"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Friday, October 15, 2010

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

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Summary: Three teenaged sisters discover they have magical powers. 

April, May and June are three sisters who suddenly discover they have magical powers one day.

The girls have enough normal stresses – their parents recently divorced and the girls had to leave their home, school and old friends. And their dad is moving to Houston and took their TV!
“”It’ll be like an adventure,” my mom had said when we moved in, and she smiled so hard that my sisters and I just smiled back, like we hadn’t already spent the past three months on an adventure, watching our family reshape itself.”
The tone of sadness adds a depth of seriousness to a light Young Adult novel. Each sister is narrated in first person by each chapter and while I like the writing style, often it was also difficult to tell the voices apart without the name header each time.

Junior April is the eldest and her talent is telling the future. She is the typical big sister – devoted to her sisters, burdened by the weight of the responsibility and mature than she appears. April is also witty and can recognize her own faults with humor.
 “Teasing May will never not be fun.”
Sophomore May is the middle child and can turn invisible. There is something apt about the cliché of the middle child disappearing. May can sometimes control her invisibility and sometimes she can’t. There seems to be no reason why May can or can’t control it. May’s tough exterior covers up a dream of life in Paris and a very tender heart. May was by far my favorite character, because of her smart ass-ery.
“Maaaaaaay,” Mr. Corday said in his best I-may-be-in-a-position-of-not-entirely-deserved-authority-but-let’s-be-friends-anyway voice. “Let’s talk. I heard you might need some extra help in one of your classes.
“Do you have a reliable source?” I asked him. “Signed affidavits? Eyewitness accounts?”
“Your initial test score.” He raised his big bushy eyebrows. It’s gross how old dudes’ eyebrows get all gray and long.
“Oh.” I said. "The test score. Maybe I’m being framed.”
Freshman June serves as comic relief but she’s also obsessed with appearances and being part of the in crowd. When she gets her sisiters to acknowledge that they all have powers, June suggests:
"Maybe we should make, like, a secret facebook group or something.”

One day, April sees a vision of a car crash, red lights, her sister June standing in headlights and the face of Julian, the boy next to April’s locker. April knows the vision will occur and keeps trying to change the course of events so that the accident won’t happen.

In typical YA novel fashion, the parents aren’t really involved in their kids' lives so the girl are having morally dubious decisions all by themselves. Their arguments for the “right way” to use their powers would make a neat discussion for a book club. But it also mean that three teenagers are having screaming door-slamming fights.
“If you needed a serving of repressed crazy, you could definitely swing by our house and pick up a slice, is what I’m saying.”

A fun novel with a surprising ending and enjoyable characters I'd love to read about again.

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