Saturday, December 1, 2012

Review of Anything But Ordinary by Lara Avery

Title/Author: Anything But Ordinary by Lara Avery
Publisher/Date published: Hyperion Books, September 11th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Bryce remembers it like it was yesterday. The scent of chlorine. The blinding crack and flash of pain. Blood in the water.
When she wakes up in the hospital, all Bryce can think of is her disastrous Olympic diving trial. But everything is different now. Bryce still feels seventeen, so how can her little sister be seventeen, too? Life went on without her while Bryce lay in a coma for five years. Her best friend and boyfriend have just graduated from college. Her parents barely speak. And everything she once dreamed of doing--winning a gold medal, traveling the world, falling in love--seems beyond her reach.
But Bryce has changed too, in seemingly impossible ways. She knows things she shouldn't. Things that happened while she was asleep. Things that haven't even happened yet. During one luminous summer, as she comes to understand that her dreams have changed forever, Bryce learns to see life for what it truly is: extraordinary."

I wanted so much to love this book... And I did really like parts of it, but it just fell short of what I had expected.

Because I thought the summary was so interesting I gave this one a chance, as I usually shy away from book that deal with sickness and such because I encounter it so much in my job and books are my escape. But because of the whole waking up from coma thing and the magical realism hints that I got from the summary made me pick it up anyway.

I really liked Bryce at first, I thought she handled the whole coma thing pretty well, maybe even a little too well. I know that at 17, I wouldn't have accepted everything quite to easily. And yes, I say 17, because in her mind she's still 17. The 5 years she spent in a coma don't really count IMO. This may also be one of the main problems I had with her later on. She seems wise beyond her 17 for most of the book and towards the end she turns about 13 in her behaviour. I don't want to spoil anything, but one of the things she keeps from her family and friends at the end was something I wanted to hit her for. It was so incredibly selfish!

I mean, keeping from her family that she was going to die in a month after knowing how they fell apart when she was in a coma was SO maddening! I know it might be hard for Bryce to discuss this and it would still be hard for her parents and sister, but at least they would have time to say goodbye and work towards it instead of them being blindsided by it again. GAH! I was SO angry!

So yeah, there was that. I did really like the medical intern Bryce gets to know, he seemed like such a nice guy, even though I think it might be frowned upon that he starts dating a girl whose medical files he's involved with.
I thought Bryce's boyfriend from before her accident seemed like a pretty nice guy at first as well, until he ends up doing douchey things that I won't go into because SPOILERS. But let's just say that nobody questions the alone time he spends with Bryce, which seemed pretty odd to me. SOMEBODY had to notice, right???

I did kinda like the whole magical realism thrown into the effects of having spent five years in a coma and that Bryce sometimes got flashes of things that had happened while she was unconscious or that were about to happen. That was kinda neat, even if it did knock her out a couple of times. I mean, all my doctor instincts say something in your brain has to go haywire if you've been in a coma for FIVE YEARS. That's a pretty long time and there's bound to be some sort of side effects from it.

The chapters leading up to the ending and the actual ending made me want to throw the book across the room. I was SO angry, as I explained in the spoiler. And it left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm absolutely not saying the book was bad, but for me the end just didn't work and made me mad and go GAH! I had some issues with the book before I got to that part, but in all honesty, if it hadn't been for those last chapters I would have given it a higher rating, but I was just so frustrated by them that I can't.

My rating: 2 stars


  1. Well, from what you describe I think I would be very frustrated with Bryce too, I hate when characters don't really behave their age and I do shy away from medical stuff in books. :P I just prefer to read fluffy stuff.

  2. It premise is very interesting. Sorry to see the excution was off.

  3. I personally thought the book was amazing (I read it) But the ending Was very unexpected, yet quite beautiful. I wasnt quite sure how to feel about it. I sat on my couch (having just finished the book) just thinking, sitting there, unsure how to feel. I ended up re-reading the ending a couple of times.