Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Werlin, Nancy. 2008. IMPOSSIBLE. New York: Dial. ISBN 9780803730021 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]

Lucy Scarborough’s mother Miranda is a crazy street person and as Lucy nears seventeen, keeps reappearing into her life both scaring and embarrassing her. Lucy finds her mother’s journal and discovers that all the women of her mother’s family have been cursed for generations. They all become pregnant despite not being married and if they do not complete three seemingly impossible tasks before the baby is born, they become mad. Lucy tries to protect herself from pregnancy, but her prom date rapes her and she becomes pregnant. Unlike her mother, Lucy has a strong support group. Her foster parents know of the Scarborough curse and are there to support her. Her neighbor, Zach, is willing to become her husband and the baby’s father and to do what he can do to help break the curse. A strangely attractive man also inserts himself into Lucy’s foster family, blinding Lucy’s foster mother to what is really happening. Tension heightens as the birth of the baby draws near and the tasks have not yet been completed. Based on the folk song “The Elfin Night,” better known as “Scarborough Fair” or “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme,” IMPOSSIBLE brings the strange song to life in a compelling read that is hard to put down.

Listen or read several versions of the folk song and compare the versions. If possible, look at the songs in chronological order of publication and look at the changes.

Take another folk song (Peter, Paul and Mary have some easily accessible ones that might be familiar) and use it as a writing prompt for a short story or a play.

Other books written by Nancy Werlin:
BLACK MIRROR. ISBN 9780142500286
DOUBLE HELIX. ISBN 9780142403273
LOCKED INSIDE. ISBN 9780142413746

By Janet Hilbun

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