Excerpt from The Easy Part of Impossible by Sarah Tomp, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Easy Part of Impossible

by Sarah Tomp

The Easy Part of Impossible by Sarah Tomp X
The Easy Part of Impossible by Sarah Tomp
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  • Published:
    Apr 2020, 352 pages

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Callum McLaughlin
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Print Excerpt

One

One slip and it was over.

Everything Ria had worked for, dreamed of, spent every single second of her life dedicated to, was finished. No more demanding schedule, no dictated life. She could eat whatever she wanted. Do what she wanted, when she wanted.

If only someone could tell her what that was.

"Come on, Ria," said Sean. "Hurry up and pick something. We need to get to the quarry before dark."

"You said we should bring snacks." She'd liked the idea of picking something delicious and junky, but she hadn't expected three aisles of choices in the mini-mart. "What's best? Should we go for frosted sweets? Chocolate or fruity? Or are chips better? Look at the entire line of '-ito' choices! What's the junkiest? Doritos? Cheetos? Fritos?"

"It's not a picky crowd."

She turned and faced him. "Or, maybe Funyuns are a better time since 'fun' is right there in their name. Maybe they're the life of the party!"

Sean laughed. "What do you want to eat?"

"I'm not hungry." She shrugged. "You pick."

He eyed her but didn't argue as he grabbed a boring bag of ordinary potato chips.

Ever since she'd quit diving, after backing out of her biggest meet ever—the one that mattered more than all the others combined—one impossibly long month ago, Sean had stepped in, eager to fill her suddenly empty hours, happy to take her away from her parents' questions and frowns. He was an attentive tour guide to the world of being normal.

Fact was, she'd never done anything normal. For the last eleven years she'd spent each and every possible second either at the pool or in the dry gym—building strength, increasing flippable flexibility—doing whatever she could to dive better, straighter, more gracefully, and with greater power. She'd missed out on everything else. She was an alien in her own hometown.

A native alien. Which didn't make sense, but Ria was used to not making sense.

The party was at the abandoned quarry, another place she'd heard of but never been. She parked on the road behind the line of cars as Sean directed. "It's going to be great," he said. "It's like a kickoff for our senior year."

Ugh. She'd been so busy not diving, she'd forgotten to dread the start of school.

Sean led her along the sandy roadside, then stopped where the fence was bent. He held it out for her to slip through. Walking along the gravel path, she could hear the party before she could see it. She followed him around a large boulder, stepping into a wide-open space.

"Whoa," she said, taking in the view of an enormous gaping hole. The rough rock walls glowed in the late-afternoon sunshine.

"Right? I told you everyone would be here."

Ria turned her attention to the crowd gathered on the patchy grass and sandy field. She didn't know everyone, not like Sean did. She didn't know much of anyone beyond her tight circle of teammates. Ex-teammates. She'd only met Sean because he worked as a lifeguard at the Aquaplex, her old home. He was on the high school's swim team, part of the pack mysteriously willing to splash their way back and forth for miles of straight lines. He'd been one step out of Coach Benny's circle of forbidden relationships. Teammates were always off-limits for romance.

She watched Sean and his friends slap, smack, and crash their hellos through high-fives, head whacks, and chest bumps. She'd invited Maggie to come today too, but at the last minute, Benny called a "Board Meeting" at the pool. Code word for an in-team meet. They'd compete against each other, at the mercy of his fickle scoring, with rewards and punishments doled out on the deck. He'd probably heard about the party, and wanted to keep his team close and out of trouble. Ria, on the other hand, was now free to get in as much trouble as she wanted.

"Let's go find the keg," said Sean.

Excerpted from The Easy Part of Impossible by Sarah Tomp. Copyright © 2020 by Sarah Tomp. Excerpted by permission of HarperTeen. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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