Tuesday, March 28, 2017

MG Realistic Fiction/Contempory: Extraordinary by Miriam Spitzer Franklin

Extraordinary by Miriam Spitzer Franklin
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Number of Pages: 268
Publishing:  April 4th, 2017 (paperback)

Why I wanted to read this:  Contemporary middle grade, friendship story.  I received a request for a review and this seems like a heartfelt story.  

Pansy and Anna have been best friends ever since they were little.  Anna is daring and brave, exactly the traits that Pansy wishes she had if she didn't chicken out of everything.  Like when Anna cut her hair for Locks of Love and joined the Girl Scouts so that she could go on the annual camping trip.  Things that they were supposed to do together until Pansy got too scared.  Pansy and Anna then had a huge fight and Anna went off to camp without her where she contracted meningitis and sustained a serious brain injury.   Since then Anna hasn't been the same and Pansy has been trying to be the sort of friend, the extraordinary friend that Anna would want her to be so that after her surgery Anna will be proud of her.  But, being extraordinary all of the time is very difficult and Anna's surgery is quickly approaching.   

I've read many a book on individuals who have sustained a brain injury during my time as a speech therapist.  Usually, the books were written by the person or a family member. Miriam Spitzer Franklin takes on the interesting perspective of am 11-year-old girl who's friend has the injury, a friend that she has just had a huge fight with. The story actually follows Pansy as she navigates her way through the beginning of fifth grade and much of her experiences have that middle-grade feel.  There are the math times table speed drills, learning to roller blade, and logging reading minutes and taking quizzes to be the top of the class.  Promises that Pansy had previously made to Anna, that she vows to now keep.  I enjoyed the addition of Anna's twin brother, Andy.  The three of them were friends and there are glimpses of how Andy is handling Anna's injury, which truthfully I would've loved to seen more of.  Pansy's attempts to be extraordinary are her ways of making up all of the things that she didn't do for her friend before her illness.  I quickly got wrapped up with Pansy and how she wishes that her friend could be the person she was, and how she hopes that the surgery to fix her seizures will return her to the person she once was.  A very compelling story and characters that you can relate to very quickly.   Franklin certainly takes care with the story and despite Pansy's confidence that the surgery will fix her friend, she doesn't give the reader those expectations.  Overall, this was a wonderful heartfelt story of friendship, a girl who wants to be extraordinary for her friend and coming to terms with the changes that occur following an injury such as this.  


  1. This sounds like a wonderful book. I hadn't heard of it before, so thanks for sharing your review with us. I hope everything works out well in the end. :)

  2. This sounds an interesting premise. Thanks for sharing your review of it.