A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life

Author: Dana Reinhardt

Publisher: New York: Wendy Lamb Books 2006
ISBN- 978-0-3857-4698-4
pages: 228
Author's website

Classification: Young Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary
Media Type: Audiobook/book

Grade level: 8-12

Reader's annotation: Simone is a typical junior in high school, thinking about college, not sure her best friends new boyfriend is right for her, wishing she had a boyfriend of her own, putting up with her younger brother who seems to be the perfect freshman, and now, meeting her birth mother. Life is fine, why would her parents want her to meet her birth mother so much? And why right now?

Summary: Simone grew up in a liberal family, with a mother who was a lawyer for the ACLU, who attended many a rally or signature gathering booth over the years. She is starting her junior year in high school ready to start looking at colleges and putting up with her younger brothers presence in school with her. How does he manage to become so popular so quickly she wonders? Her own confidence is not so strong but she has a very good friend who supports her, encourages her and keeps her going. It all is very typical except for the fact that Simone is adopted. This has been obvious - she is dark and the rest of the family is blond and blue-eyed, though she knows nothing about her birth mother or past, she wants it that way and has refused opportunities to learn about her past from her parents. Then that changes, her birth mother wants to meet her and her parents are actually pressuring her to do so now! Finally she relents and makes the call, and surprisingly it isn’t as bad as she thought it would be. She actually likes this woman and wants to know more about this part of her family. On top of that, the boy she likes is interested in her after all and things are looking promising. Then Simone’s life is turned upside-down when she learns something about her birth mother that is hard to accept. How Simone deals with this new twist is endearing and hopeful and makes one hope that all teens have the support system she has and uses.

Evaluation: Although some of the characters may be a bit contrived and not make “realistic” choices, Simone’s character is very real, and we really care about her and what happens to her. The author captures the culture of the area and a lifestyle that others from the east coast will recognize.

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I grew up outside of Boston, went to college in western MA and lived in NYC dancing for several years before getting my teaching credentials and unintentionally moving to Santa Cruz CA. Married and divorced with two kids almost grown, a daughter in college and a son in high school, I am thrilled to be a librarian now, something that I should have done years ago. I love the applications of technology and realize that I have been interested in that since my first computer class back in 1986 - a new requirement for teaching degrees. Finally I can combine my love of curriculum, educational resources, working with adults and children, and technology applications.