his family, his religion, and who he was, and it all made me love him that much more.

• Pro: Mati's Baba was so fabulous, and I found myself hoping his treatments would work, because the world needed a leader like him out there.

• Con: I was a little disappointed, that in a book where there was this negativity associated with making generalizations, that the author did just that.

• Pro: The relationship between Elise and her niece was so heartwarming, and I got teary-eyed every time she shared those "daddy" stories. My heart --> 💔

• Pro: I was really impressed by the ending. There were parts I was overjoyed about, and others that I accepted, because it seemed, sadly, realistic.

Overall: A beautiful and touching story, which reminds us that love can transcend all barriers.

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Natalia  R.
283 reviews159 followers
August 18, 2018
This is one of the best young adult contemporary book I have read.I was expecting a light,fluffy romance but what I got was a beautiful,emotional story .I cried buckets of tears while reading this.I loved Elise and Mati as characters.I connected so much with both of them and really rooted for them to be together and was really pleased with the ending.
Profile Image for Tanya (Girl Plus Books).
1,002 reviews76 followers
July 31, 2018

Katy Upperman has done it again. As much as I loved her debut novel, Kissing Max Holden, The Impossibility of Us has more depth, packs more of an emotional punch, and made a visceral impact that had me wiping away tears.

Newly arrived in a small coastal California town in order to be closer to her niece and her brother’s widow, Elise meets Mati at the beach. Their tenuous friendship is threatened when Elise learns Mati is from Afghanistan but her hesitancy turns to acceptance when she remembers her brother’s compassion and the way he rejected intolerance and ignorance. But others are not so accepting and Elise finds herself at odds with both her mother and sister-in-law.

I should accept his invitation. It's rude, stringing him along, but I need to sort through the abundance of questions in my head: what his invitation suggest, who I am to him, who he's becoming to me, and how I'll deal with the impossibility of us.

There were so many aspects of this story that I loved – and each was executed so well. Elise was down to earth and completely likable. She was navigating her grief largely on her own since her mother had virtually checked out and immersed herself in her writing career. And at a time when she was still figuring out who she was and what she believed, Elise showed real maturity when questioning her own convictions and then holding firm to them in the face of opposition. She was a good friend, a loving aunt, and was willing to speak her mind when she felt wronged. And then there was Mati. It was impossible not to fall for this sweet, gentle soul. A young man with his own beliefs and convictions, who had seen and experienced much, and whose family had expectations that up until now he dared not question. Now in a country where he is faced with open hostility and suspicion, Mati finds solace in his friendship with Elise even while trying to reconcile his feelings for her within the confines of his religion. As an aside, Upperman even made me love Mati’s chapters written in verse, a format I typically don’t enjoy.

She looks out over the water, face flushed. I have flattered her, and I will never be sorry. She is fragile, and she is valorous, and for me, she is fleeting.

Upperman managed to engage my mind and my heart in this beautiful tale of friendship and first love, tolerance and acceptance. She has deftly created a story that is timely and relevant and equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful. The Impossibility of Us is one that is not to be missed.
Profile Image for Jaime Arkin.
1,422 reviews1,326 followers
July 16, 2018
This was such an emotional story… I don’t think I was expecting that when I opened it up to read the first chapter. Once I started though, I couldn’t stop and I found myself tearing through this in one sitting.

Upperman has created some really interesting characters with this story, and how fitting that we’re reading something like this now when we are seeing so much racial tension and negativity in the world.

Elise is forced to leave San Francisco for a sleepy California coastal town to support her sister-in-law and niece after the death of her brother in Afghanistan. Her plan is to ride out her time there and then get back to the city. When she arrives, she finds herself drawn to Mati. Mati is new to the area as well, visiting with his family for medical reasons. What starts as just a friendship soon becomes something more, but when her family finds out, they can’t see Mati without thinking of the death of her brother. Elise can’t understand why her family can’t see the boy beyond his Afghan background, and she can’t give up the one person she’s formed a friendship with even if it’s tearing her family from her.

