Impossibilities, Eve Bayliss
The Impossible Boy
The Impossible Boy by Leonie Agnew explores the world of Vincent Gum, who is determined to protect his dear friend Benjamin from the consequences of war.
Vincent is Benjamin’s imaginary friend, who helps him make tricky decisions. Vincent leads Benjamin to an orphanage and Benjamin quickly makes many friends. Benjamin’s friends think that Vincent isn’t real and slowly try to convince him that Vincent doesn’t exist. Vincent is curious about his new environment and he wants to know what’s in the closet. The only way Vincent can survive is if convinces the kids, and even Benjamin, that he is real. Vincent faces the challenge of finding out his own identity while trying to convince Benjamin that he is real.
Investigating the themes of identity, friendship, courage and conflict, The Impossible Boy raises some very interesting ideas about war and survival. The Impossible Boy deals with the concept of war in an engaging way that is suitable for pre-teen readers who are looking for a quick read.
For the duration of the book, The Impossible Boy maintains a balance of interest for the reader and is somewhat relatable because of the witty and funny narrator. For pre-teens like me, books that you can relate to can really get you thinking and can change your perspective on different situations. The book introduces new concepts and characters at a nice slow pace that makes it easy to read and not too bunched. Apart from chapter 18, where it got a little bit confusing and some parts were almost unrealistic, I found nothing else to fault.
The main characters are all unique, have different personalities and make different decisions, yet the one thing they all have in common is the will to survive. This is quite powerful and moving in some parts of the story. I love how the characters develop and how it all converges at the end of the story. One thing I loved about Vincent is that he was strong and considerate. Vincent reminds me of many people I know and made the book even more relatable.
Since the book was written quite recently (2016), I find that it expressed what is happening currently in the world very clearly. For example, that children caught in war are very common in some countries and how some people are luckier than others. In New Zealand, we are very far away from war and we are lucky enough to have supermarkets and access to food and water whenever we want.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed this book because of how thought-provoking and creative the storyline was. The dialogue between characters is evenly spaced which helps make this book an enjoyable read, and I found the book descriptive in the right places and generally well-paced. I definitely recommend The Impossible Boy to my peers and classmates. I rate this book 8/10 because of how well it was written and how the style stayed the same throughout the book.
Eve Bayliss is in year nine at Newlands College, Wellington.