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A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,568 Ratings  ·  254 Reviews
Simone’s starting her junior year in high school. Her mom’s a lawyer for the ACLU, her dad’s a political cartoonist, so she’s grown up standing outside the organic food coop asking people to sign petitions for worthy causes. She’s got a terrific younger brother and amazing friends. And she’s got a secret crush on a really smart and funny guy–who spends all of his time with ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published November 13th 2007 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published February 14th 2006)
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Rating details
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Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book, contemporary YA with a simple yet unique storyline. Thoughtful and touching, great characters. Addresses a lot of important issues without being preachy.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This book was was good debut novel by Dana Reinhardt. I just love her writing! There were parts of this story I really enjoyed like the ones dealing with Jewish customs (Passover, Seder, Shabbat), Simone connecting with her real mother and Simone's relationship with Zack. There is a lot happening in this 16 year old's life.
Ginny Potter
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was just so amazing. It was beautifully written, the characters were so real, and the plot was just absolutely emotional. A Brief Chapter In My Impossibly Life may sound like the name of a book about a teenage girl complaining about how she can’t get boys because she’s “not pretty enough” (which it’s partially about), but it’s so much more than that. It covers so many important topics that need to be discussed but aren’t talked about nearly as often as they should be. Also, it takes do ...more
Tasha Baxendale
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
I decided to read 'A brief chapter in my impossible life' because it was highly recommended by the libray and it was apparently an excellent read.

This book falls into the category of 'a book that teaches you about a culture other than your own'. I thought this category was interesting as I learnt knew things about the main character's culture and religious beliefs. I have never really read a book based around learing more about famiy roots, history and adoption but I thoroughly enjoyed this nov
Dec 22, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This YA novel was the recipient of a few awards within the Jewish book community, so I was psyched to meet its author and get her signature while at ALA. It's a really likable book too, about an adopted teenage girl whose birth mother suddenly wants to meet her. I really enjoyed the way it all played out, though there were a few too many moments of Jewish education for my taste. I already know all about Passover and Hannukah, thanks, and I think the non-Jews in the audience don't need to be talk ...more
Mar 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
made me cry... not just cry, but bawl the whole last chapter.
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: freshman and sophomore high school students
Recommended to Kim by: Mark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy's Book Reviews
3.5 of 5 stars
Simone has always known she was adopted, but she's reluctant to meet her birth mother, despite her parents encouragement. She calls Rivka, who is a very religious, jewish woman, a stark contrast to Simone's liberal, atheist parents. Why did Rivka contact her now, and what is she, and her parents hiding.

I'd read and loved Dana Reinhardt's other books, though not her first, A BRIEF CHAPTER IN MY IMPOSSIBLE LIFE (ABC). The writing is crisp, clear and spot on. Reading the words Reinhar
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-492
I really liked this book. It’s realistic in its content and characters, and doesn’t shy away from depicting many things as they actually occur in high school society. Next to John Green, I think Reinhardt is really accurate in her depiction of teens, not just in the adjustments they adapt to but also in their way of thinking and talking. I really liked the main character of Simone, too. Being adopted, her state really brought more depth to the self-discovery that happens in coming-of-age storie ...more
Bronwyn Trusty
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I picked this book up for my daughter because she is adopted, doesn't know her birth-parents and we are atheists. When the book turned out to be a little advanced for her, I read it for perspective. While not being female teenager, I think the author has a good grasp of the thought processes of a young lady working through identity, religious, and dating issues. The main character, Simone, was portrayed as an intelligent, level-headed & articulate. The atheist aspect of her seemed unnecessar ...more
Mercedes Davis
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OMG. I have been searching for the title of this book for so long now and I'm so happy that I found it.

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

The ending was so sad but happy in a way. Simone had closure and
Jun 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Laurie's students
Good book, kind of a lame title (I think it makes the book sound more "typical" than it really is, and it doesn't really say anything about the story). Good for your Sarah Dessen fans, Laurie. Oh, and it's good for people who are interested in Jewish themes in kids' books.
Richie Partington
14 October 2005 A BRIEF CHAPTER IN MY IMPOSSIBLE LIFE by Dana Reinhardt, Random House/Wendy Lamb, February 2006, ISBN: 0-385-74698-9; LIB. ISBN: 0-385-90940-3

"So my free period found me in the gym leafing through pamphlets and scarfing down bite-sized Charleston Chews looking for some clubs to join because Mr. McAdams told me that if I don't 'diversify my resume' I won't get into a good college. The obvious choice for me would be to join the math club, but I don't even need to go into the reason
Kay Carman
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adoption and religion are two of the topics in this YA novel, both subjects I'm really interested in, so it was a winner. Junior Simone has always known she's adopted, but it throws her off balance when he birthmother contacts her adoptive parents and asks to meet her. What her parents don't tell her, to begin with, is that her birthmother, Rivka, is terminally ill and wants to meet her and develop a relationship with her, including filling her in on family history, before she dies. Simone is a ...more
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This, the first YA novel I've read in 2018, is also one of the most interesting I've read in the past few years. I'd advise parents that abortion, teen sex, and other mature topics seem to be viewed casually by the MC in the beginning, although the MC does not experience them. However, this story is about the beauty of an adoption that was meant to be for one particular girl child, the marked differences between the families involved, and a Jewish faith that found an atheist girl through her bir ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.25/5 stars