Oh you guys… parts of this book made me so mad. The attitudes and the behaviors of these grown adults who were perpetuating these racist attitudes and beliefs just were so infuriating. I love that Elise never really gave up on them though.

Of course there is even more to the story than that, because Mati is from a different culture that has different beliefs and traditions and one in particular throws a wrench in any plans that Elise might have thought they could have.

If you’re looking for a beautifully told story of family, friendship and cultural differences I highly suggest picking this one up. Upperman tells a compelling story that you won’t soon forget!
Profile Image for Silanur.
239 reviews94 followers
September 20, 2017
Read this as a sensitivity read and really, really enjoyed it--I'll probably post a review when the publication date is closer. :)
Profile Image for Katherine.
770 reviews350 followers
March 6, 2019
”’What is your wish?’
‘You,’ I say. ‘You, always.’”

Me: Oh, look at this cover. And synopsis! This sounds like such a cute story full of sunshine, soft boys, and happiness.
Mati: Should we tell her?
Elise: Nah, let her figure it out for herself.
Author: Get ready, my book children. We’re about to break some hearts.
In all the instances where covers have deceived me, I don’t think one had deceived me quite as much as this one. I mean, look at it. It practically screams sunshine, unicorns, and rainbows. I didn’t expect it to be so serious and hard-hitting. It didn’t lie in a bad way, but it sure shocked the hell out of me in the process.

The cover and the summary say it all: Elise moves from the big city to a tiny town in Northern California where she meets a boy. They fall in love and everything’s going peachy, except for the little fact that said boy is of a different race and Elise’s family hates his guts on sight and sound alone.

Yeah, it sounds extremely cheesy and predictable. However, if you give this book a shot like Elise gave Mati a shot, you’ll be pleasantly surprised on how good this book is… and how uncomfortable this book will make you feel.

You heard right- I said uncomfortable. It will make some readers comfortable in their own privilege because they have never had to face what Mati and his family have to face. It will make you uncomfortable because you are forced to confront the reality that there are some seriously prejudicial people in this world who won’t change their mind on what and who they believe, no matter how high the cost. I can honestly say that this book made me feel a little uncomfortable because I grew up around family members and friends who have always been very accepting of others. I can also say this book made me feel angry because our world should not be like this, and yet it is.

Katy Upperman, instead of shying away from those truths, confronts them head on. Fiction is oftentimes a place where we go to escape the hardships and realities of this world. However, I think at time we need to see our world and our society is, flaws and all. She crafts characters whose bigotry and hatred is unflappable. She shows scenarios that show Elise and Mati, two characters from vastly different backgrounds, trying their best to fit into a world that doesn’t accept them.

Upperman also shows us that, sadly, there are some people that can’t and won’t change their stance on things. Ideally, this book would show us the ultimate happily ever after- where everyone in Mati and Elise’s world accepts their feelings for each other and lets them be together. I use the word ideal. Unfortunately, the world isn’t ideal and, as my mother always told me when I was younger, life isn’t fair. Upperman clearly gets that and doesn’t sugarcoat it for the readers, because there are indeed characters in this book who make up their mind about Mati and Elise and don’t change it. It’s a sad but true statement, and one that I think shouldn’t be glossed over.

Elise and Mati as a couple were completely adorable and totally shippable. They get off to a not-so-great start, but they are soon smitten with each other. They are young love epitomized, and while some adults may roll their eyes and say teenagers at the mistakes they make, they are totally understandable ones if you look at it from a YA’s perspective. They’re fierce and loyal in their feelings towards each other, and their interactions will leave you feeling ooey and gooey (they’re just so damn cute together, I tell you.)

Mati is the epitome of what a “soft boy” is. If he were any softer, he’d be a freakin’ Care Bear. I know some people like their bookish boys to be bad, but I’ll take a soft, tender-hearted man any day of the week. Mati is kind, generous, and loving. He bears the cutting remarks of the residents and Elise’s relatives with surprising grace and dignity. He is the complete, total opposite of what Elise and her sister-in-law think he is. In fact, one could argue that he’s a little too perfect. However, I think the author intentionally made him that way so that when he is faced with prejudicial attacks by others and treated unfairly because of where he’s from and who he is, we’d feel even more sympathy towards him because of all the injustices against him.

