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Anything But Ordinary

3.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  174 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
From the moment their romance begins in eighth grade, Winifred and Bernie are individualists. They pride themselves on being different, and have each other for support through the tough years of high school. So when they consider college, they send off for the same catalogs, promising never to separate.

But Bernie's mother dies and Bernie more or less drops out of school,
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published February 20th 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Nov 24, 2014 Sequoya rated it really liked it

Summary- Anything But Ordinary by Valerie Hobbs, is about two people’s life that are anything but ordinary. The two people are both shy, intelligent, and not so normal. The way the narrator tells this story follows both Winfred and Bernie's story. It shows Winifreds adventures in some chapters and Bernies in others. It goes back and forth from Bernie to Winfred in almost every other chapter. Winfred was very unpopular she had no friends just like Bernie. Bernie made up the courage to ask to be i
May 12, 2007 Jen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: YA readers and more...
Shelves: young-adult
Awesome made me cry!! Not like your typical YA in that it is in third-person but the POV really makes this novel I think. The characters are great. The story is so simple but a stand-out for how the feelings really hit home.
Stephanie A.
They won my heart in five pages, broke it within 30 as intended, and spent the rest of the book tenderly putting it back together. Been a long time since I was that taken with a teenage love story.
Wing Kit
Sep 26, 2011 Wing Kit rated it liked it
Shelves: 11th-grade-books
This book was about how a Bernie and Winifred seem to have been bounded together by fate because of how different they were from everyone else. Only they respected what the each had and everyone else was ordinary. They planned their life out together since high school but everything changed when Bernie's mother died. He began to abandon his own unique trait of being different and became normal. His dream he once shared with Winifred was lost, but Winifred still continued it. They began to separa ...more
Richie Partington
Jul 15, 2013 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
17 November 2006 ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY by Valerie Hobbs, FSG/Frances Foster Books, March 2007, ISBN: 0-374-30374-6

"Kid, what changed you?"
--The Pretenders

In the back row of the room, "wedged between the makeup girls and the gangsters," there sat tall and gawky Bernie:

"In the eighth grade other kids seemed to know who they were. They were 'into' things. Skateboarding, soccer, Xbox, iPods. Clubs. Eighth grade seemed to be a time for joining clubs. Bernie was a reader and a pretty good chess player
Jun 13, 2010 Fiona rated it really liked it
Shelves: sophmore-year
In the book Anything But Ordinary, Winifred is a strange girl who doesn't belong anywhere and her ideas have been rejected by everyone in school. But then a boy name Bernie pops into the picture and Winifred finally feels like there's somewhere she belongs. After that day they've met, they've grown up close together. One day a tragic event happens to Bernie, and all the plans he had with Winifred were all ruined and gone to waste, because he decided to quit college. But then Winifred decides to ...more
Andie Z
May 24, 2011 Andie Z rated it liked it
Reviewed for Flamingnet Reviews

When he is thirteen, Bernie Federman moves to Pittstown, New Jersey. Proudly different than anybody else, he doesn't know anyone in the eighth grade, and from the very first day of school sits in the back of the classroom. Then he meets Winifred Owens, also fiercely individualistic, and possibly the only person less popular at school than Bernie. They fall in love and begin planning their life together. Both very intelligent, they are at the top of their class and
Cassidy  Charles
Jan 27, 2011 Cassidy Charles rated it did not like it
This better be the only rotten apple in my book crop.

The method in which I select some of things I read hasn’t failed me until today. Amazon likes to suggest books for me, based on other books I have viewed. In turn, I will read a summary of them, check if they are available in a library within my county, and then order them for my crop. I understand why Amazon suggested this for me (It’s tags are YA Literature, Romance…), but I wish it had a quality filter.


Love story about unique guy an
Jul 20, 2010 Lucy rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
The crux off the novel surrounds Winifred’s college transformation from quirky individual to popular princess, all as she tries to fit-in with her roommates and reforge her identity. After some life-changing events, Bernie decides not to go to college, but eventually follows Winifred (now Wini) across the country to her college in California, and tries to reawaken the girl he fell in love with.

