Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway

Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 282
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Summary: I hugged my sisters and they fit against my sides like two jigsaw pieces that would never fit anywhere else. I couldn’t imagine ever letting them go again, like releasing them would be to surrender the best parts of myself.
Three sisters share a magical, unshakeable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents’ divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood--powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?
April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds--everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll always have each other.
Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.

This book caught my eye when it first came out. My sister had many good things to say about Benway’s first novel, Audrey, Wait! so I decided to give both of them a try. I enjoyed Audrey, Wait! a lot and had high hopes for this one as well.
April, May, and June are dealing with several issues: their parents have just divorced, their father moved away, and oh yeah, they just discovered they had magical powers. April has visions of the future. May can turn invisible. And June can read the minds of those around her--a talent that her sisters are less than appreciative of. Their newfound magic is just a quirky addition to their antics--until April sees a disturbing vision of the future. The girls must put aside their differences and work together in order to try to avoid their impending doom.
The three sisters were all very different but not in a hugely cliched way; June, the youngest, wanted to be popular but wasn’t a vapid drone, May was kind of a loner type but didn’t march around with a cigarette and a trench coat discussing how jaded she was, and April had an interest in academics and books, but she didn’t obsessively study to the point of being a social pariah. Robin Benway continued expressing her ability to create realistic, believable characters, despite the fact that these three girls had magical powers.
I found the plot a little lackluster compared to Audrey, Wait! Despite the interesting characters and realistic setting for the sisters’ magic, the plot fell flat. I think that I maybe wanted more humor. Instead of worrying about the danger, I think I would have appreciated the big thing in this book to be made of funny antics or a wacky misunderstanding. I liked the characters, but they were not interesting enough on their own to overcome the lackluster nature of the plot. May came the closest, but I feel like she also got the least amount of story, maybe because of the nature of her power?
So, The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June disappointed me a bit due to my high expectations going in. The book was still pretty decent, so if you’re looking for a contemporary read with just a hint of magic, check it out. I’m looking forward to Benway’s next novel (due out Winter 2013?), which is supposed to be about a teenage spy or detective (combination?).

Rating: 3 - decent.

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