Whoever designed this cover is a sneaky little bastard, because it gives you one set of expectations. However, the inside gives you a whopping dose of truth. Upperman doesn’t shy away from the hard truths and struggles surrounding Mati and Elise’s relationship, but she writes in enough optimism and hope and characters earnest and likable enough for you to root for them to have a happily ever after.

Give this book a shot. You won’t regret it.
Profile Image for Kate (Beyond Bookish).
559 reviews134 followers
June 8, 2018
Really beautiful! Katy is quickly becoming my new favorite author. While your waiting for this beauty to publish (July 31) consider picking up her debut Kissing Max Holden, another one of my favorites!

Full Review of TIOS closer to the release date :D
Profile Image for Justine from Novels and Panda.
509 reviews226 followers
September 15, 2018
After Elise’s brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother moved to a coastal village. Elise was not pleased by the idea for she will now spend her Senior year there instead of San Francisco. Adjusting to a new comfort of living. When she met Mati, everything in her new world seems to be easier. Their connection was instant. They both found comfort in each other. But it will be not that easy…

It is told in two point-of-views, Elise’s and Mati. What I love about it more is that Mati’s thoughts were told not in a prose but in poetry. His voice in my head was like shards of glass that stabs my heart with pain and joy. He really has a way with his words. He’s genuine and frank, that will melt the readers.

Surprised by this book. It’s poignant, intense, and was swooning over the moon. It sure will stir and provoke your thoughts to question morality, upbringing complicated feelings over differences of race, values, and beliefs. With the topic of racism, it was explained more than enough, it was heartfelt, the way the information was feed to the readers was lovely and touching.

There were cultural differences and values between families. With all these contrasting beliefs, the juxtaposition posed was handled great. All were shown in the right amounts of it. The drama among, the camaraderie built, beliefs, the relationship with family and partner. And prejudices present in our society.

Like Mati and Elise’s lives weren’t effusive enough, Miss Upperman dropped another I-sobbed-hard scene, with Gram and Elise in the garden. I just lost it. Watch out for that one! I just have to get this out of my chest. Haha

I dare you not to shed a single tear going through this book. The Impossibility of Us is the whole package! It was a lovely read that will make you ache, leave a smile and feel hopeful. A compelling novel you won’t easily forget and would be loved by all reading age groups. I recommend it to everyone.

Profile Image for Lynda Dickson.
581 reviews57 followers
August 6, 2018
Just before her senior year of high school, seventeen-year-old Elise is forced to move to the tiny town of Cypress Beach. An encounter with a strange boy on the beach will lead to something she never expected to find this far from her beloved San Francisco. Will she be strong enough to overcome the prejudices of her family in order to seek her own happiness? And is it true that, in the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson, “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”?

The story is told in the first-person present tense from the points-of-view of Elise and Mati, with Mati’s story told in non-rhyming verse. This stylistic choice suits his voice, as the short sentences give us a sense that English isn’t his first language while, at the same time, making him sound poetic rather than stilted. The poetry theme is continued further by implying that his viewpoint is comprised of the actual entries in his notebook that, as an aspiring writer, he carries with him everywhere. In addition, the narrative is interspersed with quotes by Muslim poet Rumi. This book provides a fascinating look into the lifestyle and culture of Muslims and at the prejudices they must face in their day-to-day lives.

Beautiful and heartbreaking in equal measures.

Warnings: mild coarse language, sexual references, racism.

I received this book in return for an honest review.

Full blog post: https://booksdirectonline.blogspot.co...
Profile Image for Naomi Bates.
69 reviews44 followers
August 15, 2018
This book is more than just a summer romance. It’s a snapshot of real life, real prejudices, and being able to see the world through two perspectives. Upperman stitches together a girl who has lost her brother t the war in Afghanistan with a young man living in the US from Afghanistan. Elise’s voice is written in prose and shows the gutsy person she is. Mati’s voice is written in narrative poetry and reflects the person he is. LOVED this book about love, prejudice, and racism of two families and hw these teens transcend it.
Profile Image for (Love, Stars and Books).
248 reviews24 followers
July 10, 2018
(I received a free eARC from Xpresso Book tours in exchange for an honest review)

“If you think walking away now is right, go, but know you’re taking a piece of me with you.”

