Danielle 's Reviews > Extraordinary

Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin
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's review
Jul 22, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: ya, 2010, paranormal-fantastical, arc, beautiful-covers, reviewed, books-i-own
Read in August, 2010

Pacing 5/5
Writing Style 5/5
Characters 4/5
Plot 4/5
Ending 5/5

*I received this book as an ARC from the publisher. This did not influence my review.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I don't usually read faerie-related fiction, so I didn't really know what to expect.

Phoebe is a real teenage girl. I found myself being able to relate to her on many levels.Her friendship with Mallory was deep and when it started to fall apart I felt their heartbreak. I love Mallory as a character as well. She is complex and obviously divided in her loyalties, and trying to do right for both sides because she loves her people but she also loves Phoebe. The connection between best girl friends is strong, and I felt that Werlin captured the complexity of their relationship perfectly, especially when Ryland is introduced and the tension starts building between the two girls.

Some young adult novels focus on a teenage relationship in unrealistic terms. Yes, some teens do feel head over heels in love and think they know everything about relationships, but for some reason it still usually feels contrived to me because the author is usually pushing the reader to feel the same way and not see any of the flaws in their thinking.

Extraordinary was not that way. Phoebe and Ryland's relationship is very flawed, and of course the reader knows Ryland's intentions are not genuine, but Phoebe does not. Werlin's depiction of Phoebe's feelings toward Ryland, and tendency to take his hurtful comments to heart, is all too real and common in teenage relationships today. That is why Phoebe’s character elicited empathy from me instead of annoyance as many female characters often do. Werlin wrote it well, and really understood the dynamics of teenage friendships, relationships, and the effect on the psyche when these aspects of life go awry.

As far as the faerie aspect and the debt they want Phoebe to pay, I won't say much about it because I don't want to spoil it. But the ending was unpredictable, had me on the edge of my seat, and left me content with the fates of everyone involved. Even though the reader does not find out the whole truth until almost the ending of the book, it did not bother me because the suspension was executed well and the conversations with the faerie queen gave me enough information to keep me turning the pages. I was also glad that when Phoebe finally understood the truth, she fully got it. We didn't have to wait years for her to piece it all together. This book is definitely worth reading, and I look forward to reading more novels by this author.

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