When I told a co-worker that I loved The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd, she laughed and said that I love everything I read.
That is so not true.
But it is true that I enjoy a wide variety of books, and I enjoy them for what they are—good books for their own genre—and I like lots of genres. And, it is true that I try to choose books that appeal to me, so I am predisposed to liking them. And, if I find a book that I really dislike, I rarely finish it, and I don’t think it’s very fair to write reviews on books that I haven’t finished, although I will, on occasion, do so. And, I rarely throw around that I hated a book, because another person may love the book that I hated, and I don’t want to predispose them to hating it, or discourage them from reading it. If people ask me what I thought of a book, I tell them honestly. For instance, I just wasn’t all that wild about Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t think it was the best thing since mint chocolate chip ice cream either.
But I digress, and I doubt you care. *Clears throat*
I loved The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd. I really loved her last book, A Snicker of Magic, and I was rooting for it to win the Newbery. When I heard that she had a new book out, I immediately ran and got it and put it on the top of my stack. I was not disappointed.
Every woman in Emma’s family is extraordinary in some way. Each of them has a Destiny Dream that shows them how they are going to be extraordinary, and Emma can hardly wait to get this show on the road. When Emma’s dream finally arrives, it points her to a seemingly impossible task. But, if she can’t do it, she will lose her home and her town will lose its history.
I am a fan of magical reality books. I love stories that offer the possibility that there are things in the world that are uncommon and strange, that are magic sprinkled over the cake of everyday life. Lloyd’s books are just that. Regular people who are special in wonderful ways. I adored a quote from the book:
“In the eyes of many people, I may never live an extraordinary life. But I will love in extraordinary ways.”
Yes! Oh, yes!
Put this book into the hands of kids who just love a good story. It has funny parts, Emma has a cheerful voice, and there is excellent imagery and use of description (I’m also a sucker for a well-turned phrase). Because Emma has lost both her mother and father, this would also be a good book for kids coming to terms with death, as death is very prevalent in the book in a gentle way (Emma’s yard is an historic graveyard, and she gives tours. The town is haunted and the dead communicate in generally non-creepy ways). Despite the subject matter, this is in no way a scary book.