Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Key to Extraordinary” as Want to Read:
The Key to Extraordinary
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Key to Extraordinary

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  4,035 ratings  ·  662 reviews
Everyone in Emma's family is special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians--every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream.

For Emma, her own dream can't come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she'd do whatever it took to fulfill her destiny, and she doesn't w
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published February 23rd 2016 by Scholastic Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Key to Extraordinary, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Maeghan K They must have gotten advance copies of the book and were able to read those ahead of the publication date. Publishers will send advance copies to boo…moreThey must have gotten advance copies of the book and were able to read those ahead of the publication date. Publishers will send advance copies to book stores, libraries, and to individual book reviewers (professional and non-professional) for marketing purposes.(less)
Jacqui she found the treasure in the abandoned mine under the cafe, and saved the family cafe, and later on, she does tours through the mine. and earl starte…moreshe found the treasure in the abandoned mine under the cafe, and saved the family cafe, and later on, she does tours through the mine. and earl started talking again!!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,035 ratings  ·  662 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Key to Extraordinary
Jeff Zentner
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thought it would be difficult for Natalie Lloyd to top A SNICKER OF MAGIC, but with THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY, she does so with such ease that I'm starting to wonder if she's as possessed of such magic as the characters she writes about.

Everything I loved about SNICKER was present in even greater and sharper abundance. Vividly drawn, lovable characters. A vibrant, magical setting. Gorgeous, lyrical prose. A story that kept me turning pages until there were no more to turn.

And I would not hesi
m a r y l i z
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If I could, I would give this book a thousand stars.

It's the kind of story that tucks itself into your heart. The kind that you never, ever forget.

Every day you live is a day for dreaming. Every day is a day for adventuring. And every day is for sharing with people you love, because love's all that lasts. It's the only thing we carry out of this world. It connects us all, in the end.
Sarah Levy
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Set in a small, spooky southern town, this magical story is hard to put down! I instantly fell for Emma & Grandma Blue. I yearn to visit the Boneyard Cafe, go on Emma's tour, and then enjoy a Boneyard Brew and lavender-peach muffin!! This novel sucked me in from the beginning & I loved every second of it! ...more
Michelle (Sherbet Lemon)
I did not expect to love this as much as I did when I started. The themes are so simple yet beautiful, everything comes together perfectly, it leaves me with an odd little ache. If you're looking for a lovely, short middle grade book than please check this one out! Without a doubt I will be checking out more of Natalie Lloyd's work! ...more
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautifully sweet story set in a slightly magical little town. I loved the overall message and theme about (view spoiler)
A sweet, whimsical feeling permeated the story, and enveloped as I read. It was a little weird and wrinkly in the beginning, but came together around the second third of the book. I also really liked that it was one of the few newer contemporary books for middle graders that I
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a homespun history mystery middle grade novel with a big dollop of magical realism. Similar to Lloyd’s previous novel, A Snicker of Magic, this story is filled with quirky characters and melancholy sweetness. Although young history buffs will easily make the Conductor – Civil War connection, the treasure hunt through the graveyard is compelling. Overall, an evocative narrative with gentle ghosts, tender friendships, and a great message that love will always win the day.
Cat Carstairs
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

I'm surprised that the first time I rated this on Goodreads I only rated it 4 stars. I decided to give it a re-read just for the heck of it, and now I realize that The Key to Extraordinary deserves 5 shining stars!

