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Relatively Strange

(Strange Series #1)

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  120 ratings  ·  89 reviews


It’s tricky to know what’s normal if you’re not, But Stella’s north west London upbringing is average enough, and her eccentric, protective (paranoid?) family are not given to making a fuss. 

Only when she finds herself smack

Kindle Edition, 292 pages
Published November 26th 2013 by Matador
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Average rating 4.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  120 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Start your review of Relatively Strange (Strange Series #1)
After reading the first few words of this story, I knew I was going to love it.

“I was five when I discovered I could fly, sixteen when I killed a man. Both events were unsettling in their own way.”

Relatively Strange is a fascinating story about growing up when you’re somewhat different to most of those around you. Enriched with some wonderfully quirky characters, this story made me think of Mary Poppins as a child and The Worst Witch.

I loved the style of writing and the way the descriptions comp
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: part-of-series
This book totally took me out of my comfort zone.
So in all honestly, why did I read it?

I am a sucker for a great cover and one that catches my eye [yep, I'm shallow]
But the blurb enticed me.

I am so glad that I dared to tip my toe into the water of a book that I may have turned away from because, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think the author Merilyn Messik writes so well its believable and you come to accept everything about it.

Stella has these abilities to do things that others of the 'norm' can
Tracy Fenton
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Relatively Strange is basically relatively strange! I am not sure where to categorise this odd book, but with a wonderfully dark and self depreciating, typically Jewish sarcastic humour running through out it certainly tickled me. Meet Stella a young Jewish girl with extraordinary powers of mind reading, levitation, telekinesis plus a wicked sense of humour. Follow her from her earliest memories when she accidentally flew to her strange and eventful teenage years. A wonderfully strange book and ...more
Melanie Lewis
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
OHMIDAYS! OHMIDAYS! What a book! I have laughed out loud, I have wept with sorrow and run the gamut of every emotion in between. I love Stella, weirdly wonderful Stella and her marvellous, accepting family. The book is so clever and Stella is so believable that at one stage I found myself thinking, "maybe, if I just let go, I could fly". It genuinely felt like I was reading her diary. I want Stella to be my friend, I want her parents to come over for dinner. Even the more sinister characters of ...more
Sue Wallace
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Relatively Strange by Marlyn Messik.
"I was five when I discovered I could fly, sixteen when I killed a man. Both events were unsettling in their own way"
Wow. Absolutely fantastic read.
I loved the story and the characters.
I loved Stella.
She was my favourite character.
I loved Ruth too.
Wow. Didn't expect that.
This story just gets better and better.
Had me gripped from start to finish.
I loved the ending too. Can't wait to read more.
This is a must read and I would highly recommend t
May 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to TBC for my arc in return for a honest review.

As soon as I read the blurb I knew I would enjoy this book.

Stella is a girl with ' Strange' power's..power of levitation, telekinesis and a strong wit and a brilliant sense of humour.

This book made me chuckle and kept me on the edge of my seat...quirky book that will make you smile.
Claire  Longley
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Wow! Just Wow!

With so many people raving about this book I just wasn't sure what to expect but I think I was expecting to be let down. This was not the case! This went beyond my expectations.

The first line of the book "I was five when I discovered I could fly, sixteen when I killed a man. Both events were unsettling in their own way." had me intrigued straight away. I couldn't put it down and had it finished in two days.

Marilyn Messik done such a wonderful job writing this that it came to life
Lynn Mccarthy
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a very different book but in a good way :)
The story is told from the london area which i know quiet well so i knew some of the places :)
Stella is from a Jewish family and discovers she can fly wish i could lol.
The book is written from stellas point of view she has a sense of humour to which made me laugh..But it was terrifying in other parts of the story....
This is book one of 3 books.....I enjoyed the book greatly well written ......

Audrey Gibson
May 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Its a real page turner and I was hooked from the beginning. I laughed and was also on the edge of my seat throughout this book. Great characters and beautifully written. Definitely a must read.
Claire Huston
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
A captivating blend of the everyday and extraordinary. 4/5 stars.

This review was originally posted on my book blog.

