The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha Young
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Summary from NetGalley:
I am Comet Caldwell.
And I sort of, kind of, absolutely hate my name.
People expect extraordinary things from a girl named Comet. That she’ll be effortlessly cool and light up a room the way a comet blazes across the sky.
But from the shyness that makes her book-character friends more appealing than real people to the parents whose indifference hurts more than an open wound, Comet has never wanted to be the center of attention. She can’t wait to graduate from her high school in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the only place she ever feels truly herself is on her anonymous poetry blog. But surely that will change once she leaves to attend university somewhere far, far away.
When new student Tobias King blazes in from America and shakes up the school, Comet thinks she’s got the bad boy figured out. Until they’re thrown together for a class assignment and begin to form an unlikely connection. Everything shifts in Comet’s ordinary world. Tobias has a dark past and runs with a tough crowd—and none of them are happy about his interest in Comet. Targeted by bullies and thrown into the spotlight, Comet and Tobias can go their separate ways…or take a risk on something extraordinary.
ARC provided by Harlequin Teen via NetGalley for an honest review.
“That was the thing about living in the now and accepting that most people weren’t heroic storybook characters. They could be extraordinary, but most days they were flawed and ordinary. And ordinary people had wounds that sometimes never healed”
This book is just stunning. I was instantly drawn into Comet’s life and connected with her on a very personal level. This book deals with so many issues that teenagers deal with today, drugs, harassment, family drama, insecurity, bullying and academic pressure to name just a few. Through it all, Comet remains true to herself even when she questions her choices.
The story is told through Comet, through her thoughts and most importantly her poetry. Each chapter starts with a poem that reflects the chapter quite well. Her poems are simple yet powerful. Comet is a complex teen with complex issues which all teens can relate to. Her relationship with her parents was different than any I have read in a YA book. At times I had a hard time understanding them and wanted to know a little bit more about them, especially the mom, but they were not the focus of the story, but helped explain some of Comet’s insecurities. I love the relationship that develops slowly through out the book between Comet and Tobias. She sees past his bad boy attitude and works hard to understand why he acts the way he does. I also liked that even though she does have a crush on him, he is cute, what girl wouldn’t, she doesn’t let that drive her relationship with him at the start.
I did have a bit of an issue with Comet’s friends. Neither of them seemed to like her very much, but just felt obligated to spend time with her because they grew up together. Vicki at least tried at times to be a good friend, although there were times when Comet pushed her away too. I thought the dynamics of the friendship were very realistic, they didn’t always get along, but were there for each other for the most part. Her relationship with Tobias cousin was very sweet, which made what happened between them all that much harder to read.
I pretty much will read any book set in Scotland, it is one of my favorite places. I especially loved the scenes that took place in Edinburgh. It is a magical place and one that I hope to visit again someday. I liked the descriptions of the little town on the coast that Comet lives in and her neighbor Mrs. Cruickshank was a great addition to the story. She reminded me of many of the people I met on my travels there.
A wonderful story with a sweet romance, but one that also tackles some hard issues facing teenagers today. All of these issues are dealt with in a sensitive and realistic way. Overall a story about finding yourself and the ordinary beauty that surrounds us everyday.