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Review of This Impossible Light

This Impossible Light
by Lily Myers
Middle School, High School    Philomel    343 pp.
6/17    978-0-399-17372-1    $17.99

Fifteen-year-old Ivy Lewis is a straight-A student who takes comfort in the familiar predictability of her sophomore year. Her father has moved out, her mother is slipping further into depression, her brother has left for college, and her best friend seems to have left her behind. Ivy appreciates the unfailing certainty of math equations — “2 + 2 will always be 4. / The quadratic equation always works. / Numbers keep their promises.” But solutions in the rest of her life are not so easily grasped, and Ivy begins to fixate on the one thing she can control: herself. Her body becomes the machine whose input of calories she will strictly limit for a more perfect output, powering through the weakness of hunger and fatigue until her concentration, her grades, and her health eventually collapse. This verse novel’s form perfectly mirrors its content as readers move from poem to poem, from thought to thought, following Ivy through the false logic that triggers and sustains her disordered eating — and into the beginning of the much more difficult steps of grief and recovery.

From the July/August 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Anastasia M. Collins

Anastasia M. Collins is a children’s literature scholar and academic librarian. She holds an MS in library science and an MA in children’s literature from Simmons College and the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature.

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