The Easy Part of Impossible by Sarah Tomp
Published by HarperTeen, 2020
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
In this meaningful YA novel, Sarah Tomp juxtaposes the thrill of young love with the pain of facing abuse, shining a spotlight on the sporting world’s greatest taboo.
Teenager Ria Williams is a skilled diver. She is on track to compete at the Olympic level, but injury forces her to abandon this dream and walk away from all she’s known. With time on her hands to reevaluate what she wants, she finds herself increasingly drawn to Cotton, an old friend with autism who has a passion for cartography and cave exploration. As their friendship blossoms into something more, Ria is pushed to reflect on the dynamic she shared with her former diving coach, Benny — to finally see him for the abuser he was. When an offer comes along that could reignite her diving career — at the cost of having Benny back in her life — she struggles to separate the thing she loves most from the trauma she has endured.
Rather than exposing the reader to repeated examples of Ria’s physical and mental suffering, the abuse looms on the periphery of the narrative for much of the novel, and this is effective on a number of levels.