Review: Impossible Music by Sean Williams

Impossible Music by Sean Williams cover shows a silhouette of a boy with an ear bud cord wrapped around his face and wrists.

Impossible Music
Sean Williams
Clarion Books
Published July 2, 2019

Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads


Before the stroke that left him deaf, music was Simon’s life. Now, his band breaks up and even his future college career studying musical composition is in jeopardy. How can a deaf student study music?

The only bright spot in all of it is a fierce girl Simon meets at Auslan class, where he learns sign language to communicate. G seems just as angry to be there as Simon feels, and the two strike up a friendship that inspires Simon to find new ways to pursue music. He begins developing ideas that would allow Deaf and hearing audience members to experience music in the same way, desperately hoping to impress a music professor in a composition program that Simon hopes to enter.

Impossible Music on Goodreads

My Review

The concept of IMPOSSIBLE MUSIC totally hooked me. I love books about angsty musicians, so I knew I’d like Simon. I like fierce female characters, so I suspected I’d like G and Simon’s little sister, Maeve, also stole my heart. She’s strong and sometimes pushy, but you really get the sense that underneath that is a lot of love for her family.

In terms of the plot, this must have been a tough book to write. I felt like it dragged sometimes, but I don’t think that actually had to do with the pacing of the plot. I think it had more to do with the stakes. Simon’s goal is to find a way to celebrate/study/participate in music as a young deaf man. If he fails, he’ll be very sad. It’s not that that isn’t compelling. But I didn’t feel like the stakes ratcheted up as the story progressed.

I like the way the story braids together Simon’s love for music and his love for G. In lots of ways her emotional journey seems to be a mirror of his, sometimes revealing things to Simon that he wasn’t ready to face about himself. But she also calls him out on things he’s not ready to face, too. They make a good pair.

Readers who liked THE SCAR BOYS by Len Vlahos will like the gritty, emotional writing and the “diary of a band boy” style of the story.

Impossible Music on Amazon

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Simon and G are Deaf. IMPOSSIBLE MUSIC is set in Australia.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used frequently. I struggled with the amount of swearing in the book, I think because it really felt gratuitous to me.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. Simon and G spend nights together, and it’s hinted that they’re having sex but not explicitly described.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
References to a suicide attempt.

Drug Content
Simon and his friends drink alcohol, which is legal at eighteen in Australia.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog. I received a free copy of IMPOSSIBLE MUSIC in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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