Review: Extraordinary by Miriam Spitzer Franklin

Extraordinary by Miriam Spitzer Franklin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: May 5th 2015
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Point of View: 1st Person & Female
Recommended Age: 9+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Friendship


Last spring, Pansy chickened out on going to spring break camp, even though she’d promised her best friend, Anna, she’d go. It was just like when they went to get their hair cut for Locks of Love; only one of them walked out with a new hairstyle, and it wasn’t Pansy. But Pansy never got the chance to make it up to Anna. While at camp, Anna contracted meningitis and a dangerously high fever, and she hasn’t been the same since. Now all Pansy wants is her best friend back—not the silent girl in the wheelchair who has to go to a special school and who can’t do all the things Pansy used to chicken out of doing. So when Pansy discovers that Anna is getting a surgery that might cure her, Pansy realizes this is her chance—she’ll become the friend she always should have been. She’ll become the best friend Anna’s ever had—even if it means taking risks, trying new things (like those scary roller skates), and running herself ragged in the process.

Pansy’s chasing extraordinary, hoping she reaches it in time for her friend’s triumphant return. But what lies at the end of Pansy’s journey might not be exactly what she had expected—or wanted.

Extraordinary is a heartfelt, occasionally funny, coming-of-age middle grade novel by debut author Miriam Spitzer Franklin. It’s sure to appeal to fans of Cynthia Lord’s Rules and will inspire young friends to cherish the times they spend together. Every day should be lived like it’s extraordinary.


Entertaining, light-heartened, sparkling, atmospheric… I had a blast following Pansy’s quest to becoming ‘‘extraordinary’’.

I will deny it not: my last middle grade reads had been awful ‘‘ditch away’’ ones. I mean, they all start pretty well (don’t they?), but rare are books aimed for a young audience that keep my interest from dwindling.

Extraordinary was the perfect read to lift me up of my sudden book slump. I didn’t even know it was there before I realized how I kept starting book after book without finishing any one of them. But this story was so charming and filled with beautiful themes that – even with the subject of sickness incorporated – it was a real pleasure to spend my afternoons turning its pages.

Pansy’s goal consisting in her changing into a better person to make her ill best friend, Anna, proud was lovely to see. There were moments that made me sad… especially when Pansy had remembrances of happy moments between her and Anna, but they were there, mostly, so we could see what a great bond they shared!

What would have made this book better is a share of chapters between Pansy and Andy. After all, he was Anna’s brother and a character almost as important as Pansy, in my opinion. That would definitely have made things clearer too since it was obvious that Andy had a lot of things to deal with, reflect on inside… It could have been interesting to have some of HIS memories with his sister as well.

I would have liked less repetition concerning the settings, too. Pansy’s teacher, for sure, sounded original and actually kind of amazing (she was young-ish, energetic and had all of these fun ideas of activities), but even her classroom eventually got mundane.

Recommended story for all fans of realistic/contemporary middle grade books with highly developed friendships out there!


7 thoughts on “Review: Extraordinary by Miriam Spitzer Franklin

  1. I have to admit that when I first saw the cover, I thought this would be another typical contemporary romance! But oh my gosh, the blurb sounds so sweet and cute and different (girl friendships ftw!), and I’m so happy that you enjoyed this, Lola!

    Ahh, I love it when flashbacks are done well enough that they make the reader feel something even though the event happened in the past. Seems like the author did a fantastic job developing the relationship between Pansy and Anna, too! It isn’t often I come across books that focus solely on girl friendships — most of the time it’s in the background — so I’m really glad that this aspect was done well here. Also, I feel like I’ll be able to relate to Pansy really well?? Based on the synopsis, haha.

    It’s great that what negatives there were for this book were minor, at least. 🙂 Lovely review! I’m not big on MG lit, but this really does sound enjoyable and I might give it a try!


  2. Middle grade stories can be a challenge to read because they’re written for a younger crew (easier to connect with HS students, for me anyway!) but there really are so many entertaining ones! This sounds cute.


  3. I haven’t heard about this book prior to reading this review, but even before I read your thoughts I knew I wanted to pick it up. The synopsis is so freaking adorable and sad, and I just know this will be a story I’d love. I haven’t been reading much MG, although I enjoy the genre, so I’m definitely adding this to my TBR. I’m glad you enjoyed this one Lola, and get your butt out of that reading slump!


  4. Great review 🙂 I totally thought this was going to be a romance novel, so it’s a pleasant surprise to find out its a MG friendship one! It sounds quite sweet too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s