Monday, April 25, 2016

MG Fantasy Review: The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd

25152641The Key to Extraordinary  by Natalie Lloyd
Format:  Ebook
Publisher:  Scholastic Press
Number of Pages: 240
Published: February 23rd 2016
Source:  Library

Genre: Fantasy Mystery

First Lines:  "It is a known fact that the most extraordinary moments in a person's life come disguised as ordinary days."  

Emma, Granny Blue and her older brother Topper live in the Boneyard Cafe,  "perched on the edge of a famous cemetery" within the town of Blackwood Hollow.  Emma provides tours at the cemetery and knows all  the local stories and legends. While she is on one of her famous tours, her Uncle Peri and Aunt Gerta tell her about the tale of The Conductor, who hid his treasure somewhere within Blackwood Hollow, but will only reveal it to someone who has "good intentions and is pure of heart."   The Boneyard Cafe is a special place for Emma, it holds all her memories of her mother and is the only home she's ever known.  When Emma was ten, her mother gave her a  family heirloom,  The Book of Days.  A special book filled with the stories, admonitions, newspaper clippings, trinkets and the "Destiny Dreams" of the women in their family.   Emma's mother shared how each of the women had a dream of the "wondrous thing" they were going to accomplish in their life, with each dream beginning in a field of blue flowers.  Emma believes her destiny is to find The Conductor's treasure and  to save her beloved Boneyard Cafe from being sold.   But, when Emma finally has her dream it's a confusing mess, and the only clue to her destiny seems to rest in a key.  
 The Key to Extraordinary has a lovely atmosphere , with it's small town feel seeped in memories, traditions, history, legends, ghosts and all the emotions that go with it.  For Emma it is the feeling of the "Big Empty," a heavy aching feeling from the loss of  the space that her mother filled in her heart.  A feeling easy to relate to if you've ever lost a family member, friend or even a beloved pet.  Emma and her friend Cody Belle  are truly lovely girls and because of Emma having been teased about her cleft lip repair, she is able to see what new boy Earl needs is a friend.  I loved how they were so inviting and reached out to welcome him into their circle.  The Key to Extraordinary is also magical in the form of the Gypsy Roses blowing on the wind, talking vines and even in the Boneyard Brew sold at the cafe.  With all the references to peach lavender muffins, cookies and fresh baked scones,it really made me want to do some baking or at least make a cup of hot chocolate.   There were also so many beautiful quotes, with my favorite being  "Every life time, no matter how long it lasts, is a gift.  And to love and be loved, even by one person during your lifetime...that is a treasure no one can take from you."   Most of all though it's a story of love, loss and the connections that we make to the past, to our family and friends.  Absolutely loved, loved, loved it.    


  1. I love Natalie Lloyd and this new book sounds fantastic. So glad you loved it so much.

    1. I love the small town feel of these books and the writing The Key to Extraordinary was my favorite.

  2. I cannot wait to read this one and I loved the quote you shared at the end. I read A Snicker of Magic and was enchanted by Natalie Lloyd. I also heard her talk at a book fair and she is so sweet. Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. Thanks Jess, there were so many lovely quotes, I had a hard picking one. So jealous you got to meet Natalie, she seems so nice, and Biscuit is adorable.