The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day
Together is somewhere they long to be.
Ash Gupta has a life full of possibility. His senior year is going exactly as he’s always wanted-- he's admired by his peers, enjoying his classes and getting the kind of grades that his wealthy, immigrant parents expect. There's only one obstacle in Ash's path: Eden Moore—the senior most likely to become class valedictorian. How could this unpopular, sharp-tongued girl from the wrong side of the tracks stand in his way?
All Eden's ever wanted was a way out. Her perfect GPA should be enough to guarantee her a free ride to college -- and an exit from her trailer-park existence for good. The last thing she needs is a bitter rivalry with Ash, who wants a prized scholarship for his own selfish reasons. Or so she thinks. . . When Eden ends up working with Ash on a class project, she discovers that the two have more in common than either of them could have imagined. They’re both in pursuit of a dream -- one that feels within reach thanks to their new connection. But what does the future hold for two passionate souls from totally different worlds?
Publishes in US: September 6th 2016 by St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: ya contemp
Source: earc from St. Martin's Griffin via netgalley
Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free.
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I wanted to read this one because I liked that it dealt with smart kids who are from different walks of life. The hint of a new romance between the rivals for valedictorian also interested me.
To some extent the sound of Eden reminded me of myself. I grew up in trailer parks more often than not, had little money, wanted to go to college, was fairly good with grades but not as good as Eden, and I had and still have to this day problems with socialization. She is wary of others, keeps to herself a lot, and while our reasoning may be different, the results are the same.
Ash also was fun to read about. It's clear that he is under a lot of pressure from his parents to get good grades and they aren't happy with him being 2nd in the class. But his interactions with Eden are slightly awkward and she begins to see a side of him that he'd never shown her or that she didn't notice.
This was an easy read in some aspects, even when it dealt with some tough issues. Money is an issue a lot with Eden and her family and she gives them some of her college savings and it's hard for them all. Eden also babysits regularly for a family and the kids have really worked themselves into her heart. The girl, 10 is way more mature than she should be because the little boy, in 1st grade is a high functioning autistic. Eden in seeing his intelligence but also the autism that limits him and keeps hi in its cage has really made an impact on her and she wants to study special education specializing in autism.
Though it did begin to get really emotional and I am one who drinks angst like there is no tomorrow, so that was good for me.
I also liked that this book focused on family and friendship, showing that both can be imperfect but still present and a big part of the character's lives. Mundy is the new girl and she is bold in approaching Eden and doesn't let Eden use her usual maneuvers in order to evade the friendship. Its not perfect and Mundy does hide things that end up hurting Eden. But Eden also learns that even if things aren't perfect, and even if Mundy isn't going to be around physically for more than a semester, that their time and friendship still deserved to happen and that it was a good thing. Relationships can grow and change and often distance can be a factor, but it proved to Eden that even though her biological mother abandoned her and never looked back that it wasn't necessarily what would happen with every other relationship.
I liked how close Eden and her stepmother was, and how Marnie supported her and loved her and wanted the best for her even though they weren't blood related. Eden and her dad have it rough and there is some abusive tendencies there, but I also saw in moments that he cared for her, so even though it needed a lot of help and there should have been bigger consequences for his actions, that something might be salvageable.
The Possibility of Somewhere also touches on race and class, segregation and racism. It's not preachy but I do like that it is an inter-racial relationship and it examines the complexities and the stereotypes and parents that think they know what is best and push too hard. I did like that Marnie was accepting and just wanted Eden to have a man who adored her and treated her right. I think that Ash's parents, being Indian and also first generations to the US had a hard time at first putting those cultural differences aside and they treated Eden unfairly.
But I did like the ending, how it wrapped up certain story lines, how the couple even though young and in love, still pursued their college dreams, even while keeping things long distance and open for the future. I liked seeing the beginnings of change in their families as well. I liked that things were hopeful and open with so many possibilities while still giving me closure for the characters and the plot.
I look forward to reading more from Julia in the future, her characters left and impression on me, the romance was original and a slow burn, I loved Eden's inspiration for wanting to teach and seeing past Kurt (the boy she babysat for) difficulties and saw a loving child who needed people to love him, accept him, and help guide him through a scary universe to him.
I read this story in one sitting, and devoured all it had to offer. I haven't been much in the YA mood lately, and glad to read this gorgeously written book with characters that had a lot to learn and to offer.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you have any experience with autism?