The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young
Published by HQ YA Australia on June 19 2017
Genres: Young adult, contemporary, romance
I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.
India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.
But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…
I was kindly sent an e-arc of this book in via NetGalley exchange for an honest review
The Impossible Vastness of Us is an alluring novel that traverses the lives of Boston’s blue-bloods. Replete with hidden secrets, plot twists and immense character growth, it is a book that will essentially alter your perception of the privileged.
The novel surrounds the protagonist, India, who is thrust into the stratosphere of Boston after her mum marries the incredibly affluent and renowned Theo Fairweather. This stark change for India, from her small and treacherous beginnings in a town in California, is monumental, and she diligently works her way to bridge the gap between her two lives. Personally, India was the most likeable character within the book, from the get-go I knew her personality would get her places. She was defiant, driven, independent and mature, when she knew what she wanted, she would go for it, without question. I had an unpleasant first impression of Eloise, India’s step-sister to be, I was adamant I disliked her and her air of superiority. However, as she gradually began to open up and show her sensitive side, I realised that my perception of Eloise and her true self were two conflicting images. The same happened with Finn, as he exposed his more vulnerabilities, I began to become aware that the lives of Boston’s elite wasn’t all picture perfect. The character growth India, Eloise and Finn undergo is enormous, and their authenticity that was presented toward the end made this story more substantial and concrete. There were also a few facets of diversity present within the book including an LGBTQ+ character.
There is a relationship present within the book, at the beginning it was adoring and cute. However, as we got further into the book, I found myself becoming less invested in the romance. For one of the characters, the romance became the end-all and be-all for them, they were absolutely infatuated and I found this to be slightly irritating, as I don’t enjoy seeing characters become consumed by their love for someone. It’s important that they make their own decisions and their actions aren’t solely focused around their relationship.
As The Impossible Vastness of Us is centred around Boston’s upper-class adolescents, it is inevitable that this book contains gossip, scandal, deceit and a great deal of drama. Usually, I’m not the one to enjoy a good dose of petty teenage drama, however, this worked for me and I didn’t necessarily find myself getting frustrated or bothered by the dramatics. Instead, I found it to be essential in the unearthing of secrets, fuelling character growth and development. There were a number of plot twists that took me by surprise and added an air of astonishment to the story. However, despite the rumours and drama, there were topics of importance that were touched upon and explored in some depth. Issues that were brought to attention included abuse, family relationships, privilege and sexuality. Samantha Young, integrated these topics seamlessly into the story itself, making the discussions seem natural and unforced.
Overall, on the surface The Impossible Vastness of Us is an entertaining read, illuminating the lives of highly privileged teenagers. However, as you begin to dig deeper, there are more significant aspects that are uncovered and important topics that are discussed.
Have you read The Impossible Vastness of us or any other Samantha Young novel? let me know!