I’m not sure I’ve ever come across such a perfect book title! And that’s possibly because I haven’t read anything quite like Relatively Strange before. I struggle to describe it, but I think the best I can do is to use a Marvel analogy (and I appreciate I may lose those of you who have no interest in superhero comics or movies, sorry!). Imagine an X-Men character with all their amaz
Mel Mars
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jane Blanchard
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Relatively Strange by Marilyn Messik is a delightful read. The prose is exquisite, the storyline unique, and the tension keeps rising. Written in the first person, Stella, the protagonist, tells us what it was like growing up “strange” in a world of normals. She needed to learn to control her psi powers and keeps her strangeness to herself and immediate family.

When her friend’s father tries to kill the friend and mother, Stella reacts using her strange abilities. The consequence triggers the equ
Samantha Smith
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a unique, captivating story about Stella, and is unlike anything I have ever read.

The story follows the journey of Stella, a young Jewish girl who finds that she has 'strange' abilities /talents which grow and adapt and it looks at how these abilities affect not only Stella but those around her.
There are many humorous moments but the mood grows darker and takes a serious tone as we move through the story.

The writer shows her talent throughout with beautiful prose and incredibly well wr
Between The Pages Book Club (Gemma M)
Growing up has its difficulties for everyone and it is tricky to know whats normal if you're not! Stella, certainly has no hesitation filing herself in the unusual drawer, but its only when she discovers she is not unique that, what up until now has merely cause some extraordinary blips in an ordinary life, acquires a whole new dimension. Forced to haul in resources she didn't know she possessed, she is thrust into the violence of a situation for which nothing could have prepared her, face to fa ...more
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Relatively Strange is the fascinating tale of Stella, who uses the term "Strange" to categorize her extraordinary abilities. Stella, who lives in 1960's England, is telekinetic, pyrokinetic, can levitate, read minds and do quite a few other impossible things. Much of this story is about how Stella navigates a normal life while being something other than normal herself. There are encounters with others like herself, as well as a nefarious group of "medical" people who have no morals or ethics wha ...more
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have to admit that when I first saw the blurb for this book, I was half expecting a fairly light read about characters with paranormal abilities, the usual sort of 13+ teen angst with a bit of romance thrown in.
How wrong could I be? This is an extremely well written, richly drawn novel which can be read on all sorts of different levels.
It's an unusual style of writing but one which I enjoyed very much. There is a slow build up of the plot, allowing the reader to simply enjoy the beautiful pr
Philippa Mckenna
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tbc-widget
When I was a young girl, I used to dream about having powers like Stella's, and would imagine myself being able to read minds, move objects without touching them, and being able to fly up, bionic woman stylee, onto the roofs of tall buildings. However; I suspect I would have found, just as Stella does, that having these powers is not at all what it's cracked up to be. I loved Stella. Her sense of humour is very similar to my own, and I laughed out loud at some of her antics. But then the story d ...more
Rosalind Black
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of this book from TBC in an exchange for an honest review, many thanks to TBC and the author.

If I could give 4.5 stars then I would! What I loved about this book is that it had the essence of a young adult book, magic, paranormal, even superhero-esque. However the difference is that the author gripped these concepts and dragged them firmly into an adult world, with a dark feel and complex characters. I was addicted to finding more and more out about Stella's abilities and reall
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thanks to TBC for my copy of this book in exchange for my review.
I was initially drawn to this book due to its cover alone - i like an air of mystery. I soon found out this is not my usual genre and I am not sure what category it actually fits into - it is relatively a bit strange! ha ha - but in a good way!
This tells the story of Stella - a girl who can do things that are not normal - she sees things, is able to move things, can fly. She soon realises however this is not all it is cracked up to
Lucy Farmer
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure what I expected from Relatively Strange but I can tell you what it's not - it's not a piece of fluff book about a silly teenager with 'magic' powers (not that there's anything wrong with that). It deals with Stella being 'strange', how she deals with it and how her family deals with it and what she does when other people intrude into her life.