It’s a cute story, and very neatly explores the confusing first year of college, when you’re trying to
Books and Literature for Teens
Courtesy of B.L.T Reviews:

Winifred and Bernie are best friends, and most of all they like to be different. When the kids at school would wear Nike shoes, they'd wear Converse. When the latest fad was designer clothes, they would wear "recycled" t-shirts and jeans from the second hand store.
They were different.....until Wini left for college, then everything began to change. Fearing Wini would become like everyone else, Bernie decides to go after her.
But by
Aug 23, 2014 Lyn rated it liked it
Bernie Federman moves to Pittstown when he is thirteen. New to the school, he is a back-row kid wedged between the gangsters and the makeup girls. He meets Winifred, who is a front row girl with a pop-up arm - no matter what the question. Winifred is smart and about as popular as cafeteria meatloaf.

After starting numerous school clubs and having no one join them, Winifred starts the Green Hat Club. Teased and beaten down, Winifred stops raising her hand but refuses to give up her olive green hat
Gina Wymore
Jan 22, 2013 Gina Wymore rated it liked it
“Anything but Ordinary,” by Valerie Hobbs is a young adult novel that recalls a love story of two young individualists. At the age of 13, Bernie Federman’s family moved to Pittstown, where he must begin a fresh start at a new school. After struggling to make relationships with fellow peers, he befriends Winifred Owens, an equally unique and socially rebellious girl. They two become best friends, refusing to conform to societal norms. They share a distinctive trait in that they cherish individua ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for

Winifred and Bernie have been best friends, and yes, in love, since middle school. Both were a little different and found fitting in difficult. Their friendship began with Winifred's creation of the Green Hat Club, and then it blossomed.

High school brought an even closer relationship. Winifred and Bernie were excellent students and hoped to place first and second in their graduating class. They studied together, lunched together,
Mar 23, 2008 Lucy rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
Winifred and Bernie have always been outsiders. From the moment they met in eighth grade, they have been weirdos, individuals, and in love with each other. They have vowed to each other that they will never be the most dreadful thing of all--ordinary--and that they will stick together through college and beyond.

But then Bernie's mother dies, and Bernie falls behind. His grades drop, he doesn't apply to college, and when Winifred goes off to University of California at Santa Barbara, for the firs
Jul 03, 2012 Allison rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
When thirteen-year-old Bernie moves to a new town and meets the school outcast Winifred, he has no idea how his life is going to change. Both students are incredibly smart, rocketing to the top of their class, and unique, vowing to never be ordinary. They're together for four years, until something makes Bernie decide to not attend college, while Winifred moves to the other side of the country. The story is told in alternating chapters so you learn how the characters really feel, despite their d ...more
Jun 19, 2014 Charla rated it really liked it
Great read for the more mature young adults. Deals with difficult issues. I found it interesting and well written. In a sense, I do agree with other reviewers that say it lacks depth, but the author does a great job considering it's a fairly short book.
Feb 03, 2008 Cathy rated it really liked it
Outsiders Winifred and Bernie have been best friends since 8th grade. They expect to remain best friends forever, to graduate high school and go to college. When Bernie's mom dies he goes into a funk and decides not to go to college. But after Winifred has left for college in California, he misses her so much that he drives cross country in his beat up truck. The girl he finds isn't the one he knew. She has come under the influence of her flighty roommates and changed her hair color, wardrobe an ...more
May 04, 2015 Sam rated it liked it
I didn't mind that it was predicable. I minded that there was so much "telling" what was happening instead of "showing" what was happening.
Erin Sterling
A story of first love and high school sweethearts. Bernie and Winifred became friends in eighth grade, defining themselves by being anything but ordinary. Senior year, after planning their lives around each other, Bernie's world comes crashing down and their plans start to fall apart, especially when Winifred goes to college across the country. I liked the simple, explanatory writing, but felt the story was a bit too preachy at times--California girls are bimbos! or if they're not bimbos, they'r ...more
May 17, 2010 Tearsa rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 04, 2007 Trevor rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Teens who hate / love romance books
Shelves: teen-lit-read
Our narrator tells the story of two young lovers, apart for the first time since middle school, forced to establish their own identities. When their worlds collide, how will they reconcile? Do they still need one another to be complete? This story of first love and coming-of-age is Van Draanen’s Flipped for an older teen crowd, filled with tenderness and tension, with some smiles thrown in as well. Give this to the teen reader who either hates or loves romance novels, or to one who has had a bes ...more
Aug 18, 2009 Jim rated it it was amazing
A simple but heartfelt love story about high school sweethearts dealing with their first year of college and the change and challenge it inevitably brings to their relationship. This book had a personal connection for me because the college setting is UC Santa Barbara, which is where I went to college, so I was familiar with every campus location that the author (who herself teaches at UCSB) put in the book. This is one I'd recommend for older teens who like a little relationship drama in their ...more
Jun 07, 2007 Amy rated it it was ok
Don't know if I'll like it yet, but the premise looks good. Can't.... stop.... reading.... Y...A...books. :b

