THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY by Natalie Lloyd

THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY

Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A girl awaiting her destiny must uncover lost treasure to save her home.

Orphan Emma lives above the Boneyard Cafe, her family’s business, right next to the cemetery. She comes from a long line of Wildflowers: the women in her family each experience a Destiny Dream, a specific dream that steers them to extraordinary lives. When it looks as though Emma’s grandmother (Granny Blue, a tattooed retired boxer) will be forced to sell their home, Emma looks for answers in a graveyard legend. The Conductor, a Civil War–era ghost, is said to have left treasure in Blackbird Hollow. With the help of Cody Belle, her trusty best friend, and Earl Chance, a boy newly returned to town and traumatized into muteness after a close encounter with a tornado, and guidance from her own less-than-clear Destiny Dream, Emma uses town lore to hunt for the treasure. Despite ghosts and graves, the story avoids the macabre and instead focuses on the relationships among memory, sadness, and joy, especially as Emma’s still recovering from her mother’s death. The mystery’s as much fun as a treasure hunt should be, and the clues are augmented by magical flowers. Blackbird Hollow is as largely white as might be expected of an Appalachian holler, but the story avoids twee with such details as Granny Blue’s Harley and Emma’s fondness for rock-’n’-roll.

A bouquet of quirks, whimsy, sweetness, and magic. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-545-55274-5
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2016




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