Rated Reads

Extraordinary

by Nancy Werlin

Rated: Mild

Consider this: what if the faeries made a bargain with a human, one that they felt sure they would be able to cash in on? And yet, because of the confidence of his descendants, the faeries have found that the bargain wasn’t as easy to fulfill as they thought it would be. They’re slowly dying, and they need to find an ordinary girl. And if they can’t find her, they need to make her ordinary, as soon as possible.

Enter Phoebe Rothschild.

She’s the daughter of the powerful Catherine Rothschild and feels that she’s just average, especially next to her beautiful friend, Mallory. Sure, when Phoebe first met Mallory, she was an awkward seventh-grader. But she has blossomed into a beautiful, confident young woman, and Phoebe feels… ordinary next to her. Enter Mallory’s older brother Ryland, suave, sophisticated, and interested in Phoebe. How can he be since she’s so ordinary? Little does she know that it’s all a trap, and that it will take all of her ordinariness to get her out of it and save those who truly love her.

It’s an interesting premise, sure. And it even could have worked: you find out about the faeries’ plan and what led them to such desperate measures slowly, over the course of the book. And because you know more than Phoebe, there’s a certain fascination as you watch it all play out. The problem lies not in the idea, or even in the plotting, but in the writing. It’s clunky. The dialogue is clunky. The narrative is clunky. It’s so much more tell than show. Phoebe felt this way, and yet there was nothing to back it up. Phoebe was angry, and so ranted for several paragraphs, using periods the whole way. (“I am so mad.”) Phoebe couldn’t wrap her brain around that; and perhaps because I knew it was faerie glamour, I felt like smacking her. In short: I lost interest. By the time of the ultimate climax, one that was supposed to be Moving and Touching, I found I just didn’t care.

It’s always sad when an interesting premise doesn’t quite make it into a good book, though.

Rated: Mild, for a few instances of mild language and a passing reference to teen sex (where nothing happened).

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

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extraordinary
  • Extraordinary
  • by Nancy Werlin
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: