*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: Impossible Music
Author: Sean Williams
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Music is Simon’s life—which is why he is devastated when a stroke destroys his hearing. He resists attempts to help him adjust to his new state, refusing to be counselled, refusing to learn sign-language, refusing to have anything to do with Deaf culture. Refusing, that is, until he meets G, a tough-as-nails girl dealing with her own newly-experienced deafness.
What would you do if the one thing that defined your very being was suddenly and without warning, no longer accessible to you? Simon lives and breathes music. He inherited his gift for guitar from his father, a famous musician. A sudden stroke robs Simon of his dreams for his future and his subsequent anger and frustration isolates him from the Deaf community that he’s suddenly a part of. His denial sets him apart as he tries to work through his grief and loss at the sudden changes. But what Simon must learn is that he’s not the only one who is struggling. As much as his own world is falling apart, there are others in his life who know exactly every feeling and emotion that he’s experiencing, as they too are forced to deal with similar losses.
Simon is quite a compelling character. In many ways, he’s a typical teenager: uncertain of his future, seeking out his own identity and independence, and really just wanting to do this own thing. We don’t get to know too much about him before his stroke, but we do get an intimate look into the aftereffects and the trauma that he deals with. Impossible Music is Simon’s journey to heal and to discover his next path. It’s his own coming of age story, but it’s so different to anything he ever expected. Simon is creative and driven to succeed, despite the difficulties he faces. His humour and sarcasm brings him to life, creating a sense of realness in his experiences.
He befriends a girl named G–George–who opposite to Simon, has not experienced a loss of all sound, but an over abundance and cacophony of sound known as tinnitus. For G, there is no relief, but unlike Simon, she embraces the Deaf community as a lifeline. I would have really liked to get to know G in more depth. This book would have benefited from chapters told in her voice. Instead, we only get to know her so much as Simon cares to know here, thus her voice comes through a biased lens. Simon’s romantic interest means we come to understand her personal struggles deeply, but often the motivation behind her words is lost. I felt in many cases, although I knew G was struggling, I found her to be self-serving and unforgiving of Simon’s faults, although she herself was rife with them. G’s anger at her situation sometimes blinds her to Simon’s journey to heal and seek new direction.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad read. It’s nice to see a story in the YA market that breaks out of the fantasy or supernatural mold and speaks to something a bit less explored: finding peace when adversity strikes and understanding that life is what you make it. Although we may not always choose the path before us, we can make the best of it. We decide who we want to be.