Trigger warning: eating disorder.
An hour before I was to leave for work, I received This Impossible Light from NetGalley. I downloaded it instantly, a move I would regret immediately – this is a book you’ll never want to put down. In that moment as I sat on my bed, the clock counting down until my bus was due, I was left considering do I really need a job?
(The answer is yes.)
This is everything I’d ever dreamed of writing and more. Lily Myers must have somehow found her way into my brain, grabbed my ideas and lay them out beautifully for me to read. There wasn’t a moment I didn’t find myself completely consumed in the life of fifteen year old Ivy. Her whole world has changed dramatically – her parents divorced, her brother moved out and her BFF has a new bestie. Everything is different, and Ivy’s eating disorder develops so she can regain some sort of control over life.
Written in free verse, this is close to being deemed a poetic masterpiece. Rhythmic timing and tension are brought about in ways no other form of writing could capture. I cannot emphasise enough how much I wish this was my own work.
As Ivy’s mental illness develops, you’ll wish her parents take notice. But her father rarely visits and her mother has her own issues going on too, so she’s not going to spot the warning signs. Ivy’s left to her own devices, free to fall into the spiral that is disordered eating.
What I truly love about This Impossible Light is the lack of romance. It’s so common to have a mentally ill person fall in love and then the partner tries to fix them, or often the relationship provides a form of escapism for the sick. But here, Ivy is left to be a normal (albeit sick) fifteen year old without the unnecessary thread of romance woven into her life.
Perhaps I’m biased, as writing a novel-in-verse is something I’d love to accomplish one day. I developed my eating disorder at Ivy’s age, so this was definitely one of the more relatable books I’ve read in a long time. It sums up the desperation to see the numbers of the scale shrink with your body in a way I’m not sure many people can capture.
By far, This Impossible Light is one of the most stunning books of the year. Already I look forward to reading it again. If you’d like to give it a chance (please do), you can find it right here.
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