Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd

I knew Natalie Lloyd was special after reading and sharing A Snicker of Magic with all my students last year. I just didn't realize how extraordinary she is. Now I do. And if I were you I would move "lickety-split fast (p.35) to your nearest bookstore on Tuesday, February 23, to pick up a copy of her newest book, The Key to Extraordinary so you, too, could be inspired and dazzled by Natalie's magical way with words.

12 year old Emma is waiting for her Destiny Dream to happen. When she does have it, she's hoping it will be clear what her destiny will be.  This may not be as easy as it sounds.  Women in her family for generations and generations have done extraordinary things so there is quite a lot of pressure on Emma to live up to her own destiny. Even when she has the special dream, things become a bit more complicated.  

To make matters worse, Warren Steele is threatening to come to town and tear down Emma's beloved family owned Boneyard Cafe.  Emma's got to find the treasure, knowing that if she does, she will be able to stop Mr. Steele.  Or will she?  What could possibly be in that treasure that could save her family and her town? Needless to say, Emma is determined.  She will "save [her] town's heartbeat--the Boneyard Cafe." (p.85)

There is so much in this novel to love.  The language for one.  The morning after Emma has her dream she is so nervous that she wonders, "Is it possible to be so nervous your brain coughs up words you didn't even know it'd stored?" (p.60) or "Everything wonderful is possible." (p.149) or "When life gets heavy, sometimes your heart needs to cut loose." (p.163) or....and I could go on and on.

I love all the characters and want to enjoy a long mug of Boneyard Brew with each and every one of them. Well, maybe not Warren Steele or Beretta Simpson.  But everyone else, of course! And believe me, you can taste and smell that delicious, undeniably unique Boneyard Brew through the pages. Are they making books now with "smell-i-vision" or "taste-i-vision"?  If so, this one has it! It's that special ingredient for sure.

And then there's the music!  There are obvious music references and other more subtle ones, like the crow named, "Penny Lane."  Some you didn't think fit in but they actually did, like Emma listening to "White Stripes."  I know I was happy when Patsy Cline was mentioned.

I'll tell you what, we don't have to think twice about what Natalie Lloyd's Destiny Dream was--It's writing these incredibly magical lovely middle grade novels, with fun loving characters who you want to become BFFs with, join their Club Pancake. Seriously, although this is not a sequel or even a companion novel to Snicker, but Felicity's way of seeing words has certainly rubbed off on Natalie through Emma Pearl Casey's voice.  

ps-I have to thank Victoria Coe, author of the next book on my TBR pile, Fenway and Hattie,  for sending me her ARC after reading a tweet of mine on how I tried to reserve a copy from the library  only realizing it was not out yet!  Victoria went that morning to the post office and mailed me her copy!  The #kidlit world is amazing all around!  I owe her a cup of Boneyard Brew for sure!


  1. I am thrilled, Ms. Rattner! As soon as I finished reading The Key to Extraordinary, I knew I wanted to pass it on to someone who would love it as much as I did. Thank you for being that person!