The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin BenwayThe Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway
Publisher: Razorbill
Number of pages: 288
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked

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 childhood—powers 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. :)

Rating: [rating=3]

Required Reading - June

Other reviews:
Persnickety Snark
Fluttering Butterflies

Required Reading: June

So where exactly did May go?

I know I asked the same thing last month, but I’m serious. I thought May was a long month, but lo and behold, suddenly it’s gone. And we’re in June, the sixth month of the year and before we know it, the year is half gone! WAIT! I am not ready!

Okay, the real reason I’m kind of freaking out is because I didn’t get to read any of the books I listed last May. I know, right — and it had to be the month I listed two books. I didn’t even reach halfway for one. In fact, I didn’t even put any of the books in my currently reading list — both of them stayed in my office lockers. *headdesk* How lame was that?

On the upside, I did read good books last month, just not the books I was intending to read. I was thinking of putting them in this month’s list again, but who am I kidding? Given the rate I read things now, I doubt I’d be able to squeeze those books in again. (And they seem to be really awesome books, too! *pout*)

I’m going to be realistic this time.

Required Reading - June

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All I Want for Christmas 2011 Is… (Book Edition)


November is halfway done, which means that December is just around the corner, which also means that Christmas is just around the corner! And in the spirit of gift-giving and all that (and to help my friends in picking out presents for me, y’know, in case they want to :P) here’s my wish list for 2011! :)

BOOK-RELATED STUFF (also known as possibly expensive book-related gifts):

  • Still waiting for that book seal. My brother was supposed to give me one, but I have to confirm. :P
  • Kindle Touch. I mean, come on, you know you want one too (also, I can dream. haha).


  1. Pysch Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson
  2. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
  3. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen  Thanks, Monique!
  4. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen Thanks Angus!
  5. Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
  6. Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
  7. What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
  8. Heist Society by Ally Carter
  9. Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park (I don’t mind the ebook version!)
  10. Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver (UK edition, please?)
  11. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
  12. The Boy Book (Ruby Oliver # 2) by E. Lockhart (and the rest of the Ruby Oliver books) Thanks, Tricia! :)
  13. Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick
  14. The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway
  15. Nightspell by Leah Cypess
  16. Amplified by Tara Kelly
  17. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  18. Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

I don’t really have much of a preference between books and ebooks but for books with illustrations (particularly #2, 9 and 10), I would want them in print. Because that’s really one of the things you’d pay for in print. :)

I’m also all for recommendations — if you think I’ll like the book, then I would gladly accept. it. :D

But if you’d rather be different, and decide to give me something non-book related…well:

  • Anything with sunflowers and/or stars
  • Gift certificates — not just bookstores, but other places too: Starbucks, Dashing Diva, CBTL, etc.
  • Pretty pens and notebooks :)

I’m pretty easy to please, so even a Christmas card would do, actually. Snail mail makes me happy too. :D

I’m also posting this because I joined this year’s Book Blogger Holiday Swap again. :) It’s so fun sending and receiving packages during the holiday season that even if I am a little tight on the budget this year, I didn’t mind signing up. Unfortunately, sign ups for this swap is already closed, but there are other book swaps, too, like the Book Geeks Book Exchange. :) Come join the book exchanging holiday fun!

Want Books: Five Flavors of Dumb

Want Books? is a weekly meme hosted at Chachic’s Book Nook and features released books that you want but you can’t have for some reason. It can be because it’s not available in your country, in your library or you don’t have the money for it right now.

I normally don’t judge books by their covers, but this one just stands out:

Pretty, right? I saw this book featured in That Cover Girl and I thought the cover looked nice, but I did not pay attention to the blurb until later, when people started adding it to their Goodreads wish lists. When I read it, I knew I wanted it:

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

THE CHALLENGE: Piper has one month to get a paying gig for Dumb—the hottest new rock band in school.

THE DEAL: If she does it, she’ll become manager of the band and get her share of the profits, which she desperately needs since her parents raided her college fund.

THE CATCH: Managing one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl who is ready to beat her up. And doing it all when she’s deaf. With growing self-confidence, an unexpected romance, and a new understanding of her family’s decision to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, Piper just may discover her own inner rock star.

This reminds me so much of Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway, which I absolutely adored. :) I just read the excerpt is available at the author’s website and it seems to be a very fun read! This was released last week, and I’m contemplating on getting the Kindle version first because of the lack of shelf space in the apartment…but the cover! The cover is so pretty! This would look very pretty on my (future) shelf! :)

Audrey, Start the Revolution

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Publisher: Razorbill
Number of pages: 313
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked

California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!,” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!

Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can’t hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.

Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.

* * *

I needed a break from all the dystopia an somewhat depressing books I’ve been reading lately, and Audrey, Wait! was the perfect one. I found this book while I was browsing in the Fully Booked and bought it impulsively — and now it’s one of the best impulse buys I’ve ever made.