Marilyn Messik has created book full of believable characters who react in a realistic way and puts them into unreal situations. I feel a grea
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A really great read; a well-plotted novel with some great characters, especially the North London Jewish family Stella grew up in. The psi abilities she developed as a child offer the possibility of a scientific explanation but Marilyn Messik doesn't take a science fiction approach. Instead she explores Stella's strange talents in terms of the difficulty of behaving normally and also looks at the dark side of medical research.

Relatively Strange is very well written with some sentences worth rere
Natasha du Plessis
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thank you to The Book Club and Marilyn Messik for the copy.

"It was clear I was different, but I was brought up to believe it was only that. Not better, not worse, just not exactly the same" this is how Stella describes herself - as being strange. This story was not about finding a murder or solving a puzzle. This was the story of Stella as told by her and how her abilities affected her and those around her. Marilyn has a unique way of telling Stella's story. I loved the writing style and when I
Victoria Goldman
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a brilliant unique book. I couldn't put it down and loved all the references to familiar places near where I live. It's a well-written and well-plotted novel and is very dark yet also humorous. Stella has certain 'unusual' abilities that are largely ignored/tolerated by her parents. But when these gifts (e.g. flying, moving objects with her mind) are suspected by others, her life becomes more complicated. Relatively Strange is more than just a book about magic, as it follows Stella's journe ...more
Loraine Holland
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book took me a while to get into, but once I was in, l was hooked. I am a child of the seventies and the description of the P.E. lesson took me straight back to my Primary school days. I felt a connection with Stella, the main character, and I wanted her to find her way. Once I was fully immersed in this tale I became of the mindset, 'just one more chapter', which led to less sleep. I, for one, cannot wait to start the next in the series. Thoroughly enjoyed this tale and highly recommend it ...more
Clare Wakelin
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
not my usual genre so was out of my comfort zone reading this and so glad i have. it didnt grasp me in the first few pages ( not understanding jewish culture doesnt help ) but i perservered and the story blew me away. just the perfect amount of twists and turns to keep you guessing. loved how the author described the scenes, i actually felt like i was looking into a room or down a corrider. the characters are indepth and i love the humour throughout the book. carnt wait to start the next one
Katie Ray
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thank you to The Book Club for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Well this book is certainly strange! It is very different to the books that I usually read but the plot is not the highlight here, the prose is. It really is beautifully written.

I look forward to the sequel! :)
Gemma Whittington
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not my normal read, and was slightly out my comfort zone but pleased i read this book! I'm not familiar with Jewish culture and history but I really enjoyed this read. thank you to THE book club and also Marilyn Messik for the chance ...more
Michelle Ryles
Relatively Strange is perhaps the strangest book I have ever read; Strange by name and Strange by nature indeed. Stella is such an amazing character and the way that this book is written from Stella's birth makes you feel like you've known her your whole life.

Stella is a child of the 1950's and I was shocked to discover that her school days weren't very different from mine in the 1970's. For pity's sake, for how many years did children suffer the boiled cabbage lunches and frog spawn tapioca and
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a really fun novel to read, with much to recommend it.

Set in England during the 1950s & 60s, we learn Stella's coming-of-age story. From the opening chapters about her deliciously nutty Jewish family, through her trials and tribulations with her burgeoning abilities, her involvement in a nefarious scientific study, and ultimate steps into young adulthood, Stella's voice is vivid, crisp, and hilarious.

The author does a lovely job of setting the tone, with the prose being slightly old-fa
S.J. Higbee
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As in Witch Dust, it is the strong first-person narrative voice that beguiled me from the first line and held me throughout. It doesn’t hurt that Messik also had the pacing nailed and took us through the very conventional timeline of her infancy, youth and into her early adulthood with a mixture of anecdotes, scenes and humorous asides that pulled me right into her world. This story could have been presented with the emotional tone dialled up to the max, full of angst and pain – Stella has plent ...more
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Marilyn was a regular feature and fiction writer for national magazines when her children were small. She set up her first business from home, selling toys, books and party goods, before opening first one shop then another. When she sold both shops, she moved into the world of travel, focusing on B & B’s and Country Inns in New England, USA. Her advisory, planning and booking service flourished an ...more

Other books in the series

Strange Series (3 books)
  • Even Stranger (Strange Series #2)
  • Stranger Still (Strange Series #3)

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