Cover image for The possible
The possible
Physical Description:
292 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Reading Level:
HL 650 L Lexile
A podcaster stirs up seventeen-year-old Kaylee's memories of her birth mother, who is infamous for alleged telekinetic ability and for murdering her own son.

Kaylee's biological mother, Crystal was famous for her supposed telekinetic ability... and is infamous for killing Kaylee's little brother in a fit of telekinetic rage. Today Kaylee is living a normal life with her adoptive parents, until a woman shows up asking to interview her for a podcast about her mother. Was the whole telekinesis thing a hoax, or does Crystal have some kind of special powers? As the podcast begins airing, everyone in Kaylee's life is hearing this dark history and asking questions that even Kaylee has never dared ask herself.


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Another twisty psychological suspense from the author of The Leaving , where a teen searches for answers about her mother's dark history, telekinesis, and the power of will.

What if . . . a teenage girl could move objects with her mind?
What if . . . someone turns up at her door asking questions she doesn't want to answer?
Kaylee lives a normal life with her adoptive parents, and almost never thinks of her birth mother, Crystal, who is serving a life sentence in prison. But the woman at the front door is producing a podcast about Crystal that is about to blow Kaylee's forgotten past wide open.
What if strange things have been happening Kaylee's entire life, things she could not explain? What if she's more like her mother than she ever imagined?
What if the podcast is about to put her on a collision course with Crystal--and her darkest self?

This gripping psychological thriller from the author of The Leaving explores the strength of our minds, the power of will, and how our histories define us . . . or not.

Author Notes

Tara Altebrando graduated from Harvard University. She has written several books including Dreamland Social Club, The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life, The Pursuit of Happiness, What Happens Here, The Battle of Darcy Lane, and My Life in Dioramas. She is also the co-author of Roomies with Sara Zarr.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Kaylee Novell, 17, has a big secret, and she's managed to keep it from her friends and classmates for a long time until Liana Fatone, producer of an award-winning podcast, shows up at her door. The second season of the show, The Possible, focuses on Crystal Bryar, Kaylee's birth mother, who received national attention at age 14 for having telekinetic powers, and again at 23 for being convicted of murdering her two-year-old son. Kaylee, who was four at the time, was the prosecution's star witness. Liana's investigation piques Kaylee's curiosity, and she begins to wonder if perhaps she, too, has telekinesis. Altebrando (The Leaving) nails the staccato delivery of popular investigative podcasts like Serial, a style that she uses to punctuate the questions Kaylee asks herself ("What if Will hadn't actually seen anything? What if she had come on to him? What if he'd let her?"). Her sentences, though spare, are extremely effective in landing emotional punches ("I'd have to write him back. I'd have to tell him. I wasn't special") in this taut and thoroughly gripping mystery. Ages 13-up. Agent: David Dunton, Harvey Klinger. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Kaylee has largely abandoned thoughts of her birth mother, Crystal, who's in prison for a murder she claims she didn't commit. Then a podcast producer shows up asking questions about Crystal's claims of telekinesis, throwing Kaylee's personal history--and her own potential powers--into question. This engaging psychological mystery with traces of the paranormal includes dynamic formatting, with podcast transcripts, text messages, and more. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Is it possible? Kaylee has been asking herself that her whole life. Her birth mother, Crystal, first gained fame for her alleged telekinetic ability, and then infamy when she was convicted of murdering her infant son Kaylee's younger brother. With Crystal serving a life sentence, Kaylee was adopted into a loving home to live a more normal life. That is, until The Possible, a hit investigative podcast, chooses to focus on Crystal's case more than a decade after the conviction. All of a sudden, people begin questioning Kaylee about what she remembers from the trial, or if she has powers, too. Altebrando has penned a fast-paced thriller that is less a Dan Brown-style adventure and more of a psychological examination. At play is how Kaylee's seemingly mundane world is ripped apart by gossip, secrets, and her own curiosity about a birth mother she barely knows. Altebrando manages Kaylee's relationships with her parents, friends, and the gossiping public masterfully, tossing in unique twists to keep readers on their toes. Fans of true-crime podcasts especially will feel right at home.--Suarez, Reinhardt Copyright 2017 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-In this absorbing psychological mystery, adopted 17-year-old Kaylee's ordinary life (softball, best friends, school, a crush on a boy) is drastically altered after Liana, a producer of a Serial-like podcast, asks to interview her about Crystal, Kaylee's birth mother, who claimed to have telekinesis as a teen. For most of the past 13 years, Kaylee has tried to forget Crystal and the knowledge that when Kaylee was four, her eyewitness testimony helped sentence Crystal to prison for killing Kaylee's two-year-old brother. Her mother insisted she didn't do it, and Liana intends to prove whether Crystal's powers are real. Kaylee's "what ifs" resurface as the unexplained events that she suspects she might have caused over the years make her question whether she has paranormal powers, too. Her obsession with Crystal and her past threatens her relationship with her loving parents and with Aiden, her best guy friend, and forces Kaylee to take a hard look at herself. The narrative's structure, with its podcast excerpts, texts, emails, and copies of documents, adds to the book's appeal. Most of the characters are fleshed out, except Crystal, who remains maddeningly underdeveloped. Kaylee is not always an easy character to like, given her sometimes insensitive attitude toward others, but her characterization seems authentic considering her lived experience. VERDICT This gripping tale, full of unexpected twists and turns, will intrigue readers who enjoy psychological thrillers with a touch of the paranormal. A strong selection for most libraries.-Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Kaylee's birth mother, Crystal, claimed telekinetic powers before she was convicted of murdering Kaylee's little brother, Jack; 13 years later, Liana, a journalist revisiting the story for her podcast, wants to know if Kaylee's inherited Crystal's ability. Kaylee's suppressed her memories of her early years with Crystal, serving a life sentence in a Pennsylvania penitentiary, but still dreams of Jack and suspects Crystal's claims were valid and that she may have inherited them. Against her parents' wishes, Kaylee agrees to be interviewed for the podcast if Liana will take her to see Crystal. As episodes go live, Kaylee becomes a celebrity at school and the swim club where she's a lifeguard. She leverages her fame to attract a boy but takes friends (including Aiden, who wants to be more) for granted. Unsure of her powers, Kaylee still enjoys the attentioneven when it's more fear than popularity. Plot twists entertain, but the story's weakened by its superficial, insensitive portrayal of adoption. The juxtaposition of Kaylee's world of white suburban affluence, where everyone belongs to the swim club, and Crystal's foreshortened world, from impoverished childhood to prison, is stark. Well-heeled characters seem indifferent to the less-privileged; Crystal, brutal and brutalized, is treated with contempt. Kaylee's occasional reflections on her birth mother's privations, seemingly intended to convey her empathy, are belied by her cruelty to Crystal. A narrative deaf to adoption's difficult complexities: the ties that may no longer bind but never disappear. (Fiction. 14-17) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.