Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Quick Takes: What Is Possible?

It's a summer of impulse books from the YA display!

The Possible, by Tara Altebrando, is about a teenager whose life is being featured on a podcast that is kind of like Serial.  "The Possible" is the name of the podcast, and the teenager, Kaylee, is the biological daughter of a convicted murderer.

Mostly this doesn't affect Kaylee's life.  She lives with her adoptive parents and has pretty much a normal life.  She knows that her biological mother is in prison for killing her baby brother--she testified at the trial as a small child--but it's an old memory that she hasn't thought about in years until the reporter shows up.

Her adoptive parents are against her getting involved, but Kaylee starts looking into the rest of the story, the parts that her childhood memories have nothing to do with. She learns that her birth mother Crystal had been a notorious teen psychic when she was young.  It had been a national sensation, people trying to prove or disprove her powers. As Kaylee tries to sort through who her mother was, she decides to get work with the podcast creator to try to figure out the past.

This one kept me turning the pages--I appear to be all in for YA these days.  Kaylee tends to get what she wants, and she's kind of a brat as a result. And maybe, just maybe, she has some powers of her own.  But her investigation into Crystal's past keeps her life turning in circles around her, and my loyalties changed every few pages throughout the book. 

The most interesting part of the story, though, was how it traced what it's like to be a feature of a story like this.  She cooperates with the reporter, but she only knows her part of the story, and as she listens to the radio show each week (like Serial, the reporting happens in real time between episodes), the story ends up much bigger than she expects, and she's not always on the same side as the storytellers. 

Watching the narrative of Kaylee's life unfold with so little control for her is the best part of the book.  It actually reminded me in some ways of Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, in that the main character is a self-centered jerk who you still root for, and you're grateful as they develop some self-awareness over the course of the novel.

There's a final "showdown" that is so silly as to be unbelievable, but it's darned cathartic so I'll let it slide.  This book is definitely for YA readers; the growing up that happens here is real and pretty touching.

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