The key to extraordinary

Natalie Lloyd

Book - 2016

Twelve-year old orphan Emma Casey lives by a haunted graveyard in her Tennessee town, giving tours, and helping her brother and Granny Blue with the family bakery, and waiting for the destiny dream of her ancestors--but when it comes it shows her only a key, and she finds that she must solve a ghostly mystery that has haunted her town for generations.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Scholastic Press 2016.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
227 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780545552745
0545552745
Main Author
Natalie Lloyd (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Ghosts and magic weave through this warmly sentimental tale of small-town life. News that Granny Blue is thinking of selling the declining Boneyard Café to a developer is hard on 12-year-old force of nature Emma Pearl. Spurred to action, she searches the nearby cemetery for a fabled treasure said to be guarded by a ghost known as "the Conductor." The plot plays second fiddle to a cast full of lovable, mildly eccentric locals, and to the setting itself: Blackbird Hollow is a Tennessee town where strange flowers bloom year round, ghosts exist, and Emma's ancestors have left her a strange legacy. Emma makes homey observations about friends and neighbors, longs to save the café, and yearns for the life-changing "Destiny Dream" that comes to all the women in her family, and the result is a narrative as rich and sweet as the café's own peach-lavender muffins. A climactic whirlwind leads to a triumphant close, but one character's observation that "Everything wonderful is possible" is the tale's true touchstone. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

In a folksy tale laced with supernatural mystery, Lloyd (A Snicker of Magic) poetically conveys the depth of 12-year-old Emma's emotions as she embarks on a quest to uncover a legendary secret. Except for the times when Emma is overcome by "the Big Empty," a feeling she gets when she misses her recently deceased mother, she is an ordinary girl. Still, there are things in her Blackbird Hollow home that are extraordinary, like flowers with magical powers, the haunted graveyard just beyond her house, the tantalizing "Boneyard Brew" served in her grandmother's cafe, and The Book of Days, which records the "destiny dreams" of her ancestors (interspersed through the story). When her grandmother, plagued by money worries, considers selling the family business, Emma is determined to save the cafe by finding treasure, reputedly buried in the graveyard. The book's evocative setting and cast of eccentric minor characters will draw readers into Emma's world—one warmed by friendship, love, and hope—to share in her discovery that the most valuable treasures lie within. Ages 8–12. Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Feb.) [Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 3–6—A young girl from a long line of special women fights to save her home. Emma, like all of the women in her family, is a Wildflower. Each woman is destined to live an extraordinary life, experiencing a Destiny Dream that reveals her unique path. Shortly after the death of her ex-rocker mom, Emma feels a deep emptiness, but she consoles herself by helping out in the Boneyard Cafe, the family business situated on the edge of a cemetery, and giving tours of the cemetery to tourists. The café has fallen on hard times, and when it looks like Granny Blue, her tough, tattooed, ex-boxer grandmother, might sell the place to a developer, Emma looks for answers within the local folklore about a hidden treasure and a ghost. When she finally has her own Destiny Dream, it seems to point to the treasure, but the clues are frustratingly vague. With the help of a small cast of quirky characters and magical flora, Emma finds her true destiny and eases her troubles through the journey. The prose is bubbly and light, with a cheerful, optimistic tone despite some of the seemingly darker elements. Though not as multilayered as Ingrid Law's Savvy (Dial, 2008), this novel will be appreciated by younger middle grade readers who enjoy mysteries with an ample dose of magic and whimsy. VERDICT Fans of Lloyd's first book, A Snicker of Magic (Scholastic, 2015), will be pleased with this frothy, pleasant tale.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal [Page 133]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Twelve-year old orphan Emma Casey lives by a haunted graveyard in her Tennessee town, giving tours, and helping her brother and Granny Blue with the family bakery, and waiting for the destiny dream of her ancestors--but when it comes it shows her only a key, and she finds that she must solve a ghostly mystery that has haunted her town for generations.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Orphan Emma Casey lives by a graveyard in her Tennessee town waiting for the destiny dream of her ancestors, but when it comes it shows her only a key and it is up to her to solve a mystery that has haunted her town for generations.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Missing her late mother while leading cemetery tours and trying to communicate with a famous ghost, Emma anticipates having a destiny-revealing dream that will enable her to talk with her mother's spirit only to confront a mystery about her family. By the author of A Snicker of Magic. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Dream Big. Be Extraordinary.Everyone in Emma's family is special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians--every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream. For Emma, her own dream can't come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she'd do whatever it took to fulfill her destiny, and she doesn't want to let her mother down. But when Emma's dream finally arrives, it points her toward an impossible task--finding a legendary treasure hidden in her town's cemetery. If Emma fails, she'll let down generations of extraordinary ancestors . . . including her own mother. But how can she find something that's been missing for centuries and might be protected by a mysterious singing ghost? With her signature blend of lyrical writing, quirky humor, and unforgettable characters, Natalie Lloyd's The Key to Extraordinary cements her status as one of the most original voices writing for children today.