Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Impossible Music” as Want to Read:
Impossible Music
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Impossible Music

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  331 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Music is Simon’s life—which is why he is devastated when a stroke destroys his hearing. He resists attempts to help him adjust to his new state, refusing to be counselled, refusing to learn sign-language, refusing to have anything to do with Deaf culture. Refusing, that is, until he meets G, a tough-as-nails girl dealing with her own newly-experienced deafness.
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published July 2nd 2019 by Clarion Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Impossible Music, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Impossible Music

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  331 ratings  ·  102 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Impossible Music
C.G. Drews
I'm always hone in on books with disability rep because I feel it's way way underdone in YA! Impossible Music features a profoundly deaf teen. Simon is an ex-wannabe-rock-god who has a stroke and wakes up profoundly deaf (it's a very rare brain damage) and the story is basically him trying to reconcile his musician identity with being deaf.

It's obviously very deeply about grief. He lost a huge part of himself and he's struggling...and you really really feel the depth and aching of that loss wit
Feb 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher.

Nope. Thumbs down.

As a hearing impaired person, I am all for HOH/Deaf rep. I want it. I will read any and everything with a HOH/Deaf character in it. I will give pretty much anything the benefit of the doubt but most of the time, they stink.

1. This isn’t own voices. Which super bugs me because no matter how much research you do, or how many HOH/Deaf people you know ... you won’t ever get it right.
2.It focuses on a very, very rare form of hearing impa
McKayla Moors
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I have a lot of complicated feelings about this book. On the one hand, Williams's use of language is excellent. He crafts some beautiful poetry around the ideas of Deafness, loss, change, personal growth, anger, love, creativity, etc. Sometimes I would get lost in the words, words that sang off the page. On the other hand, the story was incredibly slow, and even though very little happened, it was difficult to follow.

To start on that note, there was absolutely no reason for this story not to be
Lea (drumsofautumn)
Nov 02, 2018 marked it as to-read
So uh.. this was one of my biggest fears for a long time so this novel intrigues me so much BUT it has so much potential to be harmful and I think it's not ownvoices?
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Utterly brilliant story of a young musician who experiences a rare form of hearing loss & his journey toward understanding the hand he has been dealt.

A longer review will appear on my blog, Kathryn's Inbox in early July 2019.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
I was talking to some students at school about this book today, I told them the premise, that a young man who loves music, making it and performing it, loses his hearing overnight. He wakes up in the morning and is totally unable to hear. This book is about his adjustment and him trying to work around the tragedy that has befallen him. He goes to a group for young people, meets a girl who is also deaf and they begin to form a relationship. I could tell them no more. We agreed that this sounded j ...more
Sylvs (NOVELty Reads)
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Look, I just finished this and I still have NO idea what just happened. Everything just passed by my head and I barely can even recall the plot or anything. In fact, I was so lost that I thought Rain was another character instead of the main character's last name.

Whatever you say I'm blaming the fact that the book starts in the middle of the story and I had to piece things together, something I don't necessarily enjoy doing. I thought this book would've been more about music but didn't expect t
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
If music was your everything, what would you do if you suddenly went deaf? This is the question Sean Williams explores in his gritty, upfront novel, Impossible Music. Questions about family, relationships, facing the future and following your dreams, even when they seem impossible, are the focus of Impossible Music. With a realistic teen male narrator, this book is gripping and compelling.
Gabrielle (
From's review by Leigh-Ann Brodber: For Simon, music is life. He’s the lead guitarist and vocalist in his band and life is looking good, until he wakes up and everything is eerily silent. Read more: ...more
Suzanne Rooyen
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Okay - so first a caveat: I am aware and disappointed to discover this is not an ownvoices book. I thought for sure it must've been because it felt real, especially to me as a hearing musician very afraid of losing my ability to hear. For this reason, the book hit me right in the feels. However, I now know that this book has been written from the POV of a hearing person imagining what a recently Deaf person might feel so I'm not sure how genuine this journey would be for an actually Deaf person. ...more
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read full review here:

Music can be transmitted through words. Not just music, but noise as well. If you find the right words and put them together, you will be able to hear a horse galloping through the green, windy mountain. Flowers dancing at the beat of the wind, bees buzzing from one bloom to the next. It is a beautiful thing to hear sounds through words, using past experiences and imagination as primary sources. I didn’t know, or maybe didn’t pay at
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: to-review
I haven't fully processed this book to give a full review but here are some thoughts I have for now:

Impossible Music was able to get to the emotional side of me. I felt Simon's anger and pain. Waking up and not being able to hear would be devastating. His connection to music made this point come across well.

The going back and forth between a couple of months at a time felt off putting. It just confused me and messed with my reading experience.

The writing of Simon's emotions and his connection t
Lexi // libraryoflexi
Aug 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
DNF page 130 (ish)
It’s unfortunate but I just couldn’t get into it. Didn’t enjoy the characters.
I picked it up because I really liked the idea but overall it just wasn’t for me.
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
The last thing Simon Rain can remember hearing is the music blaring through his earphones as he fell asleep. That was nine months ago and after suffering from a stroke in the middle of the night while he slept, eighteen year old Simon hasn't heard a thing since. Coming to terms with his diagnosis has been a difficult journey for Simon. As a musician, music has been his life and an outlet to express himself creatively. Now angry and isolated, Simon refuses to learn Auslan, Australian Sign Languag ...more
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
To read more reviews check out MI Book Reviews.

I got an ARC of this book.

I am not too sure how I feel about this book. It isn't the worst book I have ever read, but it is far from the best book. It feels like it is lacking some depth, but I can't say from where exactly.

