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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Extraordinary (by Nancy Werlin)

About the Book:
Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school. Soon the two girls are as close as sisters... until Mallory's magnetic older brother, Ryland, appears. 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, fantastical truth about Ryland and Mallory, and about an age-old debt they expect Phoebe to pay. Will she be strong enough to resist? Will she be special enough to save herself?

My Thoughts:
Extraordinary was amazing. Seriously. Nancy Werlin's other book, Impossible, is one that I've always been a fan of, but I think Extra was even better.

The story itself is really great. The concept of being ordinary or extraordinary, of being more than you think, was something that made me wonder. Phoebe was born into a family that has always been extraordinary. Even her mom is famous for the things she does. They've been just extra ever since the 1700s, when her greats-grandfather and his five sons made something of themselves. So Phoebe doesn't understand why she isn't like them. She thinks she's ordinary. She isn't too good at things, or too bad. She's just ordinary. And that's the whole point of the story.

Mallory and her brother, Ryland, who's name I'm in some deep love with, are both faeries, sent by the queen to get Phoebe to admit that she's ordinary. Well, Mallory is sent there first. The story starts in seventh grade, when Phoebe decides to be friends with the strange new girl. I think this is one of my favorite scenes in the whole story, because Phoebe is nervous--she had just ditched her popular friends for the weird girl--about Mallory's indifference toward their friendship. It's kind of insightful, seeing their awkward friendship in the beginning, and watching it form into the best friends that are introduced with the plot. Because Phoebe and Mallory really are friends.

Mallory, I might add, is my favorite character through this whole story. She's knowing and smart, and she's completely torn between her Queen, whose conversation snippets you get to read between chapters, and her friend. She has responsibilites to her people, but it's easy to see she cares for Phoebe, despite her words. I liked watching Phoebe grow, because she does so just as much as the main character.

Speaking of which, Phoebe, although I liked her and could almost relate in a way, was annoying at times. Not that I didn't like reading about her, but with the choices and things she does and says. There were many moments when she was with Ryland, who enters because Mallory hasn't completed her mission in the time she had, where I just wanted to scream at her. Why! Ryland, because he isn't close to Phoebe, is charming and cute and sweet, but he's also very willing to do whatever he needs to get what's meant to be taken. And Phoebe just went along with it. But I think this is also the way she changes, because she does some major growing and maturing in this book.

It's kind of inspiring to be honest, because it's all about finding your self-worth.

The writing was easy to read and magical and oh-so rich. Werlin manages to write so lyrically and detailed, but you don't even realize how easy until you notice that, whoa, you're really far into the book. It feels like the book is just flying by. There was a moment when I sat down to start reading and when I looked up, I realized it had been two hours and I was almost finished with the book. Other than that, the decription of the settings and feelings and the faeries (oh, the faeries!) were beautiful. About a third into the book, it slows a tad as Phoebe thinks and tries to work out everything that's been happening, but other than that the story was fast and fun and freaking fantastic. (Yay for F!)

I just liked the concept of the story as a whole. That not everyone is extraordinary or ordinary, not everyone is really as they seem. It all depends on you. And now I'm starting to sound weird. Ahem. This is definitely one that you'll need to pick up!

Extraordinary comes out September 7th. (The day after my birthday!)


Did I mention anything about the cover? Because it is GORGEOUS. It shimmers and is soft and it's really pretty and I love it!!

Okay. I'm finished now.