Title: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June
Author: Robin Benway
ISBN: 9781595142863
Pages: 282 pages
Publisher/Date: RazorBill, c2010.
Reviewed from ARC furnished by Traveling Arc Tours
Publication date Aug. 3, 2010

This is new to me, reviewing books from an ARC (advance reader’s copy for those who don’t know), so I’ll be experimenting with how I go about doing this as I get more of them. Since I realize ARCs are not the finalized book and can go through the editing process still, I figured I’d quote from GoodReads.com rather than the ARC itself. The cover image was also taken from GoodReads.com

Three sisters, three extraordinary, life-changing powers!

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.

This was my first exposure to Robin Benway, causing me to head to my nearest library and check out Audrey, Wait! immediately after finishing it. A lot of people have been comparing it to Audrey, Wait! but I feel the two are unique. April, May, and June all have different traits and personalities that set themselves apart from one another. I thought that Benway made a conscious decision when pairing “powers” with the sisters.

June, the youngest, strives to keep up with her older sisters, who seem to exclude her, although I feel most of the time it’s not intentional. She receives the power of mind-reading, which she quickly exploits to her sisters’ trepidation and annoyance. She’s also the only sister who seems to care about her own popularity, and manipulates others with mixed results. May is monkey in the middle, and seems to have developed her sarcastic attitude in an effort to be noticed. She’s also more rebellious than her sister’s, skipping school, partying and sneaking out. It makes a lot of sense that she’s the one to receive the power of invisibility, reflecting her efforts to be seen and assisting in her rebellion. April, the oldest, feels obligated to help her mother take care of her sisters, especially after her father moves out. Whether it’s carefully driving herself and her sisters to school, warning them of the dangers of parties and riding without a seatbelt, or just talking to them about guys, she’s quietly and secretly looking out for her sisters. It makes sense she’s gotten the power of premonition (or foresight, as she calls it at one point in time.) She is also a big bookworm, which makes me happy.

The climax was fast paced, with short cliff-hanging chapters that forced me to read until it was resolved, and then to continue to read until the book was over. I actually liked the slow build up, and I’m not normally one for that kind of stuff. But the sisters, their family dynamic, and their relationships with boys and classmates were doled out in alternating chapters that really gave you a feel of who the girls were. There’s a lot of humor in these books too, especially when April starts seeing things in the future regarding her love life, when she didn’t have one to speak of at the time.

June alludes to the fact that these powers might not be as new as everyone originally thought, but that encourages more questions. What happened that made the powers go away for such an extended period of time? Where did the powers originally come from? And why did they choose that moment to resurface? It would be nice to know these answers, but I think that’s part of the appeal of this book and story is that readers only know as much as the girls know, and that isn’t a lot. Other people have inquired whether there is going to be a sequel, and I would be interested in reading it. A big question in my mind is whether anyone figures out about these powers, as the girls don’t seem to be the best liars.

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