Published by Harlequin on June 27th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
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“I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.”
India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.
But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…
Do you love YA? Then you 100% need to read this book!
Q&A Review by Angie & Liezel:
If you were a teenager again, how would you feel about your mom uprooting your life for a man?
Angie: I would be angry and upset. Moving away from your friends would be hard and to a place you don’t know especially with people you’ve never met. Everything that was familiar to you being ripped away in a matter of weeks. That would just plain suck.
Liezel: I would rebel of course especially if it took me years to build the “status” that I already had. I would be upset with my mother consider her being selfish since she never even asked my opinion or didn’t even introduce me to the new person in her life before agreeing to a life changing situation.
Could you forgive someone if they abandoned you for years?
Angie: It would be hard especially if I was India’s position. I also know that there is something freeing about forgiveness and even if it was hard I would do it just for myself.
Liezel: I would like to think I am a rational person and it would depend on the reason why I was abandoned in the first place. I thought India dealt with it the best way she could and that alone speaks volumes about this character’s integrity.
What did you think of the characters?
Angie: I absolutely loved India. My heart hurt for her and understood what she was going through. I felt her anger and hurt. She made me proud of how strong and determined she was regardless of what she went through. Eloise grew on me. I hated her at first. I understand why she was mean and jealous but it still didn’t make it wrong. Way before the end though she won me over and my heart was hers. Finn was the same way. He was complicating and intriguing. Misunderstood. I needed to know more about him and when I did I fell head over heels. These characters consumed my thoughts and dreams. I was obsessed.
Liezel: Every single one of the major characters was phenomenal. India, of course, gravitated above the rest. Come to think of it… she has to be the most level-headed, mature and perceptive teenagers I have come across in history of my YA reads. What she went through was horrible but instead of it breaking her, it gave her strength. I agree with Angie about Eloise and Finn but once you get to know them you will begin to understand their harshness. I loved how India broke through all that.
What did you think of the book overall?
Angie: I loved this book. I thought it was well written and addicting. Samantha handled the sensitive topics like someone who has been through what these characters went through. She opened my eyes and I’ll never look at some issues the same.
Liezel: I thought it was amazing. The reason why I delve into YA is I love reliving those days when I was that age and with this book not only does it do that but it brings so many current issues to the forefront – difficult things that I would have never thought of as I was growing up. It is definitely was an eye-opener of what teenagers go through today.
Would you recommend this book?
Angie: Yes! The Impossible Vastness of Us is a beautiful YA about friendship, love, trust, forgiveness, and moving forward. This is one book you definitely don’t want to miss out on!
Liezel: Yes! I thought this book was perfect. The Impossible Vastness of Us is not only just a beautiful story about finding one’s self, it was also about opening your heart for forgiveness, for new friendships and even love. For me, this is my favorite book by Samantha Young book to date.
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“Headmaster Vanderbilt would like to introduce himself.”
Headmaster Vanderbilt turned out to be a guy probably only five years or so older than Theo. I expected someone stuffy, pretentious and more than a little condescending, but Headmaster Vanderbilt—a tall, reed-thin man who wore a tiny pair of rimless glasses perched on his big Roman nose—was warm and welcoming.
His welcome, in fact, would be the warmest I’d receive that day.
My first class was Microeconomics and to my horror Eloise, Finn and their whole crew took the class. I hadn’t been expecting to see them all together in one class and while the teacher introduced me I had to quickly put my mask of indifference on.
Eloise didn’t acknowledge my presence as I took a seat on the other side of the classroom. My eyes drifted to Finn but he was staring at the teacher, almost too studiously, like he was trying to avoid my gaze. I shook that suspicion off, knowing Finn thought he was superior to me—I probably wasn’t even on his radar.
Not that I cared if I was on his radar or not.
My Microeconomics teacher was pretty cool and I got through the class not feeling totally out of my depth. I considered that a positive for the day.
Fiction Writing was next and Charlotte was in my class. When I walked in, her eyes lit up and I thought I detected the beginnings of a smile before a thought passed over her expression. Her shoulders slumped, and she looked like she wanted to blend into the background.
I decided to ignore her weirdness and waved at her as the teacher approached to introduce herself. The teacher saw my exchange with Charlotte and insisted I sit with her.
“Hey,” I said as I took the seat beside her.
Charlotte gave me a half smile, half grimace. “Hi.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t cheat off you.”
Her answer was a tremulous smile.
Encouraged, I nodded at her violet dress. “That color looks awesome on you.”
Appearing almost taken aback, Charlotte glanced down at the dress and ran her fingertips over it. “Really? Bryce said it washed me out. She said I look trash in it.”
Of course she did. I got more than a few mean girl vibes off that girl. “Well, she’s wrong. It’s really cute.”
“Thanks.” Charlotte gave me a shy smile before wariness replaced it and she turned determinedly to face the front.
Her body language told me not to push talking to her, but I felt hope.
Smiling inwardly, I faced forward, too, and listened to the teacher as she started class.
Two classes passed and I already had more homework than I’d ever had back at Fair Oaks High. I wasn’t freaking out about it just yet, considering I had no friends and no extracurricular activities to distract me from all the schoolwork, but once I did I’d have to find a way to juggle it all.
As I was walking toward my next class I noticed the glances and full-on stares from my new schoolmates. Their looks varied from curious to sneering and I felt a tingle of wariness across the back of my neck. Turning a corner on my search for my Modern European History class, I came face-to-face with my stepsister-to-be and her girls. They sashayed down the hall like an ad for a TV show about beautiful popular high school kids, long hair fluttering out behind them like silk, long trim legs on display in their designer dresses and elongated by their Jimmy Choo sandals.
Eloise saw me, looked right through me and kept on walking without a word.
My skin felt hot with embarrassment at her obvious cut.
I watched her disappear around the corner with her best friends before looking around the hallway. That’s when I realized I hadn’t been imagining the sneers of my classmates.
A sick feeling settled in my gut as I wondered what the hell was going on.