I have never been a big fan of those novels that are written as huge, long clumps of verse. Nothing wrong with them‐ they’re just not for me. They tend to leave me feeling a bit cut off from the emotions and characters. But ‘The Realm of Possibility’ by David Levithan is different.
Each chapter of this book starts out with four names‐ the names of four students at one particular school. Then, the chapter flows into four distinct poems, which relate to the respective name. With each poem you read, you find out a little bit more about the student, and the students in the other poems, who may or may not be connected. Each poem is written in a slightly different style‐ there are some haikus, some free‐form things, some that are like lyrics to a song. The thing I love is that it seems David Levithan didn’t write each poem to try out the style, but wrote because the style and story together made a beautiful poem. Nothing ever feels forced to me.
This book can be read in an hour or two (and I really feel you should read the whole thing in one go) but it delivers a wallop of dense emotions and intense thought. I always feel as if I’ve seen the world in a totally different way after I finish reading this. There are some subjects dealt with here that not everyone will be comfortable with‐ this is a teen book, but the author never shies from dealing with things that teens actually deal with. Many teen authors still want to hold onto the idea that anyone under eighteen is innocent and should be reading fluffy little stories‐ that doesn’t happen here. This book, and the stories and characters encapsulated within it, are powerful and passionate. That doesn’t mean that the book is depressing, although parts of it are, or disturbing, although parts are‐ as a whole, it’s just touching and lovely, and will take your breath away.