Remarkable by Lizzie K. Foley
Jane Doe is a very ordinary person, which wouldn’t be that odd, except she lives in the town of Remarkable, which is filled with the most gifted and talented people anywhere. Her family is full of gifted people, like her grandmother the mayor, her mother the architect, her brother the painter, her father the best-selling author, and her sister the mathematical genius. Jane on the other hand is just like her grandfather, easily overlooked and ordinary. They are so ordinary that they can’t get noticed long enough to get ice cream at the local soda shop. Jane is the only student left in the regular school, since all of the other children are in the gifted school. But then things start to change in Remarkable. A pirate captain comes to town, followed by three of his crew who are searching for him. Jane gets two classmates who have been kicked out of the gifted school because of their mischief. In fact, Jane’s life might not be quite as dull and ordinary as she first thought.
Foley takes the idea of a very ordinary character and runs with it. Jane is completely normal and it is her surroundings that are wild, extraordinary and unusual. At the same time though, Foley does much to celebrate the ordinary and to point out that the quiet, the plain and the unassuming have gifts too though it may take some time to find them or notice them.
Foley’s writing is great fun in this book that mixes a huge sense of humor with some wild adventures. The book starts slowly, nicely building towards the incredible ending that is filled with pirates, storms, music, cheap jelly, and even a sea monster. The story has wonderful little touches, side characters who are nice diversions, and plenty to love.
This would make a great pick for a class read aloud in elementary school and it would also make a remarkable read this summer. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Reviewed from ARC received from Dial Books for Young Readers.