Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Review: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June

Review in Short: This is an adorable, well-written story about three sisters with superpowers. It's told from multiple viewpoints (all three sisters) and the characters have a depth to them that comes from getting more than one person's perspective. The theme of sisterhood is the driving force of this novel and it certainly doesn't hurt that the characters, relationships, voice, and plot are so wonderful. Though the ending seemed to drag on too long, I completely fell in love with this book. 89/100 = B

Premise: 8.
Not long after their parents divorce sisters April, May, and June (re)discover powers that have been hidden since childhood. April can see the future, middle-child May literally disappears, and June can read minds. Though I don't encounter this much in the contemporary books I read, I know the discovery of powers is a pretty common theme and premise in fantasy and paranormal fiction.

Plot: 9. The storyline here revolves around the sisters dealing with having superhero-style powers and the aftermath of their parents divorce. New friends, love interests, and their complicated relationships with each other and their parents are a huge part of this plot and not to give anything away, but it's really interesting how the stories and characters intersect.

Characters: 10. I loved the characters in this novel. The sisters were so different and the depth of their thoughts and personalities were shown so well, especially with the multiple-POV narration letting you see certain events from different viewpoints. The dialogue between the sisters (and in general) was hilarious and spot-on. I loved it.

Relationships: 9. First of all, I could not have loved the relationships between April, May, and June more. It's just not possible. They laughed and fought and talked like sisters actually do and as the story goes on their relationships develop and deepen. Another relationship I really loved was the one between April and Julian -- their conversations were hysterical and heart-warming. Really, the only slight problem I had with the relationships in this book was how suddenly the May-and-Henry dynamic seemed to change.

Setting: 8. A new school and new house are the settings for this novel but they both seem to be overshadowed by so much else. Which, quite honestly, works for this book. I didn't even notice until I set out to write my review.

Themes: 9. Friendship and family dynamics, but mostly sisterhood. This book was completely wonderful as far as the dynamic of sisters was portrayed and this, more than the divorce or superpowers, was what carried the story. Superlove.

Voice: 10.

Ending: 7. Okay, here's the one place I had issues with this book. The ending dragged on too long and I felt like the book easily could have ended before the last couple of chapters and been better for it.

Recommendability: 9.

Fangirly: 10. Okay, I wasn't expecting much from this book. Unlike so many others, I wasn't a big fan of Robin Benway's debut novel (AUDREY, WAIT!) and I so rarely read anything with a fantastical twist to it. But this is more contemporary than anything else and the relationships and characters are nearly perfect. I fell in love.

This book gets 89 out of 100, a B.
For readers looking for a sweet story of sisters and superpowers, anyone who liked Robin Benway's first novel, as well as fans of Maureen Johnson. Or, you know, just anyone looking for an incredibly awesome book.

1 comment: