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 until Mallory’s handsome brother, Ryland, appears during their junior year, and Phoebe finds herself intensely attracted to him. A dangerous romance begins, but Phoebe soon discovers that Mallory and Ryland are not who they seem. In Extraordinary, National Book Award finalist Nancy Werlin has crafted an enchanting novel of friendship and loyalties, where family history determines the fate of many and a generations-old pact requires a sacrifice of the greatest proportion. With underlying themes of self-discovery and allegiance, there is more to Extraordinary than first meets the eye.--Seira Wilson
From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up–Phoebe Rothschild meets Mallory Tolliver when they are in seventh grade. Mallory, a pariah among the popular set, is saved by Phoebe, who rejects the clique and embraces the new girl as her best friend. Four years later, when the girls are juniors in high school, Mallory reveals the existence of her half-brother, Ryland, who is 24 and irresistible. He is one of the fey, as is Mallory, and he uses fairy glamour for diabolical ends; dialogues between the Faerie Queen and Mallory and the Faerie Queen and Ryland reveal that the fey have deadly plans for the unsuspecting Phoebe. Ryland informs the Queen that Phoebe will be easy to seduce but Phoebe, even though bound by magic, still manages to resist submitting fully. Real-world conversations and settings are distinctly rendered, as are Phoebe's glimpses of Faerie, and although the intermittent dialogues with the Faerie Queen sometimes feel stilted, they provide critical backstory. The denouement flounders ever so slightly in overexplanation, but the carefully nuanced, often sensual prose delivers a highly effective narrative. Characterizations are arresting and complex: Phoebe, thoughtful and loyal, is bravely compassionate; Mallory, divided and determined, elicits reluctant sympathy; and Ryland, controlling and manipulative, is scarily realistic. Werlin's intricately constructed plot combines fairy lore, family history, and coming of age in an engrossing, often suspenseful story that moves smoothly to its inevitable end. Phoebe's intellectual and emotional transformation from ordinary to extraordinary is of her own volition, which makes her the compelling force of this bittersweet fairy tale.Janice M. Del Negro, GSLIS Dominican University, River Forest, IL
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