Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin is a story about friendship – an unlikely friendship – between Phoebe, an ‘ordinary’ girl and Mallory, a fairy pretending to be human. What separates it from many fairy stories is that most of the story takes place in the human world. The glimpses we get into the fairy realm are limited to conversations with the Fairy Queen and a short scene near the end of the book. So the emphasis here is on relationships, betrayal and divided loyalties.
Phoebe is the target of the Fairy Queen from a long ago bargain her ancestor made. She’s from a long line of extraordinary Rothschilds – who excel at being exceptional. All the fairies need is for Phoebe to acknowledge that she’s ordinary and then they can collect the debt and stop their magical power from draining away. It would seem an easy assignment since Phoebe’s self-esteem is fragile at best when she falls for Mallory’s brother, a fairy with few redeeming qualities outside his glamour.
This story tackles issues such as mental illness, controlling romance, and issues with self-worth yet it doesn’t become preachy. These are elements that color Phoebe and Mallory’s world. This fairy tale is a quick read, well written and delves into some dark places.