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These Impossible Things  By  cover art

These Impossible Things

By: Salma El-Wardany
Narrated by: Shazia Nicholls
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Publisher's Summary

A razor-sharp debut novel of three best friends navigating love, sex, faith, and the one night that changes it all. 

It’s always been Malak, Kees, and Jenna against the world. Since childhood, under the watchful eyes of their parents, aunties and uncles, they’ve learned to live their own lives alongside the expectations of being good Muslim women. Staying over at a boyfriend's place is disguised as a best friend’s sleepover, and tiredness can be blamed on studying instead of partying. They know they’re existing in a perfect moment. With growing older and the stakes of love and life growing higher, the delicate balancing act between rebellion and religion is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate. 

Malak wants the dream: for her partner, community, and faith to coexist happily, and she wants this so much she's willing to break her own heart to get it. Kees is in love with Harry, a white Catholic man who her parents can never know about. When he proposes, she must decide between her future happiness and the life she knows and family she loves. Jenna is the life of the party, always ready for new pleasures, even though she’s plagued by a loneliness she can’t shake. Through it all, they have always had each other. But as their college years come to a close, one night changes everything when harsh truths are revealed. 

As their lives begin to take different paths, Malak, Kees, and Jenna—now on the precipice of true adulthood—must find a way back to each other as they reconcile faith, family, and tradition with their own needs and desires. These Impossible Things is a paean to youth and female friendship—and to all the joy and messiness love holds.

©2022 Salma El-Wardany (P)2022 Grand Central Publishing

Critic Reviews

"These Impossible Things is an addictive portrait of three Muslim friends moving through a pivotal time in womanhood, caught between expectation and possibility, hungry to earn wisdom of their own. Salma El-Wardany deftly reveals searing and poignant truths about the female experience, ones so rarely confronted in fiction. What a gift to be inside this author’s mind through the pages of her beautiful and memorable writing." (Ashley Audrain, New York Times best-selling author of The Push)

"This is the essential book on sisterhood that I needed to read. Beautifully written and gorgeous, Salma El-Wardany is a brilliant writer, and this is a story I will never forget." (Nikita Gill, poet and author of Wild Embers)

"I can't remember the last time a book consumed me like this. I truly, truly loved it. It's so beautifully written, full of warmth and love and insight; Malak, Kees and Jenna stole into my heart and stayed there. This novel captures the fierceness of female friendship better than anything I've ever read. It is a book I know I will still be thinking about for many years to come." (Beth O'Leary, international best-selling author of The Flatshare and The Road Trip)

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What listeners say about These Impossible Things

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Engrossing

This book feels like a realistic & revealing experience of difficult choices and unintended consequences. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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Wow!

A beautifully writren story of friendship, love, and the trials of life. I look forward to future works from Salma. I couldn't stop listening.

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Everything I never knew I needed

Oh my!! My best friend and I grew up (and really still are growing up) in these same circumstances and we both needed this book to remind us it’s not just us with these struggles. So accurately written and so good to see our stories being told! A must read!

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good book

at first, I was having hard time getting into. then as kept listening it got better and better

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  • ZA
  • 06-19-22

Solid novel but just doesn’t get you there

This is an interesting book that brings to attention the very real pangs of living with the expectations of faith and family as you Muslim woman.
It just feels like it fits the tropes of what westerns expect Muslims to be like. Read Seasons of Migration to the north and you’ll get much better literature with less orientalist lens

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A very compelling story

The story grabs you from the jump. This isn't a book that you have to read 100 pages before it gets interesting. The performance is spectacular, I often hear the immigrant story from the first gen-American perspective so it was fascinating hearing it from the first-gen brit perspective. I was so absorbed in the lives of each of the women in the story. I couldn't wait to find out what happens next.