Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Release Day! Book Review: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June by Robin Benway

Title: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June
Author: Robin Benway
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Format: ARC
ISBN: 978-1-59514-286-3
Price: 16.99 Pages: 288
Release Date: 8/3/10

When the publisher was gracious enough to send me this book, I had never heard of the author, Robin Benway. She's a relatively new voice in the YA genre and what a voice that is! The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June is her second novel and I want to get right to the blurb on the book:

Around the time of their parent's divorce, sisters April, May and June recover special powers from chidhood--powers that come in handy navigating the pure hell that is high school, and help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?

April, the oldest, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And the youngest sister June reads minds. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls must come together to save the day or risk falling apart forever. Will they realize how much they need one another, before it's too late? Because if there's anything stronger than magic, it's sisterhood.

While magical elements play a big part of the plot in this novel, it is so seemlessly woven in, that it never feels contrived or out of place. Benway makes such elements seem almost plausible as she takes the reader through the lives, conniptions and struggles of three very true-to-life teenagers. It's a real coming of age story and the special abilities that the girls possess, draw the reader in to discover how such abilities are going to play out as the girls navigate boys, troubled parental relationships and their own bad choices.

Each chapter is told in alternating point of view by one of the sisters. You don't lose track of who's who because Benway cleverly and wisely placed the girls ages in chronological order to match the month of their names, which is also their birthday.

What captivated me most of all was the author's excellent capture of the teen voice. Bravo! This is truly one of the best examples of such that I have read. It was so dead on, it was almost annoying...lol...but in a good way. What do I mean? If you hang around enough teenagers, either because you live with them or work with them, as I do, some of their conversations and manner of speaking can get on your nerves...lol...Benway gets an A plus for her ability to actually capture the nuance and flavor of the teen voice and their way of thinking. It was quite impressive. I was planning on giving away the ARC after completing the book, but I have to keep it for my professional library as a great reference!

Young people will really be able to connect with the protagonists of this book. It's is well plotted, has a fast paced story and a heart warming ending. Aspiring YA authors would do well to obtain it to have a first rate reference on writing YA and learning what is a teen voice and perspective. It can only enhance their learning curve.


  1. Great review June! I have read her first book Audrey Wait! and I really enjoyed that one. I like that there are three sisters and that the POV is trough the eyes of all of them. I also like the sound of that the sisters have magical powers, makes it even more interesting. I already have this on my tbr list, but now I am truly excited to get it and read it. Thanks again for the great review.

  2. Thanks for checking out the review Nina. I haven't read Audry Wait! yet, but I'm sure you're going to enjoy this one. It is a cool book, full of teen angst and emotion.


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