The impossibility of us by Katy Upperman

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Format: eARC

Rating: 4/5 stars


(DISCLAIMER: This review is based on my opinion only.)

After her brother’s death in Afghanistan, Elise is forced to start her senior year in a coastal village. She meets Mati, who’s family is visiting from Afghanistan and their relationship begins to bloom. But Elise’s family is getting more uncomfortable with Mati since he’s from Afghanistan and they bear grudges.

I really found Mati’s POV really interesting since it was written in a different format. I love that this book talks about racism and extreme ideology and addresses it openly. There was really good conflict in this book as well.

The impossibility of us is really meaningful and heartbreaking, a must for fans of contemporary novels. It was a quick read for me, but very emotional and touching at the same time and really shows that love does conquer all in the end.
Profile Image for Beth Summer.
Author 2 books41 followers
January 15, 2018
I was lucky enough to read an ARC and all I can say is: wow. I am a huge fan of KISSING MAX HOLDEN and already knew Katy Upperman's writing is on another level, but I'm still blown away at just how unique and stunning TIOU is.
First we've got the fierce romance between Elise and Mati. Their inescapable pull makes the reader feel as if we're gasping for air when they're apart. That's how good this is. Then there are the complex family dynamics, and the so very real characters Upperman is a master at creating (get ready to fall in love with both Elise's adorable niece and the cutest dog ever, Bambi).
If you love YA romances and stories of hope, rich culture, and the heart of what makes us human, you will love this book.
Profile Image for Marci Curtis.
Author 2 books266 followers
April 28, 2018
I wasn't prepared for this story. I had no idea it would be so emotional. It ran the gamut, from laughs to swoons, from goosebumps to tears. God, THE TEARS. I spent the last quarter of the book sobbing (no exaggeration). Because HOLY CRAP, I felt for those two kids.

There's this soaring, beautiful romance, for sure, but there are also so many powerful messages about loss, desertion, racism, tolerance, love, equality, selflessness, friendship, family, and kindness.

THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US easily goes down as one of my favorite reads of 2018. (i.e. I'll be standing in the bookstore, shoving it into stranger's hands the day it comes out)

Profile Image for Rachel007.
413 reviews47 followers
June 20, 2017
Agh this book is beautiful. Perfect for fans of Trish Doller and Sarah Ockler. I read an early draft and can't wait to read the final! :)
Profile Image for Aly.
2,619 reviews
February 14, 2019
I LOVED this book! It was the kind of read where I wanted to stay up all night to finish and couldn't get enough. I smiled and cried and felt so much while I read. I loved Elise and Mati together, they were just opposite enough but still had similarities, like their creativity and all they've been through. Elise lost her brother in Afghanistan and her mother has been distant since. Elise climbed into herself and doesn't have many connections to others. Mati has come from Afghanistan to America for his father's cancer treatment and is isolated here because of his ethnicity and religion. They both came together so wonderfully and helped each other branch out and be happier. I felt so bad when Elise's mom and sister in law were rude and racist toward Mati, but it was a great example of the prejudices people have.
This was sweet and sad and amazing! I definitely recommend!!
Profile Image for Forever Young Adult.
3,015 reviews425 followers
July 11, 2018
Graded By: Stephanie
Cover Story: Improbable
BFF Charm: Big Sister
Swoonworthy Scale: 8
Talky Talk: Surprisingly Deep
Bonus Factors: Open-Mindedness, Photography, Coins and Tombstones
Anti-Bonus Factor: Family Discord
Relationship Status: Serious Summer Romance

