Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Impossible Story of Olive in Love by Tonya Alexandra

The Impossible Story of Olive in Love by Tonya Alexandra is an Australian authored YA book that I came across thanks to my role in the Australian Women Writers Challenge blog. The premise grabbed me immediately — a girl who is invisible to everyone except her true love in a contemporary setting and with a blind best friend (who doesn't believe she's invisible).

I get that I’m impossible.

I get that I’m mad and rude — perhaps even a drama queen at times.

But you’d be impossible if you lived my life ... You’d be impossible if you were invisible. Shakespeare was an idiot. Love is not blind. Love is being seen.

Plagued by a gypsy curse that she’ll be invisible to all but her true love, seventeen-year-old Olive is understandably bitter. Her mother is dead; her father has taken off. Her sister, Rose, is insufferably perfect. Her one friend, Felix, is blind and thinks she’s making it all up for attention.

Olive spends her days writing articles for her gossip column and stalking her childhood friend, Jordan, whom she had to abandon when she was ten because Jordan’s parents would no longer tolerate an ‘imaginary friend’. Nobody has seen her — until she meets Tom: the poster boy for normal and the absolute opposite of Olive.

But how do you date a boy who doesn’t know you’re invisible? Worse still, what happens when Mr Right feels wrong? Has destiny screwed up? In typical Olive fashion, the course is set for destruction. And because we’re talking Olive here, the ride is funny, passionate and way, way, way, way dramatic.

This story is for anyone who’s ever felt invisible.

This story is for anyone who sees the possible in the impossible.

This story is told in first person by the very melodramatic Olive. It's reasonably fast-paced and felt very quick to read. In fact, it did not take me very long, even though I was at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki without very much spare time to read and not as much downtime as usual in the evenings. Olive tells her story in a pretty whiney and self-centred way, but it's an entertaining voice and she does get called on all of her crap at some point.

The only somewhat questionable aspect of the book was the "gypsy curse" part, but otherwise it was extremely enjoyable. The premise of invisible girl who can only be seen by her true love is quickly explored when said alleged true love shows up near the start, and Olive spends a lot of the book learning how to human, more or less. Only part of that is because of the invisibility; she also hasn't had much experience interacting with people outside of her family other than as a stalker.

Her character development was interesting, as was how the book treated romance. On the one hand, this boy is apparently her true love because the gypsy curse said so, but on the other hand, Olive is only seventeen (the boy is twenty) which is obviously a bit too early to settle down. I really liked how that and the romance generally was resolved (especially since it could have gone in several less satisfying ways.

I highly recommend The Impossible Story of Olive in Love to fans of YA and especially speculative YA. It has a very strong teenaged voice, so it's not something I would particularly recommend to general spec fic fans who are not also fans of YA.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: March 2017, Harlequin Teen (Aus)
Series: No
Format read: ePub
Source: Purchased on Kobo
Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge

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