The Summer Of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman book review

Time travel is not consequence-free in The Summer Of Impossible Things

Time travel purists should probably steer clear of Rowan Coleman’s latest. Though its heroine, Luna Sinclair, is a quantum physicist, it’s not science that helps her step through the fourth dimension. Nope, it’s the power of love.

After a lifetime of struggling with depression, Luna’s mother recently killed herself. But she left a video for Luna and her sister Pia to watch, and in it, she directed them to her former home in Brooklyn – a place, she says, she never truly left. When Luna finds the building, it turns out that’s almost true, as the summer of 1977 still seems to lurk inside.

Somehow, impossibly, Luna can go back to the moment that ruined her mother’s life, and try to fix it. The problem is, if she does, she might wipe out her own existence. To make things even more complicated, she finds herself falling in love with one of her mother’s friends…

Coleman’s novel doesn’t worry too much about paradoxes, and it outright dismisses the multiverse theory. Theoretical physics are far less interesting than emotional realities here.

While references to the New York blackout and the filming of Saturday Night Fever are fun, it’s wrenching for Luna and, by extension, the reader, to meet her mother’s younger, more carefree self, knowing what lies ahead. And fixing the past isn’t straightforward either, so when Luna starts trying to tweak the timeline, things get even more devastating.

Carefully plotted and sensitively written, The Summer Of Impossible Things is packed with interesting, complex characters, and every single one of them comes with a full set of problems and desires. Maybe the final act reveal is telegraphed a little too early, but that’s a minor niggle in a book with so much heart.