I'm so happy that I chose to pick this one back up again, because it easily earned a spot on my favorites shelf. In this book, we follow a young girl named Emma, who comes from a family of really extraordinary people. Her f
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh friends, y'all know how I gushed over Ms. Lloyd's first book, A Snicker of Magic, so you can imagine my excitement over anticipating this one! It did not disappoint. At all! :) I absolutely loved meeting Emma and Granny Blue and everyone in Blackbird Hollow. There is simply a poignancy and sweetness that infuses this story. Watching as Emma works through her emotions and searches to find her joy again spoke to my heart so truly, because that's what I've been doing this year since losing my ow ...more
May 11, 2016 marked it as abandoned
Sheesh! Is there a middle grade novel out there that ISN'T a grief book? I rolled my eyes as soon as I found out that the main character's mother was dead and after that I just couldn't get into it. It didn't help that I was also annoyed by everything having an official name name: Destiny Dream, Wildflowers, Club Pancake.... It was hard to keep straight. I read 50 pages and then put this down because the much more exciting and more anticipated The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh came in at t ...more
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
For most of the book, this was a solid 3-star story--and then I got to the end and the secret of the conductor was revealed. So. Awesome. And completely unexpected. So, I ended up liking this one just as much as A Snicker of Magic, even though it doesn't have quite the same level of magic. Maybe it's because I like the history woven in and the thought of flowers that allow lost loved ones to leave messages behind. If only. ...more
Michele Knott
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
Will write a longer review closer to publication date (Feb. 2016), but I will say Natalie Lloyd is back. So wonderful to read her words again.
Sahngwon Lee
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pretty good book about a girl(Emma) who is extraordinary and special.
My 7 year old gave it 5 stars. About an Appalachian town fighting for its dying soul. A ya book. Has interesting botany and music too
May 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Emma, Granny Blue and her older brother Topper live in the Boneyard Cafe, "perched on the edge of a famous cemetery" within the town of Blackwood Hollow. Emma provides tours at the cemetery and knows all the local stories and legends. While she is on one of her famous tours, her Uncle Peri and Aunt Gerta tell her about the tale of The Conductor, who hid his treasure somewhere within Blackwood Hollow, but will only reveal it to someone who has "good intentions and is pure of heart." The Boneyard ...more
Amy B
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Natalie Lloyd's writing is just so refreshing. And delightful. And delicious. And makes you use words you normally wouldn't use. ;)

I was thrilled to immerse myself once again in the unique world she's created, filled to the brim with magical realism, broken but mending families, character-full small towns, friendships, and quests. I love the family dynamics Lloyd creates, and was fully enthralled with the fields of blue flowers, the Talking Vines, the sparkling stardust, and Keeping Susans. The
This is the story of Emma Pearl Casey, a young girl with a magical and renown family history. Just as with those that came before her, Emma's destiny comes to her in a dream. But when that dream indicates that she must carry out an impossible task, find the treasure that's been hidden in Blackbird Hollow's cemetery for centuries, she doesn't know how she will ever succeed. If she doesn't though, her family's business and the entire town might find itself on the other end of a wrecking ball. If ...more
The climax SEVERELY failed to deliver like I knew the treasure was the friends we made along the way but sheesh

Stories about the power of love work when they’re drawn from genuine human experience and connection. This story relies too heavily on gestures and nice sounding words and moments that just ring false. How am I supposed to believe that nobody WENT INTO THE TUNNEL THAT WAS RIGHT THERE THE WHOLE TIME??!?

Anyway, guess my tolerance for cotton candy ice cream was less this time and I hit my
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 stars | Blog

“Often in our darkest days, in our hardest times, that's when we find our destiny.”

In her usual fashion, Natalie Lloyd charms readers with her lovely prose and quirky characters. The plot drew me in, and the rest of the book carried me along Emma's journey. It was a sweet story, and made me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Would definitely recommend, especially if you liked A Snicker of Magic!
Lynn Christiansen
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I actually underlined quotes which I hardly ever do AND I think I want to go back and re-read just so I can slowly savor the story (I might have rushed a bit because I was enjoying it so much). I think I would read a grocery list written by Natalie Lloyd at this point.

