September 28, 2010

Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin

Phoebe Rothschild's life changed the moment she met Mallory Tolliver when they were both in seventh grade. That day, Phoebe made the choice of dumping her So-Called-friends and make Mallory her best friend.

Over four years, the girls became as close as sisters, sharing everything and anything, or so Phoebe thought. There were many things Mallory never told Phoebe, like the fact that she has a brother called Ryland who is coming to live with Mallory and her mother.

At first, Phoebe is hurt and confused by this information, but eventually decides to let this new person into her life as well, because it's important to Mallory.

Ryland is not like anyone Phoebe has ever known, and he soon gains a weird, inexplicable control over her, even though sometimes her common sense tells her there is something wrong.

Unknowingly, Phoebe has been at the heart of intrigue since the day she was born into the Extraordinary Rothschild family, and Mallory and Ryland are instrumental in this far reaching conspiracy with untold consequences.

What is more important, love or duty? Could someone as ordinary as Phoebe turn out to be the most extraordinary person of all?

Since I don't want to give too much away, I'm going to leave the summary there. Extraordinary is an interesting book about friendship and sense of self worth and self-esteem, about what makes someone be extraordinary - is it money? love? influence? status?. In the bottom line, I think it's a story about a girl saving herself.

But I had 3 main problems with the story itself.
The first one was characterization, particularly in the case of Ryland. Sure, he uses certain... magics to insinuate himself into Phoebe's life but he comes off as a douche the whole time. He's never charming or nice and even though Phoebe says he's intelligent I didn't see it; he always seemed to be a manipulative a-hole to me. I couldn't see why anyone sane would want to be around him, even with said magics - seriously, it's like he didn't even try to be appealing, I just didn't get how Phoebe was supposed to fall for him even with the whole magic-thing.

The other main problem I had was the pace. Sometimes it felt like there was a lot going on, or like we were finally reaching the climax of the story but at the same time the pace of the story was very stalled; I had a many "Get on with it, already!" moments, more than I would care for in a 350+ page book.

And, finally, the whole holocaust, Jewish, anti-antisemitic allusions would have been better if Werlin hadn't been so heavy handed with them. I can figure out my own parallels, metaphors and allegories by myself, thank you very much! I don't need the author to spell them out for me, it ended up sounding rather preachy.

But the story itself is very intriguing, the suspense is handled very well, and the secret and ultimate reason of why everything is happening kept me reading.
PS - I want to thank International Book Tours for the opportunity to read this book.
PS2 - The cover of the book is very pretty and does fit the story.


  1. thanks for the honest review! sounds like there was good and bad. i have her book 'impossible' but haven't had a chance to read it yet.

  2. Thanks for the fair review. I've heard so many great things about this that it's nice to hear another perspective.
    Alison Can Read

  3. Thanks for the review! I just read another review for this book that made think that I definitely wouldn't want to read it. Now I'm thinking that I *might* give it a try. But there's no rush.

  4. Hi!
    I had the same problems with the characters, I just didn't liked them, even when the plot was interesting.


Comments produce endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands. *giggle*

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.