Book Review: The Possibility of Somewhere
By: Julia Day
Published By: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Page Count: 320
Source: Kindly Provided by Publisher
Young Adult - Contemporary
Eden and Ash have been in competition for ages, and senior year is no different. Both are in the running to become class valedictorian, and both have a burning desire for the same prestigious scholarship. Ash wants it to appease his well-to-do, success-oriented family; Eden needs it to pave the way for her out of their small North Carolina town. When a teacher assigns Eden and Ash as project partners, they begin to see each other as real people and not just adversaries. As they fall for each other, they must each decide how they will respond to the town’s and their families’ expectations of them.
Eden and Ash are pretty much stock characters. Eden Moore has had a rough life, growing up on the wrong (read: trailer park) side of town. Her mother left when Eden was four, her father is against Eden going to college, and she has shut herself off from the other kids at her school with vicious sarcasm and a foul mouth. Ash is an arrogant over-achiever from an Indian family, whose tight-knit circle of friends and family are the lens through which he views the world.
One of the projects Eden and Ash are assigned to do together is a dramatic interpretation of the scene in Pride and Prejudice when Darcy initially proposes to Elizabeth Bennet. They easily recognize the parallel with their own situation: Ash is handsome, rich, and his family has high expectations of him, while Eden is basically living in poverty, and has a family of questionable behavior. But the parallel doesn’t last long. Where Darcy and Elizabeth’s regard for one another grows asymmetrically over time in Pride and Prejudice, Eden and Ash fall into something uncomfortably close to “instalove.”
For me, the brightest part of The Possibility of Somewhere is Mundy. Mundy (short for Rosamund) is the new girl who becomes Eden’s friend through an almost incomprehensible patience for Eden’s sharp answers and closed-off behaviors. Despite the goofy nickname, she enchants the reader with her indefatigable effort to be Eden’s friend, and her nonconformist ways. Yes she’s beautiful, yes she’s a snappy dresser, but I love the fact that the girl is not only a terrible dancer, she’s completely unabashed about it. Even “perfect” characters need flaws.
Overall, I have mixed feelings about this book. It reads easily, and I’m always up for a Jane Austen twist, but I want more believable, and frankly more likeable, main characters.
Ash Gupta has a life full of possibility. His senior year is going exactly as he’s always wanted-- he's admired by his peers, enjoying his classes and getting the kind of grades that his wealthy, immigrant parents expect. There's only one obstacle in Ash's path: Eden Moore—the senior most likely to become class valedictorian. How could this unpopular, sharp-tongued girl from the wrong side of the tracks stand in his way?
All Eden's ever wanted was a way out. Her perfect GPA should be enough to guarantee her a free ride to college -- and an exit from her trailer-park existence for good. The last thing she needs is a bitter rivalry with Ash, who wants a prized scholarship for his own selfish reasons. Or so she thinks. . . When Eden ends up working with Ash on a class project, she discovers that the two have more in common than either of them could have imagined. They’re both in pursuit of a dream -- one that feels within reach thanks to their new connection. But what does the future hold for two passionate souls from totally different worlds?