Diana Wagman | Extraordinary October (Ig)

I kept reading, and sure enough, October meets two boys and becomes covered in magical abilities.

extraordinary

The book begins, “I was never anything but ordinary. Average in every way. Brown hair, brown eyes, not short, not tall, not fat, not thin, and your basic ‘B’ student.” It goes on to list that our protagonist—who so far has all of the personality of a potato—was unnoticed by her peers, couldn’t draw or play an instrument—and literally the only interesting thing about her was her name. Which was given to her.

At this point in the prologue, I got pissed and stopped reading the book.

My favorite book when I was a ’tween was Girl with the Silver Eyes. Katie, our heroine, wasn’t beautiful or charming, but she was smarter than most adults around her, and she knew it. I was also really smart when I was a kid, and I knew it, too. Reading about someone else with brown hair (silver eyes, though) who was smart? That gave me an ally in what was otherwise a fairly exhausting time of growing up different.

I asked my 12-year-old daughter, Monkey, if she’d run across this character. I started describing October and Monkey said, “Oh! The girl who is completely boring unless she meets a boy or gets covered in magical abilities? Yeah, I’ve read about her a lot. She stinks.” Holy crap. So I kept reading, and sure enough, October meets two boys and becomes covered in magical abilities.

Now, the writing isn’t bad. The story is solid and the characters are a bit trope-y, but this isn’t a bad book. What it is, unfortunately, is yet another tale of a Blank-Sheet-of-Paper Girl who gets things written on her. If the prologue hadn’t existed, and if October hadn’t pointed out so often how plain she was, I think I would have been enchanted with this story.

So, I recommend this book—just tear out the prologue first. | Melissa Cynova

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