Monday, January 31, 2011

Katie gets obsessed: with author Robin Benway

In-which guest blogger Katie tells us of her new-found love for author Robin Benway!

Every once in a while, I come across an author who inspires me to want to Google all their interviews, go all Facebook stalkery on them, and completely ruins my meticulously planned reading list. You can thank Robin Benway for messing with my plans.

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June caught my attention initially because it is a book about superpowers (which I want) but it kept my attention because it is a book about sisters (which I’ve never had). April, May, and June may be able to see the future, turn invisible, and read minds, respectively, but they aren’t about to don capes and save the world. They are too busy trying to adapt to a new high school and come to terms with their new super skills without tearing their already broken family apart even more. When April starts seeing glimpses of the future, she sets in motion a plan that could endanger the strongest gift they have--their sisterly bond.

I was immediately taken in by Benway’s realistic depiction of sibling differences, smart characterizations, and fast paced plot. And as soon as I finished it, I was was on my computer tracking down a copy of her debut Audrey Wait! hoping for more of the same.

Audrey Wait! confirmed that Benway has a knack for taking the improbable and bringing it vividly to life without sacrificing her characters, their relationships, or her interest in just having fun. If you’re wondering what could be as improbable as three sisters developing super powers, consider the odds of (very sensibly) breaking up with your boyfriend only to have him write a song about the break up which becomes the most popular song of the year thereby catapulting you into the crazy world of celebrity. It’s an exciting and hilarious ride as we follow Audrey from backstage parties to paparazzi chases to appearances on MTV.

And now--thanks to Robin Benway--I want sisters of my own and a best friend just like Audrey’s... although I’m having second thoughts about the super powers thing.

Bonus Material: Listen to the “The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June” Soundtrack

Full disclosure: Before I got swept away on the Robin Benway Bandwagon, I picked up The Extraordinary Secrets... with the intent of writing a post focused on books about siblings. And even though that plan was completely derailed, I don’t want to deprive you of “What Could Have Been”. So here are a few titles to check out whether you have sisters you can’t live without/would happily trade for a box of Girl Scout Cookies, brothers who make you laugh so hard you cry/pick on you unmercifully, or maybe just a really clever monkey hanging around the house, these might be for you:

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters, by Natalie Standiford
Upon learning on Christmas Day that their rich and imperious grandmother may soon die and disown the family unless the one who offended her deeply will confess, each of the three Sullivan sisters sets down her offenses on paper.

The Things a Brother Knows, by Dana Reinhardt
Although they have never gotten along well, seventeen-year-old Levi follows his older brother Boaz, an ex-Marine, on a walking trip from Boston to Washington, D.C. in hopes of learning why Boaz is completely withdrawn.

Half Brother, by Kenneth Oppel
For thirteen years, Ben Tomlin was an only child. But all that changes when his mother brings home his new 'baby brother' Zan, an eight-day-old chimpanzee. Ben's father, a renowned behavioral scientist, has uprooted the family to pursue his latest research project: a high-profile experiment to determine whether chimpanzees can acquire advanced language skills. Ben's parents tell him to treat Zan like a little brother. Ben reluctantly agrees.

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