Amazon Best of the Month, September 2010: A faerie world is about to die--and one ordinary girl can change its fate. When Phoebe meets Mallory Tolliver, she is irresistibly drawn to her, despite Mallory’s odd ways. The two form a sister-like bond … see full wiki
Four years ago Phoebe Rothschild knew she wanted Mallory Tolliver as a friend--as her best friend. She was not sure why but she knew that Mallory with her tawdry, unsuitable clothes and her strange behavior would be a good friend to have, much better certainly than the friends Phoebe had previously found.
And Phoebe was right. For those four years at least.
Mallory always knew she needed to befriend the Rothschild girl. She knew what was required and expected of her by the Faerie Queen and the rest of her people. But still, for just a little while, she wanted what Phoebe had; she wanted the chance to be a normal teenaged girl.
Which is exactly what Mallory got. For those four years at least.
But time is running out: A debt must be repaid by an ordinary girl, a dangerously magnetic man will draw Phoebe to a perilous choice, and a friendship will be tested in Extraordinary (2010) by Nancy Werlin.
Extraordinary is quite impressive. Well-written, clever, and compelling this story will leave readers enchanted. Werlin's looping prose and melodic tone are masterful and work wonderfully with this fairy tale styled story. The book combines a delightful plot with very arresting characters and, as the title might suggest, also offers an interesting commentary on what it really means to be ordinary (or extraordinary).
Phoebe is a really unique narrator. She has asthma and comes from a prominent Jewish family--both of which are important elements of the story. But the great thing is neither of those things are the main event in the story, they are just facets of Phoebe's complex character. Phoebe also spends a lot of the story being beguiled or out and out tricked by other characters. The interesting thing about Werlin's writing is that she conveys that while simultaneously evoking Phoebe's own (often confusing) emotions.
This story is also unique in that, at its center, readers will find two friends instead of the romantic threads that are becoming so prevalent in fantasy books (and of course also spawned their own genre called "paranormal romance").
There is definitely nothing ordinary about this book. In short, Extraordinary is a remarkable story about the transformative power of friendship.
Possible Pairings: White Cat by Holly Black, The War for the Oaks by Emma Bull, The Blue Girl by Charles De Lint, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver, The Last of the High Kings by Kate Thompson, The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff