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Extraordinary*: *The True Story of My Fairygodparent, Who Almost Killed Me, and Certainly Never Made Me a Princess by [Selzer, Adam]
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Extraordinary*: *The True Story of My Fairygodparent, Who Almost Killed Me, and Certainly Never Made Me a Princess Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Length: 338 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Age Level: 12 and up Grade Level: 7 and up

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Adam Selzer was born in Des Moines and now lives in Chicago, where he writes humorous books for young readers by day and runs ghost tours by night. (If you can find two cooler jobs than those, take them!) He is the author of I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It, The Smart Aleck's Guide to American History, Andrew North Blows Up the World, I Put a Spell on You, Pirates of the Retail Wasteland, and How to Get Suspended and Influence People, and he is just famous enough to have a page on Wikipedia. Check him out on the Web at

From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


I think "Jenny" must have had a second job holding up convenience stores. Take it from me, you do not earn enough money teaching piano to buy a Prius.

It's true that I taught piano, but my real car, the Jenmobile, was an old powder-blue thing that looked like it couldn't decide whether it was a sedan or a station wagon. I bought it at an auction for two hundred fifty dollars, and I probably overpaid. There were over three hundred thousand miles on the odometer, it had a weird smell that I could never get rid of, and it stalled more than a six-year-old at bedtime.

When it stalled on the way to school that fateful November morning, I patted the dashboard and said, "Come on, baby. It's just a few more blocks."

Sometimes that got it to start back up right away. This time it didn't.

It almost always started back up if I just gave it five or ten minutes, but the heater wouldn't come on when the car was stalled, and there was freezing rain coming down that morning. I wasn't about to sit there in the cold, so I put on the flashers, braved the sleet, and ran down Cedar Avenue to McDonald's for a cup of coffee.

That was where the story began.

When I stepped inside, a gruff voice called out, "Hoo hoo!" and I turned to see a scruffy guy sitting at a table wearing a tattered overcoat and a bent fedora.

"Excuse me?" I asked.

"Anyone ever tell you you look like Grimace, kiddo?" he asked.


He flashed me a goblin grin and stood up. When he did, I saw that he was hunchbacked, and couldn't have been more than four and a half feet tall. His curly brown hair--what I could see of it under his hat--must have been at least 50 percent grease.

The little weirdo hobbled up to a sign on the wall with all the characters from the McDonald's commercials and pointed at Grimace: the big, fat purple guy who looked like a talking eggplant or something.

"All that purple you got on, kiddo," he said, in a growly voice that made it sound like he was gargling whiskey. "You're the spitting image!"

For a second I was too dumbstruck to say anything.

He was the one who looked like something made by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. And he was calling me a big, fat eggplant man.

"Dick," I said.

He kept grinning at me as I slunk away from him and walked up to the counter.

My purple coat made me look fat. That was all. It was a big coat. I knew I wasn't the skinniest person in town or anything, but I was not shaped like an eggplant.

"Don't mind him," the woman at the register whispered. "He's been here every day lately. And when we close, we see him sitting in the parking lot across the street, smoking cigars."

"What a freak," I said.

"And when he gets a burger, he eats the whole thing. Like, the wrapper and everything."

I looked back over at the guy. He was back to sitting at his table, pouring some red liquid from a bottle in a brown bag into a teaspoon and slurping it up. I assumed it was not grape juice.

He was not the kind of guy you expect to see in Iowa. Not in suburban Des Moines, anyway. Maybe out in the smaller towns. There are plenty of weirdos out there. I ought to know--my town used to be a small town before it got absorbed into suburbia, and it was a regular freak show.

"Maybe you should call the cops," I said. "Are you sure he didn't, like, escape from an asylum or something?"

"No!" the weirdo shouted from his table. "I didn't."

I blushed and probably shivered a bit. I hadn't thought he could possibly hear us.

He put the bottle away, looked out the window at the strip malls and sleet, and started singing a song that went "Bang, bang, Lulu, bang away strong . . ."

"Well," I whispered, "you could at least get him on public drunkenness."

"Believe me, we've tried." The woman sighed. "But he passes the test every time."

When I left, I gave the guy my dirtiest look for his Grimace remark, but he didn't acknowledge me. He just kept singing to the window.

As I walked back to my car, I imagined three creative ways to murder him for calling me fat: dropping heavy rocks on his head; carving him into a funny shape with a chain saw; and tying a rope around his feet, swinging him around above my head, and throwing him clear to Omaha.

Then I poured my coffee into the gutter, put the empty cup on the ground, and stomped on it.

I liked to break things in those days.