The characters are almost 3D. Instead they have a lot of emotions, but it was easy to pinpoint every reason and action before it happened. I wasn't left with a lot of mystery. Everything felt like it happened just so and it was a
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This book was received as an ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

This was such an inspiring story that it brought me to tears. The story behind Simon and G and how they are so musically talented suffering from this illness that costs them their gift of hearing and still strive for their dreams. This is a story that teaches adversity, hardship, struggle and perseverance that
Kadi P
If there was ever a reason for me to stop reading in 2020 it would’ve been because of this terrible book. It took me almost an ENTIRE MONTH to sludge through it!

THIS WAS 320 PAGES OF MUSIC-FILLED OBSESSION. WHY AM I SHOUTING? BECAUSE I’M ANNOYED. This was DULL. There was hardly any depth to this book at ALL. The one recurring idea was that Simon couldn’t hear music but does that mean he couldn’t make music anymore? And then that question was repeated about 1 billion times. It was tedious. The mo
Bradley (AudioShelf)
Impossible Music is about a young man, Simon Rain, who suffers a stroke and ultimately loses his hearing. This causes Simon to experience this self-loathing when it comes to being deaf—he resists therapy, learning Australian Sign Language called Auslan, and even different treatments that are suggested for his deafness. His #1 passion in life is music and the book follows his journey in discovering that music is a universal language that all people can related to—even HOH/Deaf culture. He realize ...more
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this e-ARC via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I found myself enjoying this book far more than I expected to as someone who rarely picks up contemporary novels and knows next to nothing about how music is actually made. I thought the premise of Impossible Music sounded interesting and relatively unique, and I feel I was proven right in those respects.

I have already seen many reviews criticizing Impossible Music for not being an Own Voices story, but I thin
Greg Rumpff
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
So it would appear that this book touched a nerve. As many argue that the purpose of art is to both provoke thought (and just provoke), it would appear to have succeeded.

My perspective as someone from the hearing community:
1) I empathized HUGELY with Simon. As someone who spends insane amounts of time listening to, dissecting, analyzing and trying to dance to architecture (if you don't know what that means, Google "Frank Zappa dancing to architecture"), loss of my hearing would be a nightmare. I
Kasey Giard
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
The concept of IMPOSSIBLE MUSIC totally hooked me. I love books about angsty musicians, so I knew I’d like Simon. I like fierce female characters, so I suspected I’d like G and Simon’s little sister, Maeve, also stole my heart. She’s strong and sometimes pushy, but you really get the sense that underneath that is a lot of love for her family.

In terms of the plot, this must have been a tough book to write. I felt like it dragged sometimes, but I don’t think that actually had to do with the pacing
Jessica Madden
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ever since I heard about this book when it was first released last year, I wanted to read it. I was happy when I finally had the chance to read it and loved it. I was a little disappointed when I got to the end, not wanting the story to end.
Erik Fazekas
Jun 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: cannot-finish
DNF at 30%
I didn’t feel anythimg reading it. Just words with no feelings in it, thus no connection with character. Such a great opportunity that got lost.
Thomas Zemsky
I think a theme is to never let the darkness take you.
Alisha Brook
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 stars
Apr 11, 2020 rated it liked it
I was given an ARC of this book by the publisher after attending a webinar on the Young Adult books that publishers were excited about for 2019. We are reading and discussing this novel for the Young Adult book club that I belong to.

Simon Rain, an eighteen year old Australian teen, is preparing to enter university to study music. However, when he wakes up one morning, completely deaf after suffering a stroke, his world is rocked in unimaginable ways. "Impossible Music" is his story of coming to
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book SO GETS what it's like to acquire a disability. I'm impressed!!
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first audio book. The irony is that it is about deafness. A moving story that investigates many feelings. I find the characters very interesting and pleasantly unpredictable. Deep subject matter and an interesting story put together beautifully and eloquently, coming from a 17 year old guitar thrasher who suddenly became deaf.
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, read-2019
The fact that this was a hearing writer doing a whole book about how deafness/hearing loss is terrible and messes up a life (even if Simon does eventually come to terms with things and isn't entirely derailed from his plans) bothered me, but even leaving that aside I felt like the book was more about being interested in music/performance theory than it was about telling a story. So much more time and effort was put into describing the Impossible Music presentations than in developing the charact ...more
Emma L.
Jul 10, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Woaw this book sounds like my biggest fear is coming true. As someone who loves music, hates silence, and almost always has music on (but I still can't carry a tune even if my life's depends on it. I'm like music lovers and people who play music biggest nightmare because how terrible my rhythm is) so yeah becoming deaf and having to life without music would be a nightmare for me. This book has me intrigued and terrified at the same time.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling
  • This is How We Change the Ending
  • Deep Water
  • When the Ground Is Hard
  • Take the Shot
  • Ghost Bird
  • Invisible Boys
  • Detention
  • The Liar's Daughter
  • Fade to Black
  • Squint
  • Weapon (Whisper, #2)
  • As Happy as Here
  • Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories
  • The Year the Maps Changed
  • Ties That Bind, Ties That Break
  • All Eyes on Us
  • Monuments
See similar books…
#1 New York Times bestselling Sean Williams lives with his family in Adelaide, South Australia. He’s written some books--forty-two at last count--including the Philip K. Dick-nominated Saturn Returns, several Star Wars novels and the Troubletwister series with Garth Nix. Twinmaker is a YA SF series that takes his love affair with the matter transmitter to a whole new level. You can find some relat ...more

News & Interviews

  Award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa’s highly anticipated new book, Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America, arrives...
10 likes · 1 comments