Read the full book report here.
Profile Image for Sarah  Bittel.
769 reviews12 followers
June 29, 2018
What a beautiful story... I cried and laughed and smiled and felt the heartbreak of these two teenagers as they fought to be together against all the reasons that they should be. Told in alternating voices and writing styles, Elise and Mati have a beautiful story to tell. Elise has recently moved with her mother to be closer to her sister-in-law and niece. After the death of her older brother in Afghanistan, Elise has been trying to survive and find her way. When she meets Mati on the beach, she is drawn to him but her family is quickly against him due to the fact that he is visiting the country from Afghanistan while his father receives cancer treatment. Their relationship is so well written and real that the reader is immediately sucked into the story and cares about what is happening to these two. Elise finds friendship with Mati and her neighbor Ryan, who is exploring his own new relationship. This is a story about love, pain and heartbreak but it is also a story full of hope that there is a way to move beyond the places and people that we are not comfortable with and may not always understand. I liked that this story showed both the pain their relationship was causing to Elise's family and Mati's family. I loved the writing shift between prose and a free verse poetry style. I enjoyed Upperman's first book but this second story grabbed my heart even more than her first novel. Thank you netgalley for an opportunity to read this arc in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Kim Owens.
160 reviews
July 31, 2018
This book was amazing! I found it to be realistic, eye-opening in so many ways and full of that teen angst we all remember.
The characters were beautifully developed, their dialogue so genuine that I found myself drawn into their world fairly quickly.
Elise is no stranger to loss, with a father that took off when she was very young, a mother completely absorbed in the writing of her romance novels, and an older brother killed in action while deployed in Afghanistan. In the summer before her senior year, her mother uproots her to move to the town where her sister-in-law and niece live.
There, she meets Mati, a young man temporarily staying in the US from Afghanistan, while his father is receiving cancer treatment. They form a fast friendship despite the cultural barriers that threaten to divide them.
I say this book was eye-opening because I had no idea what life must be like for a foreigner on American soil. I was clueless to the hate they are exposed to daily, the fear they experience and the risks they take doing the most mundane things, like walking to the grocery store. Having never been exposed to that sort of prejudice, myself, I have to admit that I felt ashamed of my blinders.
This was an absolutely beautiful book about overcoming those barriers and prejudices. I would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone!
Profile Image for Kath (Read Forevermore).
67 reviews19 followers
May 31, 2018
An arc of this book was sent to me by Swoon Reads/ Fierce Reads in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

OH MY GOSH! This book! I am an emotional mess right now! This book had all the "feels," which makes me so happy. The romance between Elise and Mati was just so strong, and their bond is so beautiful. Among the romance, there are lessons of family, friendship, selflessness, kindness, love, loss, and racism. This book was hard and serious, but at the same time was funny and cute. Absolutely the perfect contemporary romance book!

As this is the first book of Katy Upperman's that I've read, I am seriously so impressed! Her writing is just on a whole new level on it's own, so unique and stunning! The prose is just so perfectly gorgeous. Her writing makes me so emotional, and her writing expresses emotions so well. And her characters! They were just so lovable! They were so real, and I fell in love with so many of them. The characters had a complexity to them, and hard topics were tackled in this story. But the responses to these problems truly amazed me, they were so intelligent and thoughtful.

If you're a fan of contemporary romance, or looking for a diverse romantic read, this is the book for you! Pick it up, read it, and cry your heart out (it will be messy tears, I promise).
Profile Image for Helen.
884 reviews
August 24, 2018
YES! Loved this book about a lonely American girl falling for a sweet (and hot) Afghan boy who's in California temporarily while his father gets experimental cancer treatments. (Where is there in California that people can get experimental cancer treatments? I thought MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston was where the foreigners flocked?)

Mati has the soul of a poet (as we learn, his POV is written in verse). Elise is drawn to him in that bittersweet, undeniable way that anyone who has ever felt a deep, irrepressible infatuation will understand. Any time they're together, their nerves are alight. Being unable to touch is unbearable. And Elise wants Mati so badly.

This love story resonated with me in a way no book ever has before -- I met my very devout Muslim husband when we were students (of course, we were a little older than Elise and Mati), and I felt almost like Upperman was telling our exact love story. Like Mati, he also had to leave to return to his country, and in my case, I gave up my previous path to go with him. The last 10 years with my husband have been quite a journey...literally! Sometimes I don't know if I'd do it over again. But the way Elise and Mati's passion and emotion leapt off Upperman's pages, I was ready to re-live those early days with my not-yet-husband all over again. I've read Upperman's previous book as well, and she excels at portraying that all-consuming initial attraction that characterizes the first blush of love and the attract-repel conflict inherent to forbidden relationships.

