The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway
Razorbill, 288 pages
I hugged my sisters and they fit against my sides like two jigsaw pieces that would never fit anywhere else. I couldn’t imagine ever letting them go again, like releasing them would be to surrender the best parts of myself.
Three sisters share a magical, unshakeable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents’ divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhoodpowers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?
April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll always have each other.
Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.
I don’t have a biological sister, so I don’t know how it feels to have one (I do have a very awesome sister-in-law, but that’s for another post), so I often live vicariously with books with sisters. When I first heard of The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway, I wanted to read it not only because I really enjoyed her other novel, Audrey, Wait!, but because of the magic realism and the sisterhood angle. I figure it’s a fun novel with all those elements, right?
Sisters April, May and June share more than a last name — on their first day of school in a new town, the three sisters discover that they have some kind of powers: April can predict the future, May can disappear and June can read everyone’s minds. They all freak out on their own terms when they discovered this, but they have to pull themselves together when April gets a vision of a disaster that she doesn’t know how to stop. But with their constant bickering and wishes and selfishness, will they be able to do that?
I was looking for fun, and yes, I wasn’t disappointed! I really liked The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June with all its cute quirks. The three-person narration was interesting, and I was glad to see that the voices of the characters were totally different and easily distinguishable. I saw a bit of myself in each of the sisters, but mostly in April because even if I am the youngest in the family, I tend to have that “mother hen” instinct for people I care for. I kind of liked June the least because she’s the kind of person who would care more for discount jewelry than the real things that matter, but she did kind of win me over in the end. I liked their sister dynamics, and I bet that if I had a sister close to my age, we would probably bicker like that.
However, there seemed to be too much bickering in some of the parts that it made me a bit exhausted. I kind of missed the wit and lines that was in Audrey, Wait!, and instead, there was more dialogue of bickering rather than descriptions of scenes. I guess it’s part of having three narrators, but reading the fighting and arguments and doors slamming for several pages was just kind of tiring to read.
But I really did like how the sisterhood “magic” factored in the story. I liked the brief idea of a history behind their powers (and I wished it was explored more!), and I liked how despite there were some romance in the story, it didn’t take the spotlight (that much, anyway) over April, May and June’s relationship as sisters. The ending was just right, and it made me shed a few tears when things finally went down.
I liked this book. Maybe not as much as Robin Benway’s debut, but I like this enough to watch out for her other books and put her in my contemporary YA to-read list. If you’re looking for a feel-good, quick-read book with a lot of heart, or if you have sisters, then I hope you will enjoy The Extraordinary Secrets of April May and June as much as I did. :)