Anything But Ordinary

Anything But Ordinary

4.4 17
by Lara Avery

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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

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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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Avery's raw and absorbing debut novel examines the painful aftermath of an aspiring athlete's five-year coma. During a dive at the Olympic trials, 17-year-old Bryce Graham hits her head and later wakes up in the hospital. To Bryce, the accident feels like it happened yesterday, yet everything has changed: her diving dream is shattered; her sister who was 12 when the accident occurred is now an out-of-control 17-year-old; and her best friend and boyfriend have moved on with their lives, traveling the world and graduating college without her. But Bryce's biggest challenge is an internal one: her brain works differently now, and she is having hallucinations that draw from her past as well as from events that have yet to happen. Avery offers only a vague explanation for Bryce's visions of the future, which may frustrate readers searching for either a supernatural cause or a diagnosis rooted in science. But Bryce's courage, tenacity, and determination result in a memorable story about seizing the day. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sarah Shandler and Michael Ross, Alloy Entertainment. (Sept.)
VOYA - Ema Whipple Mckie
Lara Avery throws color after detail after vivid memory into Bryce's recount. As the moments of a newly awakened mind erupt, life's abrasive truth makes teeth clench with the reality of time. Those who enjoyed Waves by Sharon Dogar (Chicken House, 2007/VOYA June 2007), and The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (Square Fish, 2009/VOYA August 2008), will be interested in the closer perspective that Avery presents. The characters are companionable yet fictitious enough not to scare us. Readers may expect Bryce to stand with the confused, yet as the book plays out she gains posture and an ability to comfort and confront. As this is Avery's first novel, this reviewer is intrigued to see the outcome of her upcoming works. 5Q, 4P. Reviewer: Ema Whipple Mckie, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Etienne Vallee
At seventeen, Bryce Graham; her boyfriend, Greg; and best friend, Gabby, are expert divers and hope to make the U.S. team. That is, until Bryce miscalculates her dive at tryouts and hits the side of the pool instead. When she awakens in late spring, she discovers that she has been in a coma for five years. Greg and Gabby are now engaged to be married at the end of the summer. Events that, for Bryce, seemed to have happened days ago are distant memories to her closest friends. Bryce must now adapt to a new reality in which she is twenty-two, her twelve-year-old sister is now seventeen, and her parents, having spent the last five years at her bedside, have grown apart. Her relationship with Greg and Gabby is awkward at best, but at least there is Carter, a medical student who took care of her while she was in a coma. Bryce has visions, where she can see events in her past or future. When she receives the news that her brain is slowly dying due to a lack of oxygen, Bryce realizes she has but a short time left to ensure that she sets things right. Avery has created an interesting premise in which the main character finds herself having lost five years. Her dreams are shattered, and so are the lives of people around her. Bryce's emotions are raw and she acts very much like the seventeen-year-old she was. Her friends have moved on, and Bryce finds herself involved in situations for which she has no previous knowledge. Avery does an excellent job of portraying the growth of Bryce and Carter's love, and manages to bring the threads of the story together for a satisfactory, if sad, conclusion. Fans of Sarah Dessen's What Happened to Goodbye (Viking, 2011/VOYA August 2011) will enjoy this book. Reviewer: Etienne Vallee
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—When Bryce miraculously awakens from a five-year coma caused by a diving accident, she is still 17 years old emotionally, and it's hard for her to process how much has happened in the lives of her family and friends. Her then boyfriend and best girlfriend, Gabby, are now engaged, her little sister has become a troubled teenager, and her parents put their lives on hold to watch over her while she was in the hospital. She also struggles with the realization of what her life is like now. Her dreams of being an Olympic diving champion are over, and she must look beyond her teenage goals to try to discover who the 22-year-old Bryce is and what she wants to be. While still in the hospital, she meets cute, dependable Carter, an intern who becomes more than just a good friend. However, she still has feelings for her old boyfriend, and he is torn between his love for Bryce and his commitment to Gabby. Then Bryce receives the devastating news that she is not expected to live more than a month longer. This story is an interesting look at how different people deal with tragedy and how it affects their lives both before and after Bryce awakens. The main characters are fully developed, and readers can easily empathize with them. The plot holds few surprises except for the ending. Girls looking for a happy/sad romantic story will love this one.—Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC
Kirkus Reviews
After 17-year-old Bryce strikes her head on a diving platform during a competition, she awakens from a coma five years later to a vastly changed world. Her parents' marriage is failing, her sweet younger sister Sydney has turned into a hard-drinking goth, her boyfriend Greg is engaged to her best friend, and a cute medical student from the hospital, Carter, has seemingly fallen in love with her. It's a lot to miss out on. Bryce recovers quickly, but now she's subject to brief, painful flashes of foresight: She's able to see tragic events before they occur, a paranormal twist that, arising infrequently, hardly seems to matter to the plot and feels like an afterthought. Melodrama abounds as shadowy stock extras--everyone but Bryce--encounter predictable steamy situations. Fortunately, third-person narration provides much-needed depth to Bryce's character in this uneven debut. Readers in the know will remark that competitive divers do not wear goggles, as Bryce appears to do. A silly medical twist offers a look ahead to a gloomy future for the protagonist, and a strange literary contrivance featuring cicadas comes up from time to time but adds nothing but a bit of oddness. Still, readers who enjoy a dampened-Kleenex conclusion will probably beg for more. (Fiction. 12-16)

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Product Details

Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Lara Avery graduated from Macalester College in 2010. She grew up in Topeka, Kansas, but is not yet sure where she lives. She highly recommends Indian chai, not owning more than you can carry, and listening to loud music. Anything But Ordinary is her first novel.

Alloy Entertainment is a creative think tank that develops and produces approximately thirty new books a year, which are published in more than twenty-five languages around the world. In 2009 and 2010, more than thirty of Alloy Entertainment's books reached the New York Times Best Sellers list. Its best-selling franchises include The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, The Lying Game, The Clique, The Luxe, Private, and The A-List.

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