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Monday, April 25
The Key to Extraordinary
My rating: ★★★
Date of publication: February 23, 2016
Age: Grades 3 - 7
Genre: Mysteriously spooky fantastical historical realistic fiction (yeah)
Themes: death, family, legacy, small towns, treasure hunt/mystery, cemeteries, dreams
The women in Emma's family are special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians—every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream. For Emma, her own dream can't come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she'd do whatever it took to fulfill her destiny. But when her dream finally arrives, it points her toward an impossible task—finding a legendary treasure hidden in her town's cemetery. If Emma fails, she'll let down generations of extraordinary ancestors...including her own mother. But how can she find something that's been missing for centuries and might be protected by a mysterious singing ghost?
Yes, I did enjoy Lloyd's other book, A Snicker of Magic. So I don't have anything against Lloyd's extra sentimental, poetic style. There's a lot of feel goods when you read Lloyd. But this book had a lot of plot jumps. Convenient gaps. Discrepancies and magical loopholes. Also, there was just plain a lot in the story (see my classification for the genre). You've got death, bullying, trauma, and then ghosts, magic, prophesying dreams, and plus treasure hunting, historical anecdotes, underlying motivational sentiments...and it adds up.
Is it a cute, fun mystery that kids can enjoy? Yep. Kids won't care as much about the jumpy plot and will simply enjoy the adventures. Plus, like I said, lots of feel-goods. Is it a Newbery contender? No. But I can still recommend it.
Good readalike for the Tupelo Landing series, especially Ghosts of Tupelo Landing.
Find it at your library or on Amazon