Thursday, June 23, 2011

Before the Blog (1): Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin

I've been thinking about starting a weekly meme called "Before the Blog" for some time, and I think I'm finally going to do it....

I think it's safe to assume that if you are a book blogger, you didn't start reading when you started blogging. If you're like me, you read hundreds, if not thousands of books, before you started blogging. I often think about past books that I really loved, and would like to review on my blog, but it seems that I have a difficult enough time keeping up, reviewing the books I'm currently reading. I know there are loads of you out there that have past gems that you would like to spread the word about as well, so I thought we could motivate eachother to do it each week, We tend to review what is new, which is why many people read the blogs, but there are so many fabulous books that people don't even know about; books that they NEED to read. "Before the Blog" is a place where bloggers can post a review of a book they read and loved BEFORE they started blogging about books, along with the answers to a few questions about their choice:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 
So... Grab the BtB button (the code is on my sidebar), create your post, add the link to my page via Mr. Linky, and check out the past loves of other bloggers. It doesn't matter which day of the week you do it, but I will be posting mine on Thursdays, so the week will be Thursday-Wednesday. Check back frequently to see who else is posting.

Without further do, here is my very first BtB post...

Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin
Publisher: Dial
Publication Date: September 7th, 2010

Why did you choose this book? I haven't really seen it much on the blogs I follow, and I think it is such a great book that a lot of YA book lovers would adore.

When did you read this book? October, 2010

Who would you recommend this book to? Anyone who is a lover of books about faery. If you are a fan of Melissa Marr, Holly Black, Julie Kagawa, or Carrie Jones, you'll really enjoy Nancy Werlin, and this book in particular.

Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, and the two girls become as close as sisters . . . until Mallory's magnetic older brother, Ryland, shows up during their junior year. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe, but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself. Soon she'll discover the shocking truth about Ryland and Mallory: that these two are visitors from the faerie realm who have come to collect on an age-old debt. Generations ago, the faerie queen promised Pheobe's ancestor five extraordinary sons in exchange for the sacrifice of one ordinary female heir. But in hundreds of years there hasn't been a single ordinary girl in the family, and now the faeries are dying. Could Phoebe be the first ordinary one? Could she save the faeries, or is she special enough to save herself?
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I have to admit that I picked this book up for one reason, and one reason only... The cover. Isn't it absolutely STUNNING? I was choosing potential books for the Teen/YA section of our school book fair last year and was totally unfamiliar with Nancy Werlin, but this cover grabbed my eye. I knew if the content was okay, that it would grab the eye of every 6th grade girl at our school, so I had to check it out. I had another mom read it for me and she LOVED it, so of course, I had to read it (even though I had ZERO time). I loved it and instantly became a Nancy Werlin fan!

Why did I love it so much, you ask? Well for starters, the writing was flawless. Werlin was able to not only establish a connection between myself and the characters in this book, but she was able to evoke real feelings. I got that feeling you get in your gut when a charcter you've connected with goes through something tough. I felt the elation in my chest that happens when a triumph occurs. Not many people can successfully pull that off with the written word; Nancy Werlin not only succeeds, but she is a master at it. The characters are well developed and the story moves at just the right pace that you would rather give up sleep than stop reading.

Another reason I liked this book is that the fae are portrayed the way I like them to be. If you've read some of my other reviews, you know that I don't like "nice" fairies. Disney's version of fae don't do it for me. I much prefer the sort that are cold, selfish, and slightly evil, with powerful magic and at least a mild disdain for humans. That's all covered in Extraordinary.

Finally, I loved the story itself. Wow. I'm not going to give any spoilers here though (I hate it when I look up a book review and the reviewer take you event by event through the story, making it pointless to read the book). Between the Goodreads synopsis above and the trailer, you can get enough of an idea to tell if you want to read this book. I liked how it developed. There were some twists that I didn't see coming, which is always a bonus, and I was happy with the ending. If that doesn't make for a great book, I don't know what does.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Grade Level Recommendation: This book is pretty clean. The protagonist does consider losing her virginity, and comes very close (like naked close). For that reason, I would definitely say Middle School and up. I think it would be okay for a mature 6th grader, fine for 7th+ (ages 12+).

Well, I hope you enjoyed my very first "Before the Blog" post, and I hope you'll consider participating each week so I don't feel like a total loser! Make sure to put your link in the Mr. Linky so that I can read your BtB review!


  1. This is a great idea. I'll put my thinking cap on -- I've done some of this with my Monday Memories posts, but most of those are about stuff I read a LOOOOONG time ago. I see blog posts all the time about books I read long ago -- and I love that because it reminds me of those books again, and how I loved (or didn't love) them.


  2. This is a great idea. There's lots of books I reviewed on Goodreads before I started blogging and ton of books I read before that.

  3. Wait... this book has fae?! How did I not know that! I've seen this around a billion times, but apparently I've never bothered to read a review or synopsis for it. Yep, it's true: I'm an idiot.

    The only fae books I've read are the Wicked Lovely series, which I loved, so I want to expand on my deliciously wicked winged beings. You have totally convinced me I need to get this asap. Great review and love the new feature!

  4. I read Impossible and bought Extraordinary because I loved Werlin's writing. I have yet to actually read it though as it sits among so many of my TBR books. Glad you liked it though and your review has me thinking about moving it up in the pile.

  5. I think I'm going to do this on Mondays. Sounds like a great meme.

  6. Such a great idea, I've been a book lover for seven years and I just started my blog a week ago. I'm definitely participating in this meme!

  7. I love this idea!!! I used to write all my reviews in a notebook just for fun before I started my blog... this gives me an excuse to reread that stuff :)


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