Audrey is your normal teenage girl who likes music, goes to concerts, works for an ice cream store, hangs out with her best friend and has a musician boyfriend with an MF taylor guitar in tow. However, the musician boyfriend bit is slowly getting old and Audrey knew that she had to break up with him. After much support and list-making with her best friend Victoria, she finally breaks up with Evan in the most gentle way she knows how, and plans on moving on quietly. Nothing spectacular about that, right?

Except for two things: Evan finally found the inspiration to write a song about Audrey after she broke up with him, and they played it on their gig the next night where this bigwig producer was watching. And the song was good. Very good.

Wait, that was three things. Or four.

Audrey’s normal life gets turned upside down as The Song becomes a hit. Pretty soon Audrey gets mobbed by fans, chased by papparazzi, kissed by wannabe rockstars hoping for inspiration, and basically loses every bit of privacy she knows. All the while Audrey can’t wait for everything to die down — the question is, will it ever?

Audrey, Wait! is such a fun book. I love contemporary YA, but I do get sick of having to deal with characters who have dysfunctional relationships with their families, or have body image issues, or friendship issues or any other kind of issues. Sure, no one is perfectly adjusted even in books, but it’s nice to read about someone who has a good life who just happened to make the right decision at the wrong time. That’s Audrey. She’s probably the most normal character I have read in contemporary YA ever. She has good friends, good grades and even a friendly relationship with her parents. It’s comforting to read something like this because it shows that you don’t need to be a messed up protagonist to have a story — sometimes normal in extraordinary situations would work just as fine. Audrey’s voice was clear and distinct, and she often breaks the fourth wall in the story since she’s basically re-telling it to us (Example, on page 241: “He, Victoria and my parents were the only one who had my cell number, because someone — and if you’re reading this, I will find you, oh yes, I will — hacked into my phone and got the number…”). She’s snarky most of the time, but she’s also lovable and I can’t help but sympathize with her as the story went on.

Audrey is the type of person I want to be, but if I can’t be her, I want to have a best friend like Victoria. She’s one of the smart and memorable best friend characters I have ever read. More often than not, best friend characters are always watered down in order for the main character to shine. In Audrey, Wait!, Victoria has her own character without stealing the spotlight from Audrey. Her personality shone just as bright as Audrey did, and even if she seemed a bit selfish at times through out the story, I understood her well when she and Audrey finally fought (oh that is not a spoiler — you know best friends often fight in contemporary YA novels). Favorite Victoria moment: when she brought coffee and a hammer to Audrey after being caught on video with the lead singer of the Lolitas. Coffee for the bad morning and hammer to smash the CDs to smithereens. If that is not a real best friend, then I don’t know what is. :)

The love interests are also very fleshed out. Evan disappears to be on tour soon after they play the hit song, but his presence was never gone in the story. He is the so-called antagonist that redeemed himself in the end without glossing over his flaws and offenses. James, on the other hand, is a sweet and sensitive guy that took Audrey (and me) by surprise. He’s one of those male YA characters that you can’t help but like, and maybe even have a crush on? :P He isn’t my type of guy, but I thought he was a cute and well-characterized male character.

Audrey, Wait! is peppered with so much fun dialogue that I can’t help but giggle at a lot of parts (best example in my Teaser Tuesday post yesterday). Unlike other contemporary YA novels, this one takes stuff from real life and adds fictional elements to it so it’s easier to relate to. It’s a novel with music at its center so don’t be surprised when you see artists such as Taking Back Sunday, Fall Out Boy, Belle & Sebastian, REM and the like on chapter titles and within the story. References to Lindsay Lohan and other Hollywood celebrities are there, too, as well as other pop culture, like Harry Potter (“Get over here and talk to her. She’s a reporter, not a Dementor.” – p. 57). The author knows how to make scenes sentimental/poignant and funny at the same time — another example:

“I just want you to know that, okay? I don’t want you to be scared that I can’t handle his. I mean, you know, whatever this is.” He waved his hand to indicate the general insanity that had taken over my life.

His heart was beating even louder now, and I closed my eyes and tried to calm my pulse down to match his. “I’m not scared of that,” I murmured, and I wasn’t. “That doesn’t scare me.”

“What does scare you?”

I thought for a minute, tapping my index finger against my bottom lip. “Sock puppets.”

“Excuse me?”

“They’re horrifying.”

See what I mean?

I think the only “flaw” this novel may have is the sheer unbelievabilty of the story. Okay, not so much I guess, because what happened to Audrey is possible. I’m just not sure if it can happen in real life in the scale that happened to Audrey. But I guess us normal girls can pick up a few lessons from this story: if you value your privacy,* don’t date someone who will write a song about you when you break up and make it big after. Or at least, don’t break up with them before a big gig. Or something to that effect. Personally, I think Audrey, Wait! shows us that normal non-rockstar guys are still the best. ;)

This is a novel with a happy ending, but not without any difficulties getting there, so expect a ride through fame, fights and a realistic resolution — as realistic as Audrey’s situation can be, that is. This is a fun and crazy read, and while it’s not something I will profess my love for, it’s a book that will definitely be on my favorites. :)

Rating: [rating=4]

Post Title credit: Anberlin’s Audrey, Start the Revolution