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Extraordinary October

Review

Extraordinary October

Diana Wagman’s fifth book, EXTRAORDINARY OCTOBER, is one of magic and adventure. October Fetterhoff is very, very ordinary. Her looks, grades, hobbies, height --- all average. The only thing that’s unusual about her is her name. October’s always flown under the radar, so average she’s unnoticeable. But this begins to change as her eighteenth birthday approaches. One day in class October gets an itch. That itch begins to morph into something bigger. October soon finds out that she’s the daughter of a troll princess and a fairy prince, the two cute new guys at school want her attention, and October begins to develop magical powers. This all sounds pretty good to ordinary October, until she realizes that there’s an evil being after her that will stop at nothing to prevent October from becoming extraordinary.

"If you’re looking for a quick, sweet read with magic and a good message, EXTRAORDINARY OCTOBER is the book for you."

Diana Wagman wrote EXTRAORDINARY OCTOBER for her daughter, who believed in magic and magical creatures. When I first heard that I was really excited, because Wagman’s daughter sounded similar to me --- and the book itself didn't disappoint.

In the beginning of the book, I wasn’t sure I would like it. October seemed a little too guy-crazy, and the book was really weird. It felt like I was hallucinating, and I had no clue what was going on. Then I read further. October is hilarious and loveable. Diana Wagman did an amazing job making the reader feel like they were discovering October’s powers with her, and like they were a part of her adventure.

I was also worried that the book would be too stereotypical, fairies = pretty, trolls = ugly. But it wasn’t. Yes, there’s a rivalry between the two groups, but one side isn’t the obvious “evil” group. October has friends on both sides. The one bad part is that she has more fairy friends, and is closer to her fairy friends, so it’s not completely equal, but it was nice for both sides to be represented.

Another part of the book that defied its expectation, was that it wasn’t the same as most young adult fantasy stories. Most fantasies have the “fairy tale romance,” where the guy sweeps the girl off her feet. But this book (no spoilers) didn’t. Two guys were fighting for October, but it wasn’t one of those painful love triangles with the heroine having to dramatically decide who she loves. The end result did surprise me a little, but that’s a good thing.

I really liked the message Wagman put out, that the ordinary is extraordinary, and magic is hiding in the most average places. Anyone can be amazing, and I feel like that’s not a message enough YA authors talk about.  The messages in this book are so moving and beautiful, they even made me cry. In so many books, the protagonist is defined by their powers and abilities, but October is defined by her personality and what she stands for. These are important things that shouldn’t be as underrated as they are in the literary world.

Wagman’s timely references made an already good book even better, and so did the beautiful cover art. If you’re looking for a quick, sweet read with magic and a good message, EXTRAORDINARY OCTOBER is the book for you.

Reviewed by Rebecca N. on September 14, 2016

Extraordinary October
by Diana Wagman