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The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June

Review

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June

April, May and June are about as close as three sisters can get --- not just in age (they're each 13 months apart) but also in the ways they look out for each other. They have wildly different personalities, to be sure, but if push came to shove, they'd give up everything for each other. And they've become even closer in the wake of their parents' recent divorce and their subsequent move to a new suburb and a new high school where they don't know anyone but each other.

April is the oldest, somewhat of a bookworm and an idealist. Middle child May is the bad girl of the family: bad attitude, bad behavior, bad language, bad grades, the whole nine yards. Youngest sister June is still starry-eyed, convinced that her freshman year at a new school is going to wind up looking just like the teen romance comedies she adores.

On their very first week of school, however, the sisters discover new information that might change their expectations about the school year --- and about each other. During one particularly eventful car ride to school, the girls learn some alarming things about themselves: April can see into the future, May can disappear, and June can read people's thoughts!

Needless to say, these unexpected talents make navigating a new high school both easier and more challenging. Does June really want to know what that guy in her math class is thinking about the girl next to her? Does April really want to find out what her newly-single mom is up to on her dates? Does May really want to disappear, especially when she tends to do so in the company of her so-nerdy-he's-kind-of-cute history tutor? Not only that, but the sisters' newfound superpowers make it harder for them to trust each other --- something that was second nature before.

Things come to a head during June's first unsupervised party, which May attends (unseen, naturally) to keep an eye on her younger sister at the request of April, who has had an unnerving version of June's future. Will the friendship remain intact in light of this new, sometimes uncomfortable closeness?

In her second novel, Robin Benway demonstrates a real flair for witty dialogue; the sisters’ repartee is so fast and furious, in fact, that it can sometimes come off as inauthentic, too clever for its own good. Mostly, however, it's just wickedly funny, as the girls riff on each other's foibles, linguistic tendencies and preoccupations. Benway also manages to juggle three first-person narratives (the sisters narrate separate chapters in turn) in voices that are distinct without becoming self-consciously so.

Certainly readers will come away from THE EXTRAORDINARY SECRETS OF APRIL, MAY, & JUNE with questions: there are some inconsistencies in the sisters' powers (for instance, why, if June can read minds, doesn't she detect May's unseen but certainly not unfelt presence at the party?), and the origin of their powers, though hinted at, is never adequately explained. These are minor quibbles, however, and certainly readers looking for a fast-paced, funny romantic fantasy will gladly spend time with these three super-talented sisters.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on August 3, 2010

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

  • Publication Date: August 3, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 281 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill
  • ISBN-10: 159514286X
  • ISBN-13: 9781595142863