The Realm of Possibility

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Age Range
12+
ISBN
0375828451
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A Magical Novel in Verse
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5.0
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5.0
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When I'm reading a book that I plan on reviewing, I turn down the corners of pages with lines I particularly enjoy. With David Levithan's novel in verse, The Realm of Possibility, I wasn't able to do this because every single page would be dog-eared. He is such a talented writer.

In a series of interrelated poems, twenty teenagers from the same high school give brief insights into their lives and the other characters. The chart on the book's wikipedia entry is very useful for making the connections between the characters; I found myself flipping back often to see who was who. Levithan expertly threads the stories together. With long poems and beautiful writing, I felt that I knew all of the characters well and wanted more. This is what I was hoping for when I read Helen Frost's Keesha's House.

While I loved all of the narratives, I particularly enjoyed "Tinder Heart" which was written from the perspective of Mary, an anorexic. It is the only poem in the book which features only a few words per line, as if even Mary's poem wants to be thinner. This section features moving imagery:

"why won't they
leave me
alone?
don't they
realize i
have a
tinder heart
and a
paper body
and that
any spark
will turn me
straight to
ash?"

Another excellent writing decision was to have Jamie's chapter, "The Day" be written with the lines all beginning with the same letter. Jamie takes us alphabetically through the first day after his girlfriend breaks his heart, over the course of sixteen pages. I admit, I didn't realize this was the format until all the lines were starting with the letter "L".

There are so many other wonderful things I could write about, although part of Levithan's magic is discovering what you love for yourself. While the book is too mature for my middle school students, I will be adding it to my personal library shelf and seeking out other books by the author.
Good Points
David Levithan is supremely talented.
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3 reviews
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5.0
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sweeping universal contemplation on self, love and understanding
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"The comfort of knowing"

The truth is, as interpreted in the poetic musings and documentations in David Levithan's verse novel, The Realm Of Possibility, the experience of comfort can never be actualized, but will be eternally desired and driven by the agonizing discomfort of the unknown; for there will always be discomfort in the infinite mass of the unknown as well as an ever-changing world determined never to be understood.

As despairing as that may sound, there is consolation in these revelations. Where Mr. Levithan truly shines is in how he beautifully articulates the uniform search within young people for a defining sense of self, identity and purpose. Yet, what is revealed through this collection of twenty disparate voices is not how small and insignificant each and every life is, but how far our very presence, just by our mere existence, will reach and inevitably deliver impact on others. Through the poetry, journal entries, songs and haiku of twenty individuals with several unifying themes, topics and emotions, the author discloses to the reader that even as we feel like we are completely alone and that no one notices, our words, our images, our actions and even inactions are endlessly consumed by those around us and will imminently have penetrating impact on the lives of others.

David Levithan has wholly captivated me emotionally, intellectually and creatively in this genre-bending novel that is, all at once, beautifully lyrical, stunningly engrossing, devastatingly haunting, eternally poignant and deeply resonate.
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Enter the Realm
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Reader reviewed by Khy

Enter The Realm of Possibility and meet a boy whose girlfriend is in love with Holden Caulfield; a girl who loves the boy who wears all black; a boy with the perfect body; and a girl who writes love songs for a girl she cant have.

These are just a few of the captivating characters readers will get to know in this intensely heartfelt new novel about those ever-changing moments of love and heartbreak that go hand-in-hand with high school. David Levithan plumbs the depths of teenage emotion to create an amazing array of voices that readers wont forget. So, enter their lives and prepare to welcome the realm of possibility open to us all. Love, joy, and these stories will linger.

---

The Realm of Possibility is told in very brief poems and stories and though they are brief, they are written beautifully. I haven't read many books told in poetry or free verse such as this one, I don't particularly like it, but I still liked the way this one was written. I don't think it would've been as beautifully written if it wasn't in free verse.

Best thing about the book, hands down, is the characters. I think everyone can identify with at least one character. There are so many that each doesn't narrate for a while, but you can just see what each of these characters are like and find one that relates to you. I can't really explain it, but I just knew what each of the characters were really like. Maybe it's because they are a tad stereotypical? I dunno. Still, they were especially well-developed characters, considering the fact that each person didn't get a lot of words down.

One complaint: I got confused. They were so many people that whenever another name appeared I went back to see if they had written a section already. I'm pretty bad remembering names anyway, and the abundance of names in this book kind of hurt my brain.

Still, this was another wonderful book by David Levithan. I highly recommend it.

reposted from freneticreader.blogspot.com
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A book you will treasure, most definitely.
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Ellen

The entire book is written through brief, poetic stories, from twelve or more different students all going to the same high school. Their poems/stories all intertwine at one point or another, and it's fun for the reader to try to
find the points they intertwine.

I really love this book because ANYONE can relate to it. The students who tell their stories are so diverse that I'm positive everyone will find at least one character they can identify with.

It's a book that every high school student should read.
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