I applaud Upperman for giving voice to a story in The Impossibility of Us that is still missing in the YA literature -- the internal and social conflicts that arise when a pious Muslim boy loves a non-Muslimah. The desire the girl wrestles with, just wanting to hold his hand or feel the touch of his lips on hers, but loving and respecting him enough that she doesn't want to be his spiritual downfall. The sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and vibrance with which Elise and Mati are brought to life make this a book that can't be missed. The tension and longing are palpable between this star-crossed pair. The setting -- sleepy beaches and cottages in small-town Central California -- breathes with life as well. I could easily envision Elise's early-morning walks along the beach, playing fetch with her labradoodle in the waves of the Pacific, and I could almost feel the spray of the sea on my face and the lazy blanket of the ever-present fog.

I could find no fault with this book and wish that I'd written it myself.

I especially like the fact that there was no easy resolution for the prejudice and discrimination Mati faces. Upperman portrays these problems realistically, showing that they remain a serious issue in the current fabric of American post-9/11 sentiment, and showing that there may not BE any compromising with some people (who continue to treat all Muslims and Islam with blanket suspicion and hostility). But Upperman shows in her novel that life goes on and that we each choose our own way, when it comes to how we'll think of and treat people who aren't like us.

I already thanked you today, Katy Upperman, but thank you so much again for writing this much-needed, very topical story and making Mati and Elise so human and real. I will be fangirling over these characters and their story everywhere.
Profile Image for Lily.
468 reviews22 followers
August 27, 2018
He steps closer, crowding me in the most wonderful way. He leans in to whisper, “What is your wish, shaahazadi?”
“You,” I say, without hesitation. “You, always.”

Beautiful. Amazing. Important. Heart-wrenching. Impactful. I can't say enough good things about this book. It broke my heart so many times but also made me so so happy!

This book tackles very important issues surrounding racism and prejudice. It challenges the narrow-minded opinions of those who judge a whole group based on the actions of a few. And it reminds us of the importance of not "walking through life blind." I think this is a very important discussion that everybody should be having. There's still way too much racism in the world. And there's been a number of books recently bringing awareness to racism against black people, but I haven't seen a ton challenging Islamophobia. But regardless of what race it applies to, I think everyone can learn a lesson from this book on not judging others based on the color of their skin, or the language they speak, or the way they dress, or what they believe in. How does any of that matter more than who you are on the inside? It doesn't. At least it shouldn't.

I don’t believe myself better than anyone else. And I don’t hate. Except... yes, I do. I despise the people who killed my brother, who fight and oppress, who punish with fists and stones, who launch rocket-propelled grenades at American military vehicles. But I also understand that the men who took Nicky aren’t representative of all Afghans, or all Muslims.

Elise Parker is less than thrilled when her mother announces they'll be moving to the small town of Cypress Beach right before she's set to start her senior year of high school. After tragically losing her older brother while he was deployed in Afghanistan, Elise has been struggling to move on with her life, and her mom believes this will be the fresh start they both need. Intending to spend the summer hanging out with her family, playing with her new dog and immersing herself in her photography, Elise is blindsided when she meets a boy who stirs unfamiliar feelings in her. Mati is only in town until the end of the summer, and as he and Elise begin growing closer, they soon realize time is not the only obstacle in their way. They also have disapproval from both of their families to deal with, especially when Elise's family learns that Mati is from Afghanistan.

“I believe in soul mates,” I say.

Her mouth dips into a frown.
“That concept seems... impossible.”

I inhale, and revise my statement.
“I believe two people, two souls,
can know each other instantaneously,
and recognize how each longs
to spend a lifetime devoted to the other.
Like when you hear a song
and feel its lyrics profoundly,
as if they were inscribed on your heart,
and yours alone.
It’s a connection that eludes explanation,
and defies logic.
It seems impossible, until it happens.”

