Review: Extraordinary

Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, and the two girls become as close as sisters . . . until Mallory’s magnetic older brother, Ryland, shows up during their junior year. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe, but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself. Soon she’ll discover the shocking truth about Ryland and Mallory: that these two are visitors from the faerie realm who have come to collect on an age-old debt. Generations ago, the faerie queen promised Pheobe’s ancestor five extraordinary sons in exchange for the sacrifice of one ordinary female heir. But in hundreds of years there hasn’t been a single ordinary girl in the family, and now the faeries are dying. Could Phoebe be the first ordinary one? Could she save the faeries, or is she special enough to save herself?–From Goodreads

I’m sad to say that I found Nancy Werlin’s Extraordinary less extraordinary than I would have liked. (Original, I know.) I loved Werlin’s Impossible, a captivating story of fairy magic reinterpreted from the traditional Scarborough Fair ballad. It surprised me how much I loved Impossible because in general fairies are not my supernatural creature of choice, but that book won me over. When I saw the gorgeous cover for Werlin’s newest book I grew excited about the opportunity to read another of her books, even if it would once again include fairies. Unfortunately, these fairies and this story did not enthrall me in the same way.

Extraordinary read a bit too much like a fable about self-esteem issues, and at times, a cautionary tale about losing too much of yourself in a relationship. These are important lessons, but not ones that I want to read in a moralistic fashion. Beyond that, I struggled to achieve any kind of emotional connection with the characters. There were sparks and glimmers of hope, particularly near the end of the book, but most of the time I just didn’t care what happened to any of them.

Extraordinary was released today, and I hope to hear lots of counter-arguments from people who enjoyed it. It’s never fun being disappointed by a book you were looking forward to reading, particularly when it’s by an author you’ve enjoyed in the past, but I hope that I’m in the minority on this one.


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