Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school. Soon the two girls are as close as sisters. . . until Mallory's magnetic older brother, Ryland, appears. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe--but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself.
Soon she'll discover the shocking, fantastical truth about Ryland and Mallory, and about an age-old debt they expect Phoebe to pay. Will she be strong enough to resist? Will she be special enough to save herself?
Author: Nancy Werlin
Genre: Young Adult, Faeries
Publisher: Dial Books an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Publication Date: September 7, 2010
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Vimala from Penguin Canada for sending me this book for review. This book was received free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 4/5
WARNING: May contain mild spoilers.
Extraordinary is a compelling story about the journey one girl will take to discover herself, and learn what makes a person truly extraordinary. Phoebe becomes fast friends with the new girl at school, Mallory. Everything is going quite well until Mallory's older brother enters the picture. Ryland immediately captures Phoebe's interest, but something doesn't feel quite right.
I found that Extraordinary unfolded slowly with a natural and elegant grace. The story was brilliant in its execution. I was really enjoying the storyline, until Ryland made his presence known.
Ryland was a character that I despised. He was manipulative, abusive, and controlling towards Phoebe. He was insulting, and he did everything he could to hurt Phoebe. He only cared about calling in her "debt". With that said, I have to say that he really did love his race, as he went to great lengths to save them.
Phoebe was at first, a mouse of a girl. She was timid, and didn't really know herself. She didn't ever have to examine herself closely, and so had never gone out of her way to learn more about her true self. I really liked her character, and felt bad when she took to heart every cruel comment uttered by Ryland. I loved her development though, and found myself appreciating her standing up for herself.
Mallory had been best friends with Phoebe for 4 years, and I found that she was a truly complex character. She spent 4 years forming a strong connection with Phoebe, yet was torn by the duty imparted to her by her Queen. She faced a moral dilemma, and I empathized with her. With that said, I didn't agree with the route she took, but I could understand why she did what she did.
At times, I found myself disgusted with the book (more so with Ryland), but ultimately, it was an astounding read. I will admit, that I would have loved to have read more about Benjamin, as I found I really enjoyed his character.
All in all, this book shines a hard, and unbiased light on the topic of abuse, and manipulation. I have some qualms with the ending, but it still was a good, solid read. It was emotionally draining, yet remarkable in the message that it ultimately imparted.