From the synopsis, I knew this would be a good story. I just knew it somehow. I was counting downs the days until it was released and I read it almost immediately because I knew it was going to be great. However, I did not anticipate the emotional impact it would have on me. I didn't anticipate that I would be in constant tears throughout the entire book or how much I would grow to love these characters by the end. There's just something about this beautifully written story that worked its way into my heart and deeply touched me. I so often found myself getting choked up because it is so gut-wrenching and heartbreaking at times. But it's also so sweet and hopeful and romantic and filled my heart with so much love and happiness.

"Does he even speak English?”
I blow out an exasperated breath. “No. We’ve been communicating in Pig Latin.”

I adored Elise! She was absolutely amazing, one of the best main characters I've ever seen in a young adult novel. From the very first chapter I was already impressed with her attitude and the way she handled the news when her mom told her they were moving. Instead of getting angry like most teenagers probably would, she behaved maturely and even had compassion for her sister-in-law and niece. She constantly surprised me by acting exactly how I always wish a character would act in certain situations. And she never whines and she's not rude, despite the fact that she's putting up with a lot from her family. They were pretty hurtful at times. And although she did get upset with them, which is completely understandable, she was never nasty about it. She actually treated them way better than they deserved, in my opinion. She's just a really great kid, and a good daughter and a good aunt. I loved all the scenes she shared with her niece. Little Janie is the cutest little pumpkin and their relationship was so sweet and heartwarming.

I hate him,
but I hate myself more.
It reeks of weakness,
allowing prejudice to affect me,
to hurt me.
But sometimes ...
Sometimes I wish I were anywhere but here.

Mati is such a sweet and thoughtful boy with a beautiful soul. His chapters are written in verse and they were absolutely gorgeous! He has such profound things to say and he always has a notebook close at hand to write down his beautiful words and poems. His chapters never failed to make me emotional, because they were one extreme or the other; they were either so sad or so sweet and I always ended up with tears in my eyes while reading them. My heart ached for him over the treatment he received simply because of the country he comes from. I hated Audrey and Elise's mom for the way they treated him. And I hated everything he had to put up with from the people in town. There was one scene in particular that was so hard to read. I won't give away specifics but it made my blood boil. And what made it worse is that I know things like that happen in real life.

“Your parents are cool with you missing prayers? Hanging out with a girl?”
“Oh, totally cool,” he says, and then he grins, waiting for me to acknowledge his use of slang, I think.
“Nice,” I tell him. “Now we’ve just got to get you cursing.”

I think it goes without saying that I absolutely fell in love with Elise and Mati together. Their love story is one of the sweetest and most beautiful I've read in a while. It was so nice to see a healthy, mature relationship between two teenagers. They communicated honestly with each other and there were no games between them. Even when they got upset with each other, they never acted petty or tried to purposely hurt the other as payback. Nobody acted jealous for no reason, nobody had too much pride to admit their feelings, nobody acted super possessive of the other. Basically, there was none of that usual drama I'm so used to seeing in relationships between young adults. It was just a sweet and adorable romance with characters who cared deeply for each other and whose feelings felt so real and authentic. Their love wasn't without its angst, of courses, but that angst came from outside forces rather than silly issues between the two of them.

I loved how Elise never wavered in her opinion of Mati, no matter what anyone said. Although her very first reaction to hearing where he's from was probably not the best, it was only because she was surprised and overwhelmed and her emotions got the best of her. But she got over it quickly and her loyalty never faltered once after that. She stood by him, she stood up for him and she didn't let her mom or anyone else poison her mind with their negative opinions.

He says softly, “Kaishta.”
I recognize the word, the perfect intonation of his accent. “You said that the other day. What does it mean?”
He smiles, guilty, like he’s been caught with a fistful of candy, then translates: “Beautiful.”

