“It was my daughter’s idea,” Diana Wagman says of the origins of her first ever YA novel, Extraordinary October. “She believed in fairies and trolls and leprechauns and other creatures much longer than most kids. She came up with a story about a girl who thinks she is nothing special, absolutely ordinary in every way, and discovers that’s not true.” 

Extraordinary October tells the story of October, who, three days before her eighteenth birthday, develops a strange itch that won’t go away, which makes her realize that she is not who—or what—she has always thought she was. “She’s brought up as human, she looks human, she goes to class and does homework and acts like any other teenager,” says Wagman, “until she realizes who she really is and the powers she has that no one else can see.” Among October’s newly discovered powers are the ability to hear dogs talk, make crows fly, and “transplant” herself though solid rock. Ultimately, October learns that she is the daughter of a troll princess and a fairy prince, and a pawn in a deadly war between the trolls and the fairies.

The ideas for the fantastic characters in Extraordinary October came when Diana was driving her daughter home from school. “We would pass through a variety of neighborhoods in Los Angeles. We would see homeless people, then, a few blocks later, we might see some of the most beautiful people in the world.  It’s easy to imagine that the stunning, tall, thin, perfect models might be fairies visiting from fairyland.  And just as easy to assume that the crazy homeless guy by the freeway entrance waving his hands as he pontificates is actually beset by tiny gremlins and shouting instructions to beings we can’t see.”

Writing a YA novel was a big change for Diana, after much success as an adult novelist. Her second novel, Spontaneous, won the PEN West Award for Fiction, and her 2012 novel The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets, was a Barnes and Noble Discover selection, and was reviewed in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and numerous other publications. On writing for teens instead of adults, Diana says, “the great thing about YA is that the freshness of the point of view. Not that all my adult characters are worn out and cynical, but my teen-aged protagonist just hasn't lived long enough to be jaded."

The early critics seem to agree that Diana has successfully made the transformation to the YA world. Well-regarded teen librarian and blogger Linsey Milillo calls Extraordinary October, "An extra-ordinaryingly delightful read full of charm and intrigue!"
In the fantastical vein of authors such as Julie Kagawa and Holly Black, Extraordinary October, takes the reader on a magical journey to the beautiful and mythical underground fairy kingdom—which happens to be located beneath the streets of Los Angeles.