Now, don't get me wrong--I wasn't some violent maniac or anything. All things considered, I was fairly well adjusted. I didn't even kill bugs if I could help it.

But up through the end of my junior year, my workload was about eighty hours per week, between school and various extracurriculars my parents made me do to pad my college applications. The only way I stayed sane was by reading a whole lot of Shakespeare (which I swear makes you breathe better) and squeezing in an hour or two a week to hang out with Jason and Amber, my best friends.

Still friends and Shakespeare couldn't keep me from getting stressed out now and then, and nothing relieved stress like breaking stuff.

Little porcelain angels from the dollar store were the best. Man, do those things shatter.

But at the end of junior year, I got early acceptance through a special program at Drake, which is sort of the Harvard of Des Moines. The extracurriculars and volunteer work and advanced classes were no longer necessary, so I gave myself a much lighter schedule for my senior year. Breaking stuff was hardly a part of my life anymore.

I was expecting this to be a really good day. My math class would be stuff I'd learned years ago. I could snooze through English while people read out loud from The Canterbury Tales at a rate of three words per minute. Debate would just be listening to the underclassmen argue about whether the new T-shirts should say "We Kick Rebuttal" or "We're Master Debaters."

And in drama, I'd just be relaxing while the cast rehearsed The Music Man. I was working props, a job that so far required me to do nothing more than sit on my butt and watch the rehearsals.

But the day started to fall apart the minute the Jenmobile stalled, and it only got worse from there.

In addition to being told that I look like a giant eggplant by a pint-sized, burger-wrapper-eating freak, I realized later that morning that I'd left my lunch sitting on the kitchen table.

Then I slammed my fingers in my locker.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3221 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (November 8, 2011)
  • Publication Date: November 8, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,746,276 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really loved Adam Selzer's EXTRAORDINARY*: *THE TRUE STORY OF MY FAIRY GODPARENT, WHO ALMOST KILLED ME, AND CERTAINLY NEVER MADE ME A PRINCESS. I mean, check that out. The title enough should already have you sucked in. But in case you need a little something to sweeten the pot, I'll have you know this: EXTRAORDINARY* is the best book I've ever read that uses unicorn poop as a major plot point. (Okay, maybe the only book. But, you know.)

Set in the familiar Selzerverse town of Cornersville Trace, Iowa, EXTRAORDINARY* is the story of one Jennifer Van Der Berg, a girl who is living a pretty average life, doing the whole high school thing in the wake of zombies and vampires "coming out of the coffin." She goes to class, has a few friends, and goes to regular Post-human/Human Alliance meetings. And she really loves purple. But when one day at McDonald's some greasy jerk deigns it appropriate to call her Grimace -- yes, the giant purple dude occasionally seen in McD's advertising -- she has half a mind to rip his face off. (Jennifer Van Der Berg has some anger issues to work out.) Soon, this guy -- Gregory Grue -- is everywhere, including her Alliance meetings, where he claims to be a new type of post human. In fact, he's Jennifer's fairy god mofo.

Of course, readers should already know this, as Jennifer explains. Her story has already been told in a bestselling book, and, ever since the movie adaptation came out, people have been camping out on her lawn and harassing her boyfriend. But the book -- written by post-human "expert" Eileen Codlin -- got it all wrong. In the book, "Jenny V." got to go to the dance, avoid a geek, and kiss a vampire to become a princess. Real life is way harder than that.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I could not put down Extraordinary. It's witty, compelling, and a refreshing change from angst-filled dead mother books. I found myself laughing out loud many times, which I rarely do while reading. I even read parts of the book to my partner, who laughed as well. Most of the characters are quirky and fun, even the villain of the story. Adam even mentioned the naked winged guy riding a tricycle that used to be on display at Merle Hay Mall. As a former Des Moines resident, I enjoyed reading about places I know well.

All ages will enjoy this book. I heartily recommend it!
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a real treat for fans of I Put a Spell on You: From the Files of Chrissie Woodward, Spelling Bee Detective, especially if you liked Jennifer, Mutual, Jason, and/or Amber, but even if you've never read that book, this is still a fun, funny book. This is also a sort of sequel/companion book to I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It, and there are some references to the events of that book, but it's not necessary to have read that book either.

All the characters are believable (as believable as kids living in a world where zombies and vampires are real can be) and interesting, even the ones who are obviously exaggerated. There's a little bit of romance. There were even a couple of moments that made me laugh out loud. I honestly don't know why this book hasn't gotten more attention. I really enjoyed it and heartily recommend it to people who enjoy books that turn fairy tales upside down and/or those who think unicorn poop is funny.
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