Phoebe Rothschild (yes, of the Rothschild family) has happy when Mallory Tolliver started at her school; at last, she finally had a friend that she could be close to. Over the next few years, Phoebe and Mallory grow as close as sisters. Then Mallory's brother Ryland shows up and changes everything. Phoebe falls hard for Ryland, and the truth can no longer be concealed: they need Phoebe to pay a decades-old debt - a debt that can only be paid with her life.
Just as in Impossible, Nancy Werlin takes a real-life reality and mixes it with fantasy and the fantastical. Extraordinary made me want to go learn about the Rothschild family. The manipulation of Phoebe was just horribly sad to read, because it doesn't really need to happen only in a fantasy book. Ryland might be using a 'glamour' on her, but the way in which he insults her, questions her, and completely isolates her could easily occur in a non-supernatural teen novel. The abusive relationship is never glamourized in any way, although Ryland's motivations do become clear and he - like many others - are shown to have shades of gray rather than being purely good or evil. As the book builds towards the end, there are a number of profound questions that Phoebe must deal with: Are we responsible for the actions of our ancestors? Should you sacrifice yourself it would save an entire race? If you don't, if you do nothing, how responsible are you for that race dying out? Can someone who is ordinary ever be extraordinary? What does being extraordinary mean in the context of human life? With all of these questions circling, I admit that I didn't know what Phoebe would choose, and that I didn't know what I wanted her to do.
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
Impossible by Nancy Werlin
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The World's Banker: The History of the House of Rothschild by Niall Ferguson