Sunday, October 31, 2010

Charmed Knockoff or YA Treat? Why Not Both?

Let's jump right in, shall we?  The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June, by Robin Benway.  I didn't like this book as much at first because it wasn't quite what I expected.  It's a very small and immediate book--when the three sisters realize they have these marvelous powers, it doesn't thrust them onto a broader world stage.  It changes their relationship with high school, their parents, each other, and themselves.  It's about boys, friends, divorce, and being 14/15/16.

At the beginning of the book, I was expecting something more--epic?  adventurous?--and it felt like it was dragging.  But as soon as I realized I was reading a high school drama that was mostly about dates and boys and figuring out who you are, I realized that it does that really, really well.  The voices of the three sisters are sharp, witty, sarcastic, and young.  I kind of hated all three characters at first, and really loved them all at the end, which is just the right path for the book. 

There are places where it's a little heavy-handed--April's worrywarting has a breadth that is quite literally unbelievable (did you know white bread can kill you?) and June's ability to change the subject from, say, a car accident they were just in to what people will think of her new skirt is maybe a bit more teenagery than I remember real teenagers being. And the level on which their response to their superpowers--seeing the future, being invisible, reading minds--is "Omigawd!" (in every tone of voice you can imagine it uttered)--well, I'd have given teenagers more credit than that.

But what do I know?  I'm 34.  It was a really good book.

1 comment:

Mrs. N said...

I have this on my to-read list! Hopefully I'll be able to manage my expectations so I can enjoy it.