didn't like this one as much as I had hoped. basically, it wasn't deep enough or something. i couldn't sink my teeth into the way i could with other books about "outcast" kids. Wait, isn't that all of YA lit? At any rate, I had hoped for Stoner and Spaz level, or even Getting the Girl by Zusak, but it didn't deliver. It read like Naylor's Alice books, only a tad more sophisticated.

May 07, 2013 Vivit rated it really liked it
This book was one of the most heart touching books I've ever read. The story takes place between two teens, Winifred, an adventurous open individual, and Bernie, the quiet guy of the story. This is the most realistic romance story I've read. You just watch Bernie and Winifred's relationship blossom into love, and as it tears apart as they try to figure out their own identities. This touching love story of friendship, self esteem, and self discovery will make you drawn deeper with each page.
Brooke Honkonen
I think this book is alright. It's simply about a boy and girl who fell in love in high school and separate when they go to college. They both change a bit, and become what the other dislikes in people. So far, I don't think this book is very original or written well, but I don't think it's a bad book either. Some parts of the book caught my attention, but for the most part, I just feel like I've heard the same story too many times to be interested.
Holly Smith
Sep 22, 2012 Holly Smith rated it it was amazing
Winifred Owens, and Bernie Federman are not the most, shall I say, cool, or popular kids in their school. They met in middle school when Bernie's family moved to New Jersey. They were unique, and did not want to even fit in with the crowd. But everything changed in high school. Bernie's mother died of cancer, and they both had some big chalenges coming their way. Although they were across the country at one point, their friendship stayed strong.
Apr 09, 2012 Vicki rated it liked it
Shelves: teen
Winifred & Bernie become best friends and by late high school talk about forever together. Then Bernie's mother passes away and Bernie loses his looking forward to the future. Winifred goes off to college, when Bernie realizes he forgot to grow and follows her to CA to find her. OK
loved the ending...i've read so many young adult books in my short life that i usually feel like the endings were rushed and not thought through which makes me angry. but this one just fit because it was anything but ordinary...
Dec 12, 2008 Lisa rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: High School loners
The 3rd person POV in a YA novel is unique and adds a nice touch. It avoids being really sappy that way, and it's cute. Definitely not amazing literature, but something to recommend to high schoolers.
Dec 28, 2007 Maggie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: pre-college set
It wasn't quite what I expected, but still pretty good. A little like a high school kid's dream of college, but with a realistic ending.
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Valerie Hobbs is the author of many award winning novels for young adults including Sonnys War, Tender, and How Far Would You Have Gotten If I Hadnt Called You Back, for which she was designated a Flying Start author by Publishers Weekly in 1996. Hobbs was the winner of the 1999 PEN/Norma Klein award for an emerging voice of literary merit among American writers of childrens fiction and the Arizon ...more
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