Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 27, 2017
“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…
The Impossible Vastness of Us is a wide-reaching, hard-hitting Young Adult novel that bravely takes on varying painful topics. It’s moving and powerful and simply told. One that hurts to experience, but the kind that mends your soul in a very romantic, but tough-love kind of way. That feeling will continue to resonate long after the book has closed.
From self-esteem issues to the intricacies of status and the teenage ego, this novel traverses much without feeling overwhelming or shallow on the issues at hand. I’ve yet to read a YA novel like this with such closely-knitted female characters fighting the odds against them in becoming more than what is expected of them as ‘rivals’ or non-equals. Young easily crafted an entire cast of characters who all played their parts perfectly. I usually love novels for their love stories, but I have to say that while I loved the love story here, I fell harder for the bond of family, blood or not, that radiated from this story. Each character brought such depth and vividness to this story, a kind of 3-D nature to it, that it was a joy to experience every aspect of it.
It’s easy to connect with a character like India, even if your experiences were nothing like hers. Young made her tough, but likable, a hardass, but a joyful smartass. She wasn’t a typical YA heroine; her compassion and inherent need for justice never wavered, instead consistently proving her selflessness and rationality even in moments where it benefited her in the least. There’s something powerfully magnetic about that, something we can admire. What made her an outsider radiated strength instead of weakness, and those like Finn and Eloise were drawn to that.
I originally fell for Young with her earlier YA series and have been hoping she’d venture back to the genre one day; I can tell you it came with the perfect story. A beautiful cover that matches the story within, one overflowing with the beauty of love, family, and, most of all, friendship, The Impossible Vastness of Us was a poignantly moving and compassionate tale of acceptance, hope, and self-love. Love comes in many forms as does what one can take away from this novel. I could’ve kept going and I do hope there comes a day when we meet these characters again.
“Headmaster Vanderbilt would like to introduce himself.”
Headmaster Vanderbilt turned out to be a guy probably only five years or so older than Theo. I expected someone stuffy, pretentious and more than a little condescending, but Headmaster Vanderbilt—a tall, reed-thin man who wore a tiny pair of rimless glasses perched on his big Roman nose—was warm and welcoming.
His welcome, in fact, would be the warmest I’d receive that day.
My first class was Microeconomics and to my horror Eloise, Finn and their whole crew took the class. I hadn’t been expecting to see them all together in one class and while the teacher introduced me I had to quickly put my mask of indifference on.
Eloise didn’t acknowledge my presence as I took a seat on the other side of the classroom. My eyes drifted to Finn but he was staring at the teacher, almost too studiously, like he was trying to avoid my gaze. I shook that suspicion off, knowing Finn thought he was superior to me—I probably wasn’t even on his radar.
Not that I cared if I was on his radar or not.
My Microeconomics teacher was pretty cool and I got through the class not feeling totally out of my depth. I considered that a positive for the day.
Fiction Writing was next and Charlotte was in my class. When I walked in, her eyes lit up and I thought I detected the beginnings of a smile before a thought passed over her expression. Her shoulders slumped, and she looked like she wanted to blend into the background.
I decided to ignore her weirdness and waved at her as the teacher approached to introduce herself. The teacher saw my exchange with Charlotte and insisted I sit with her.
“Hey,” I said as I took the seat beside her.
Charlotte gave me a half smile, half grimace. “Hi.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t cheat off you.”
Her answer was a tremulous smile.
Encouraged, I nodded at her violet dress. “That color looks awesome on you.”
Appearing almost taken aback, Charlotte glanced down at the dress and ran her fingertips over it. “Really? Bryce said it washed me out. She said I look trash in it.”
Of course she did. I got more than a few mean girl vibes off that girl. “Well, she’s wrong. It’s really cute.”
“Thanks.” Charlotte gave me a shy smile before wariness replaced it and she turned determinedly to face the front.
Her body language told me not to push talking to her, but I felt hope.
Smiling inwardly, I faced forward, too, and listened to the teacher as she started class.
Two classes passed and I already had more homework than I’d ever had back at Fair Oaks High. I wasn’t freaking out about it just yet, considering I had no friends and no extracurricular activities to distract me from all the schoolwork, but once I did I’d have to find a way to juggle it all.
As I was walking toward my next class I noticed the glances and full-on stares from my new schoolmates. Their looks varied from curious to sneering and I felt a tingle of wariness across the back of my neck. Turning a corner on my search for my Modern European History class, I came face-to-face with my stepsister-to-be and her girls. They sashayed down the hall like an ad for a TV show about beautiful popular high school kids, long hair fluttering out behind them like silk, long trim legs on display in their designer dresses and elongated by their Jimmy Choo sandals.
Eloise saw me, looked right through me and kept on walking without a word.
My skin felt hot with embarrassment at her obvious cut.
I watched her disappear around the corner with her best friends before looking around the hallway. That’s when I realized I hadn’t been imagining the sneers of my classmates.
A sick feeling settled in my gut as I wondered what the hell was going on.
♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦
Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows. Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017.
Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for Hero. On Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.
Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.