I really liked this book! It handled some of its sensitive subjects well, and the characters were relatable and likable. The writing style is easy to read and the plot moves along more quickly than you would think. I would recommend this book for 12-15 year olds, but I'm sure people of all ages would enjoy this read. My only critique is that I feel like Simone's initial reaction to Rivka was a bit underwhelming, but I now see that it was appropriate for the nature of their relationsh
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
It took be a little extra time to get "into" the style of this book. It is written from first person narrative and in her thought patterns. It makes it a pretty easy read. Read the summary. Spot on. The book takes place over a short time (hence the "brief chapter" in the title) and explains the Jewish ceremonies in brief detail for basic understanding. Good book. No suspense, thriller, but has deep philosophical thoughts on families, death and the meaning of community - if you dare to compare to ...more
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
This was a decent YA novel. The characters felt real, dealing with many routine details in the life of an adolescent while also dealing with the unusual (finding and potentially losing a birth parent). The emotional experience of the protagonist rang true for that age group and the plot followed a nice arc. I would still recommend to teens today, in spite of the pre texting era that the novel is set in.
Good storyline about love, laughter, grief, and restoration.
Jun 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Brief Chapter in my Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt is the story of Simone, a high school junior in a suburb of Boston. Simone has known since she was able to understand words that she was adopted. Her mother is a lawyer with the ACLU and her father is a cartoonist who spends most of his time at home trying out new recipes on his family. Simone has never felt a reason to meet her birth mother. Her history is here with her mother, father, and brother who look nothing like her. Simone has acce ...more
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
"When I was little I never played with dolls. I never had baby dolls with little changeable outfits. I never had a doll who closed her eyes when you tilted her head back, or said 'mama,' or, like Cleo's doll, peed when you fed her a bottle of water. (I always thought that was kind of gross). And I never, ever played with Barbie dolls because in my house Barbie was pretty much the devil incarnate. But I did have this one soft toy that I never would have called a doll, though it had yarn for hair ...more
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rarely do young adult books delve into meaningful conversations of faith, religion, and belief. This is the primary focus of this book. I'm not sure how I missed this one from Reinhardt. I loved her book The Things a Brother Knows. And this one was written 10 years ago.

The book also explores adoption, teen sexuality, and friendship without getting too graphic or angsty about any of the topics. Found myself smiling a lot and tearing up quite often too.
Megan Mann
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eng-492
Simone knows she's a little different. She has olive skin with straight black hair whereas her family is fair skinned with light hair. They never made a big deal about her being adopted because she's always felt this is exactly where she belongs. However, one night at dinner, she's thrown for a loop. Her parents tell her that Rivka wants to speak to her. Why would her birth mother want to speak to her now? After 16 years? She didn't need to know the story when she was younger and she didn't need ...more
Kimberly Hirsh
Apr 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simone's family is perfect. Her father is a political cartoonist, her mother is an ACLU attorney, her brother is a high school freshman with great hair, and she's a math whiz. Sure, she has dark hair, olive skin, and almond-shaped eyes while the rest of the family is blonde all over. But they're still a family. And that's what matters, right?

Simone's known since early in her life that she's adopted. She doesn't know anything about her biological family, though, and what's more, she's never been
Mrs Pearl
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author: Dana Reinhardt
Genre: Coming of Age
Rating: 9

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

I went into this book expecting not to like it. I'm not sure why I did, but perhaps its because the premise of the story did not really appe
Linda Ash
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful story, very touching, funny in places, and a delight to read. Dana Reinhardt's writing comes across with enviable ease. The story centers around Simone, a teen who knows she was adopted, knows nothing about her birth mother, and wants to keep it that way.

During her junior year of high school, her birth mother suddenly iniatiates contact. Simone's parents encourage her to follow through with the contact, but Simone is fighting the subtle arguments. As with all teens, Simone's
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A Brief Chapter in my Impossible Life" by Dana Reinhardt depicts several months in the life of adopted 16 year old teenage girl named Simone. She's an atheist and an activist living with her mom, dad, and perfect star-athlete younger brother. Simone has always known she was adopted, but never pushed the issue any further. She has no desire to meet her birth mother. Then Simone's birth mother, Rivka calls and leaves a phone number. Simone is surprised at how firmly her parents encourage to reach ...more
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ok, the title makes you think, "woah, somebodies got stress issues".. yet no, the title doesn't speak for this outstanding book. I mean, i just love books like these. It's about a girl whos a junior in high school (11th grade) and finds herself caught in a situation with her "birth-mother" (weird...) you see, her mom was a teenager and had had her and hid it from her dad, who is the ruler of this Jewish company thing, and the teenager gives the baby to a friend, which becomes the babies mother, ...more
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Why don't you have a bio section?

Because I hate writing about myself.

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

Maybe. Probably. Go on...

So where are you from?

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

What are you doing when you aren't writing?

Laundry, usually. Sometimes dishes. And I re
More about Dana Reinhardt...

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