Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Key to Extraordinary

The Key to Extraordinary
by Natalie Lloyd
Published by: Scholastic Press
Published date: February 23, 2016

Summary from Goodreads:
Everyone in Emma's family is special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians--every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream.

For Emma, her own dream can't come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she'd do whatever it took to fulfill her destiny, and she doesn't want to let her mother down.

But when Emma's dream finally arrives, it points her toward an impossible task--finding a legendary treasure hidden in her town's cemetery. If Emma fails, she'll let down generations of extraordinary ancestors . . . including her own mother. But how can she find something that's been missing for centuries and might be protected by a mysterious singing ghost?

With her signature blend of lyrical writing, quirky humor, and unforgettable characters, Natalie Lloyd's The Key to Extraordinarycements her status as one of the most original voices writing for children today.

My Review:
I just love Natalie Lloyd's books. Her magical settings are so believable, I have a hard time thinking of the stories as fantasy. A Key To Extraordinary is just as sweet of a read as A Snicker of Magic, which is a book that I am always recommending to my students. I can't wait to get this new book in the hands of my kiddos.  (And - I got to meet Natalie at the Texas Library Association meeting in Houston this year!  She is just as sweet as her books.)

The phrases and names of places that Natalie Lloyd uses are extraordinary themselves (I found this to be a nice connection to the magical words from A Snicker of Magic).  I adore her world building.  First of all, Emma lives in Blackbird Hollow located by Blackbird Hollow Cemetery, where she gives tours, feels the Touch from the Great Beyond, sees  Healing Blues and hears from Telling Vines.  Her family runs the Boneyard Cafe where they cook up the best Boneyard Brew (hot chocolate - yum!)  Emma is a girl with an adventurous spirit, but she loses her mom and has to deal with the Big Empty.  (These feelings are so spot on that I wondered if Natalie Lloyd had lost a parent.  After reading her acknowledgments, I don't think so.)  For middle grade novels, I am a fan of great, happy endings despite the hardships that a character has to go through during the story.  All I will say is - Wildflower, Stars, Treasure, and Club Pancake!  I'm not about to give away the ending.

Thank you to Natalie Lloyd and Scholastic for another beautiful story...and for signing my copy!

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