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.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Impossible Vastness of Us and the On Dublin Street series comes a heartfelt and beautiful new young adult novel, set in Scotland, about daring to dream and embracing who you are.
Comet Caldwell, 16, is sure she will never live up to her cool name. She has friends, but she doesn't do social media, and she's certainly not hooking up; the boys she knows are nothing like the "brave and loyal and swoonworthy" heroes of the romances she reads. Then Tobias King moves to Edinburgh from America; he's smart and handsome, but he hides his brains and pals around with a bad crowd, which includes his cousin Stevie. Comet is surprised when Tobias is interested, but their getting together leads to her being bullied and Tobias becoming estranged from his cousin, who really needs a friend. Young (The Impossible Vastness of Us) creates a genuine and relatable heroine in Comet, but the narrative relies heavily on exposition, with Comet dictating her thoughts and emotions in a manner that can come across as forced. And when Stevie gets into real trouble, it feels less like a plot development and more like an arbitrary event needed to create an obstacle to Comet and Tobias's otherwise perfect love. Ages 14-18.
Being yourself is never ordinary
The Fragile Ordinary is about a girl who is all but neglected by her parents. She is taken care of and provided for, but they pay her no attention and honestly, couldn’t even tell you how old she is. Comet is constantly fighting loneliness and has found that poetry to be her passion, as well as a way to express her emotions and hurt. Out of fear of judgement however, no one knows about her gift with words and she publishes them annonoumsuly on a blog and has a plan for after she graduates to get out and get on with her life where she can finally move away from being unloved. Then her teacher assigns her to do a project with the new American kid in class who is the complete opposite of her. Neither of them are ready for the connection they make and they must struggle though the trials of their own lives as well as the back lash they receive for deciding be together.
I love a good coming of age romance. I adore seeing how each character really comes into their own, as well as how they manage to find a way to grow into their relationship together. Comet was such a fun unique character for me to read. She had such a wonderfully creative style that I could really see her personality jump out of the pages of this book. My heart ached for her so much as she was faced with the reality of her parents and I admittedly hugged my daughter a few extra times while reading this book. Tobias was also a very diverse character, he had a bit of a tragic past but was able to work thought it and be such a compassionate, supportive, and when needed protective boyfriend for Comet and he quickly won me over.
One aspect I always adore with Samantha Young’s books is her ability to really transport me into her stories. I never fail to feel like I’ve landed completely into the world that she beautifully paints for me. Her characters always capture my heart and this book was no exception. Their honest flaws and refusal to give up inspire me. She never takes the easy route of letting her stories fall into a happily ever after, we get to fight along with them page by page as we earn that happy ending.
Another Extraordinary Story
Another extraordinary story by Samantha Young, of love, loss, guilt, betrayal, jealousy, bullying, addiction. All the things teens must deal with on a daily basis as they come of age. It's a story about finding oneself in a world where you feel so isolated by your differences.
Comet is so quirky and eccentric. Such as her love of her crazy fashion style and shoe obsession. I'm also an avid reader so it was good to be able to relate to Comet through her love of books. Her poetry was amazing. Comet always felt so alone and afraid too share herself with anyone until Tobias comes along, because of the strained and neglectful relationship Comet has with her parents.
Tobias pulls at your heartstrings when you learn of his past and what he's dealing with. Yet he still tries to be there for both Comet and Stevie during their problems. He feels like he betrayed Stevie and the guilt eats at him. The chemistry between Tobias and Comet is such a sweet love story you can't get enough of them. They just both pull the best out of each other.
Samantha doesn't shy away from any topics which always draws me in. She also pulls at all of your emotions. You cry, you yell at the book and you laugh with the characters. This is most certainly a five star, must read book. Can't wait to see what she has in store for us next.
A Paradoxical Title with Universal Lessons
The Fragile Ordinary, the title of Samantha Young’s newest release, seems quite contradictory; the implication that something normal…something standard…something regular could be vulnerable or delicate doesn’t quite fit its moniker, but it doesn’t mean it’s any less true…it doesn’t mean there’s not value and understanding in that paradoxical idea.
In the continuum between ordinary and extraordinary, especially when it comes to teenagers, there’s a learning curve due to the pressures, insecurities, and expectations that come with traversing through hallways and classrooms where people are constantly judged and evaluated based on their actions and their words, and what that means for those individuals who see themselves as nothing more than ordinary is that they must contend with labels, pressures, and bullying, upsetting the delicate balance that exists for them on any given day, making it difficult to keep themselves and their lives in check, which forces a spotlight on those who would never choose to be exposed as anything but regular.
Based on her name alone, there are certain expectations for Comet Caldwell - thoughts on how she should act and who she should be, and even though that’s not the path that she would ever choose for herself, it places her in a rather precarious position that is further aggravated by the appearance of a certain American bad boy - one who enters her life and brings with him his own issues and demons to fight, which means that, together, Comet and Tobias need to decide if they’re meant to be an extraordinary duo or remain behind the scenes as unequivocally ordinary as they can be.
Before I go any further with my review, I think it’s important for readers to understand that I don’t read a lot of young adult literature; it’s not that I don’t enjoy it; it’s just that my reading schedule, which includes author review teams, ARCs as a blogger, and the books I beta read, isn’t conducive to all of the YA books that have been released. But, not only is Samantha Young one of my absolute favorite authors, but her storytelling and the characters she constructs never fail to illicit a wide range of emotions and thoughts.
And The Fragile Ordinary did just that!
All readers will relate to Comet in some significant way; to me, I felt like she was my high school self kindred spirit. Everything she endures…her views on life and living…the way she handles the multitude of difficult situations and decisions…her love of book characters and her connection to them…Comet is such a relatable character and the turmoil that surrounds her doesn’t feel the least bit contrived or over the top and that is exactly the kind of main character readers can identify with, support, and cheer on because as Comet experiences all of drama and pressures of being a female teenager, her plight resonates with everyone who hears/reads her story.
Tobias King definitely has a hardened edge to him, but in some ways I think that helps him deal with his past and the aspects of his current life that seem out of his control. He doesn’t appear to be someone who would mesh well with Comet, but that’s the thing about preconceived notions and judging people based solely on what is said about them and the mask they wear. To truly understand someone, there needs to be an investment…a common ground and slowly but surely that connection is made and solidified between Comet and Tobias, and it’s heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time simply because of how things play out and the choices that have to be made, not only for them individually but also for any future they could possibly have together.
In every sense of the word, The Fragile Ordinary is a paradoxical title - one that teaches relatable and significant life lessons and then goes about exemplifying those teachings through two main characters who every reader will identify with and be inspired by…Comet and Tobias’ story is an amazing story of resilience…of friendship…of love, and it realistically illustrates a teenager’s journey through life - the highs and the lows and everything in between.
It’s definitely a story that stay with me and its lessons will not soon be forgotten.
5 Poison Apples (The Fairest of All Book Reviews)