I was provided with an e-galley by the publisher and edelweiss. Thank you! I will definitely be purchasing this for my library.
Tara Warmerdam
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved this book! Such a fun read. I could easily visualize Grandma Blue, Emma, and of course the Boneyard Brew and peach lavender muffins. Emma is determined to fulfill her Destiny, as the other women in her family have done. When she dreams of a key, the mystery ensues as she plans to save her family home and the town (she dreams big!). I love how history is at work in this small town and Emma's story. Definitely magical! ...more
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
5 stars. Bookaday #2. So many things to love in this book: well developed main and secondary characters, fun, lush vocab, sprinkling of magic, 2 dogs, muffins, best friends, treasure, chapter 15 with Granny Blue. Wisdom on love and grief and the potential to be extraordinary.
Samantha Fraenkel
Natalie Lloyd writes the best books for kids. Her debut novel, A Snicker of Magic, knocked my socks off with its beautiful writing, quirky characters, and heart. The Key to Extraordinary is just as wonderful, if not better. Best 9-12 novel I've read this year. ...more
Jeff Raymond
Jan 08, 2016 marked it as unfinished-reads
This is getting a lot of really solid press, probably from the same who are really into more quiet, fantastical tales. I gave this roughly 70 pages and it was not connecting for me even a little bit, and so aside it goes. I'm looking for a little more oomph from the middle grade set these days. ...more
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. I loved every single character and every single thing about the book. I loved the stories of all the "Wildflowers" and I loved the lesson learned. What a great, feel-good book for young people. Maybe older people too! Love, love, love!! ...more
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs-previews
Pure magic... I could read a 1000 page book by Natalie Lloyd ❤️
I really enjoyed A SNICKER OF MAGIC, but I flat-out ADORED this one. Charming and poignant.

Update 7/2019: We listened to the audio of this as a family, and the narrator is fantastic!
Regan Parks
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Truman picked this for our mother/son book club (it's very exclusive, just him and I) and neither one of us cared enough to finish it. I quit around the halfway point. ...more
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was afraid The Key to Extraordinary would suffer from the sophomore slump but I should have had more faith in Natalie Lloyd’s writing and storytelling skills. Her first middle grade novel, A Snicker of Magic, is one of my favorite books to recommend. It truly is a wonder of a book.
I admit Key started off slow for me- and I felt the language was too flowery for my taste. I’m such a manly man you see. And I’m also quite vain so when a character named was Earl was introduced, the book got all the
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, 2016
I posted parts of this review somewhere else. Here goes most of it:

This is one case where a beautiful book is not given the credit it deserves. The book trailer is lousy, the Kirkus review is just a summary, and the book is sold for 5 bucks at Scholastic. (I would have paid much more, and I already have the book on my kindle!). Folks, this is a beautiful book!!!! I feel I am re-living the Wonder experience. Wonder, a book so touching, being snubbed by the Newbery folks (Not that Ivan wasn't grea
There are some books that almost review themselves, for better or for worse. Then there's other books that are so wonderful, so perfect, and touch you so deeply that the words to review don't want to come pouring out. And yet, sometimes you just have to say something. You can't leave such a wonderful book unpraised.

This book is like that for me. It surprised me, took me to places I didn't expect, showed me parts of the world and of myself I didn't realize existed, made me laugh, made me cry, the
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Choose Your Own A...: January 2017 Book Club 4 7 Dec 20, 2016 09:02AM  
Mock Newbery 2022: April Read - The Key to Extraordinary 42 304 Aug 14, 2016 07:09AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Greetings from Nowhere
  • A Nest for Celeste: A Story About Art, Inspiration, and the Meaning of Home
  • Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe
  • Smells Like Dog
  • All the Answers
  • The League of Seven (The League of Seven, #1)
  • The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg
  • The Last Musketeer
  • The Great Treehouse War
  • Tuesdays at the Castle (Castle Glower, #1)
  • Ungifted (Ungifted, #1)
  • Crenshaw
  • Savvy (Savvy, #1)
  • The Island of Dr. Libris
  • The Fourteenth Goldfish
  • Woods Runner
  • Maybe a Fox
  • Wish
See similar books…
See top shelves…

News & Interviews

We all want to spend more time lost in the pages of great books. That's the idea behind our annual 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge! It's...
93 likes · 13 comments
“Some books are so special that you never forget where you were the first time you read them.” 13 likes
“It occurred to me that there are at least three indisputable facts about best friends: 1. They wait for you, and 2. They slow down enough to walk beside you, and 3. They always know when you need hot chocolate.” 12 likes
More quotes…