Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Fiona Wood
Dan Cereill has more problems than he knows what to do with. His dad just came out as gay, he and his mother would be homeless if they hadn’t inherited his great-aunt’s house, they have no money, his mother’s wedding cake business is failing, he is bullied and doesn’t fit in at school, his new dog (also inherited from Aunt Adelaide) is sick, and he’s in love with the girl next door. He doesn’t get why his dad decided to leave them or why his mom seems to be trying to sabotage her own business. In spite of having six impossible things to accomplish, from kissing Estelle from next door or talking to his dad again after he leaves them, Dan does his best to try to make new friends, help cheer up his mom, and find a new place to belong in his new life. Even though he started with six impossible things, he learns that if he doesn’t give up, living a happy life might not be as impossible as he thinks.
Dan has a great voice in this book, both snarky but showing how lonely and hopeless he feels most of the time. His love for his mother, even when they didn’t always get along and they weren’t at the strongest point of their relationship, is a strong point for the book with the realistic way it is handled. The other relationships of the book, like Dan’s growing relationship with Estelle and his old friendship with Fred, are believable and fun. The tone is lighthearted, even in its discussion of serious thinks like feeling abandoned by a parent and being horribly lonely. This book at its heart is a story about putting your life together and finding happy things even when everything has fallen apart around you, and for that it will touch the hearts of readers.
*Contains moderate language, mild discussions of homosexuality.