Amelia Westlake meets My Favorite Murder in this debut from a terrific new voice in Australian YA. Combines a realistic story about high school drama and toxic friendship with true crime - the endlessly fascinating Somerton Man or Taman Shud mystery. 15-year-old Lara Laylor feels like supporting character in her own life. She's Ashley's best friend, she's Hannah's sister - she's never just Lara.
When new history teacher Mr. Grant gives her an unusual assignment: investigating the mystery of the Somerton Man. Found dead in on an Adelaide beach in 1948, a half-smoked cigarette still in his mouth and the labels cut out of his clothes, the Somerton Man has intrigued people for years. Was he a spy? A criminal?
Year 10 has plenty of mysteries of its own: boys, drama queen friends, and enigmatic new students. When they seem just as unsolvable as a 60-year-old cold case, Lara finds herself spending more and more time on the assignment. But Mr Grant himself may be the biggest mystery of all...
Interspersed with fictionalised snapshots of the Somerton Man investigation, ALL THAT IMPOSSIBLE SPACE is a coming of age novel exploring toxic friendships and the balance of power between teacher and student, perfect for fans of Cath Crowley and Fiona Wood.
The setting is Year 10 in a private girls’ school in Melbourne. Lara and Ash have been best friends forever and are looking forward to the school highlight, the Year 10 musical with the boys from St John’s. But this is Lara’s story, and she is really only auditioning for Ash, Lara really prefers running.
Enter a mysterious new history teacher, Mr Grant, whose project on real life mysteries becomes an obsession of Lara’s as she delves into the perplexing death of the still unidentified ‘Somerton Man’ on an Adelaide beach in 1948.
A new girl Kate arrives, and clicks with Lara. In addition to her new friendship she also has a growing romance with Jos from St John’s. Will these new relationships throw a spanner in her forever subservient friendship with Ash?
Lara deals with trying to find her place within her own family, with her friends, and in her potentially inappropriate relationship with Mr Grant.
This is a wonderful debut novel, full of teen issues - toxic friendships, family, love and most importantly the discovery of your own identity.
A great read that will be best appreciated by girls 14 and older.
Reviewed by Rob