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Anything But Ordinary Hardcover – September 11, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-When Bryce miraculously awakens from a five-year coma caused by a diving accident, she is still 17 years old emotionally, and it's hard for her to process how much has happened in the lives of her family and friends. Her then boyfriend and best girlfriend, Gabby, are now engaged, her little sister has become a troubled teenager, and her parents put their lives on hold to watch over her while she was in the hospital. She also struggles with the realization of what her life is like now. Her dreams of being an Olympic diving champion are over, and she must look beyond her teenage goals to try to discover who the 22-year-old Bryce is and what she wants to be. While still in the hospital, she meets cute, dependable Carter, an intern who becomes more than just a good friend. However, she still has feelings for her old boyfriend, and he is torn between his love for Bryce and his commitment to Gabby. Then Bryce receives the devastating news that she is not expected to live more than a month longer. This story is an interesting look at how different people deal with tragedy and how it affects their lives both before and after Bryce awakens. The main characters are fully developed, and readers can easily empathize with them. The plot holds few surprises except for the ending. Girls looking for a happy/sad romantic story will love this one.-Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SCα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

When Bryce Graham wakes up from a coma five years after a diving accident at the Olympic trials, she finds her world has completely changed: her playful little sister is a sullen teenager; her estranged parents barely speak; and her boyfriend and her best friend have graduated from Stanford, become an item, and just gotten engaged. Although she is now 22, Bryce’s knowledge and experience are those of the 17-year-old she was at the time of the accident—with one exception. Bryce knows things that she shouldn’t, some that happened while she was in the coma and some that haven’t happened yet. Fortunately, there’s a handsome young med student who takes a special interest in her case. While the romance and illness aspects of the plot are comfortably predictable, Avery captures the fascination of the line between life and death with tender and lyrical prose. Popular culture details will date the story in time, but current romance readers seeking a good cry will immediately start rereading this debut novel and make a note of Avery’s name. Grades 8-12. --Debbie Carton

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; First Edition edition (September 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423163869
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423163862
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,585,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Thanks to an advance reading copy, I got a chance to check out Anything But Ordinary by Lara Avery a few weeks early. The premise to this YA novel is compelling - seventeen-year-old Bryce wakes up in the hospital after an Olympic diving trial gone wrong, only to discover that she missed the last five years of her life, and she's actually twenty-two. Her best friend Gabby and her boyfriend Greg commiserated together... to the point that they began dating each other, thinking Bryce would never come out of her coma. Bryce still feels seventeen in her head, as if the dive that landed her in the hospital was just yesterday, but in reality, her little sister Sydney is now seventeen, and running around with a partying crowd that likes to drink, dress alternatively, and stay out late. Bryce's parents have become distant from each other, due to the stress of her accident. Her mom and dad have different ideas about how to structure her recovery, and this leads to more bickering.

The novel's plot kept me reading, even though some of the dialogue was mildly bland and perhaps not as in depth as it could have been. I was interested to see how Bryce would handle the many difficult situations she had to face. I especially would have liked to see the relationship between Bryce and her sister Sydney fleshed out, because I got the impression we were only seeing the tip of the iceberg. A few more flashback scenes of her former life would have helped her loss resonate with readers even more strongly.

One problem is that the Olympic trials plot sparked my interest, and yet the Olympics are barely discussed as a goal of Bryce's. After she wakes up, she realizes she will never be able to compete, and the novel doesn't focus on her coming to terms with this, favoring the romantic triangle instead.
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Format: Hardcover
The intriguing premise of Lara Avery's Anything But Ordinary is what initially drew me to this book- I mean girl-in-coma-wakes-up-years-later with visions sounds pretty captivating- unfortunately, the book's story execution and character development fell very flat.

Seventeen year old Bryce has a terrible accident on the day of her Olympic diving trials and ends up in a coma. Five years later, she miraculously wakes up and seems to recover swiftly. But everything is different- Bryce is now 22, her parents' marriage is breaking, her baby sister is now a rebellious, wayward 17 year old and her BFF and high school boyfriend have moved on. Then Bryce starts to have weird visions, visions of things that happened while she was asleep and visions of things to come. And through it all, Bryce must rediscover who she is and the life she wants to live.

Anything But Ordinary starts with a potentially complex and fascinating premise, but the story never lives up to that potential. This book seems to have an identity crisis of sorts; it can't decide if it's a contemporary or a paranormal or a love story. It has elements of all three, and individually these elements can, at times, be compelling and intriguing, but they don't really mesh well together or cohesively. The story just never finds its balance or flow.

The narration is anything but smooth and has a disjointed, clunky feel to it. At times I found myself fully engrossed in the story, but then the choppy flow would yank me out of the story. The writing itself is not bad, in fact there are quite a few really beautiful and thought-provoking lines, and the actual story being told is worth telling. However, the total story execution and development falls very short.
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Format: Hardcover
This book drew me in from the first words. Bryce is so easy to connect with and I wanted the best for her, and it was painful to go through her journey with her, especially at first when she realized that she lost five years of her life, and everything around her is so uncertain. Lara Avery writes beautifully, inserting just enough conflict, suspense, and character development to leave me hooked.
There is so much leaving me wondering, about her dreams/flashbacks/forwards wondering if they are true to life, or only in her head. I was so torn with the Greg situation, and I can totally understand all three sides. Its messy, and it is realistic, and it kept me hooked.
I also hung onto every scene with Carter. I pictured him kinda like John Carter in ER, and the image stuck with me. I liked Carter on TV, and I like the Carter in Anything but Ordinary as well.
Speaking of characters, I so felt for and wanted to smack Sydney all at once. I can totally see where she is coming from and what she must be feeling though.
The ending. Oh the ending. First I was furious, then I wanted to throw something, then I felt like crying. And then realized how poetic it was and felt like giving Lara an ovation for having such guts to write what she did.
Honestly, I think this will be a book that is either very well received or not liked at all. But I am of course on the loved it side of things, and Lara Avery is an author to watch for me.
Bottom Line: I was immersed in Anything but Ordinary. Superb main character with a cast of memorable secondary characters. Sad but weaved with the theme of hope, fight and strength.
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