Jane lives in the town of Remarkable, where everyone is, well, remarkable–everyone except for her that, is. Then one day a pirate comes to town and brings with him a mystery. Is this Jane’s chance to prove herself to everyone?
Remarkable presents a pleasant middle-grade read, one that will be familiar to those who love this age range. The typical elements are all here, from the protagonist who believes herself sadly ordinary to the quirky inhabitants of a quirky town, to the neat intersecting of various characters’ story lines. While the book may provide nothing novel, it does hit just the right spot for someone looking for a solid middle-grade read.
The one surprising element of the story proves to be the protagonist, Jane Doe. (Spoilers until the end of the paragraph!) While many middle-grade works celebrate the hidden talents of its characters, beginning with an “ordinary” individual who ends up actually having a secret skill or power, after all, Remarkable truly dedicates itself to its premise of the ordinary being worth celebrating. Jane never does reveal a latent talent for yodelling or knot tying or baking or anything. She’s a ten-year-old girl who does ten-year-old girl stuff. And she is still valuable.
Remarkable may not be a particularly suspenseful or unpredictable read, but it is an enjoyable.one. I finished it in a day, enchanted by its cast of characters, ranging from pirates to trouble-making siblings to lost composers. It is a respectable debut novel.