Throughout most of the book there's an underlying sense that time is running out. Like watching sand slip through an hourglass. Mati is only in town until the end of the summer, then he has to go home to Afghanistan with his family. I gotta admit, I was feeling pretty nervous as we approached the end, because I so badly wanted them to live happily ever after, despite all the obstacles in their way. And I was anxiously flipping the pages to see if everything would work out somehow. I just wanted them to camp out in their turret with an endless supply of cookies and make wishes on shooting stars forever. I don't think that's too much to ask.

Walking, wandering, toes in sand,
how he longs to take her hand.
Dandelions, foggy skies,
sights now seen through wondrous eyes.
Glinting in a night of black,
thanks to her he can’t look back.
Take a breath, away they’ll fly,
up above the world so high.
Twinkle, twinkle shiny star,
she has marked him like a scar.

This might sound weird since we never actually got to see him, not even in flashbacks, but I really loved Elise's brother, Nick. Although he's already gone at the start of the story, he has a surprisingly heavy presence in the book. Elise remembers about him a lot and every piece of information we learned made him sound like such an amazing guy and a wonderful brother. It was really sweet how Elise strove to follow his example and become a person he would be proud of. Another side character I really liked is Ryan. He was the friend Elise absolutely needed in that new town.

I would have liked more from the ending. It was great and everything was wrapped up nicely, but it was a bit rushed and I was left with a few unanswered questions. But I can't really complain when the rest of the book was so spectacular! This is absolutely one of my new favorite contemporary novels and one I can see myself revisiting time and again.
Profile Image for Kylie Corley.
199 reviews22 followers
July 12, 2018
I won an ARC through a Goodreads giveaway. I think it was fast that I won this, too. Life has just been so depressing lately, and reading this was like a breath of fresh air.
It was beautifully written, and the words so captivating. The author did a great job in all the descriptions, I felt every high and low emotion of the characters.
Highly recommend this book. Definitely going to pick up the author's other book and any further novels she writes.
Profile Image for Marie.
479 reviews179 followers
August 18, 2018
I really, reaaally enjoyed this book. It has everything I love: great, endearing characters, a swoon-worthy relationship with the complications, emotions and everything else. I really had such a great time reading it <3

Read my full review of The Impossibility of Us on my blog.

Thank you to MacMillan International / Swoon Read for the ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, influenced my thoughts and rating.

My Blog - Drizzle & Hurricane Books - Twitter - Bloglovin'
Profile Image for Angela Cuéllar.
905 reviews96 followers
September 25, 2019
pooled ink Reviews:

I am SOBBING and I am SWOONING and I am SOBBING SOME MORE. I could read this book a hundred times over just to spend more time with them omg.

The Impossibility of Us is a beautiful but heart-breaking journey through pain, difference, and love, each moment carefully penned with exquisite emotion demanded by heart’s truth. It is a reminder that we cannot control the world or the pain it delivers, but we can choose to the break the chains it would have us drown in, because beyond the oppressive depths, if you can let go and gasp above the surface, there is an entire world worth living in and it is breathtaking.

Read my FULL review here: https://pooledink.com/2019/09/25/the-...
Profile Image for Maggie.
Author 2 books222 followers
January 7, 2018
Have you ever just hugged a book for a few minutes after you finished because you didn't know how to process how lovely it was? Yeah, that was me after finishing The Impossibility of Us. Katy Upperman has seriously outdone herself with this story. Not only is the prose gorgeous, but each character is drawn so complexly and tackles each side of hard topics like xenophobia, religion, and sexuality with careful consideration. Mati and Elise are two characters that I won't soon forget for their love, their unwavering honesty, and their bravery to stand up for what they believe in despite their family's expectations. Please. Read. This. Book.
Profile Image for Mandie Baxter.
285 reviews35 followers
March 26, 2018
I can not put into words how beautifully written this story is. Katy’s words swallowed me whole and spit me back out. Truly grateful to have been given a chance to read this story early. And I hope it touches the lives of many, many people after it’s release. Everyone should read Elise and Mati’s story.
Profile Image for Lola Sharp.
99 reviews60 followers
Want to read
March 6, 2017
I was lucky to beta read an early version of Katy's lovely manuscript. I don't want to say too much right now (full review close to release), but suffice to say I still remember some lines VIVIDLY because they were so pretty. <3
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