Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Girl Who Could Fly for Tween Tuesday

Tween Tuesday was started over at Green Bean Teen Queen as away to highlight awesome books for the 9-12 yr olds or Tweens. This week's book is:

Forester, Victoria. The Girl Who Could Fly. New York: Square Fish - Feiwel and Friends, 2010. Print.
[Book cover credit: librarything.com/work/4147503]

"I'm a flier," she whispered and felt a strong sense of relief and pride. It felt so natural to be in a sky full of clouds and have birds flying past. Like a homecoming. She also noticed that flying up high made all of the things she left behind on the ground seem not as important. They were so small, after all, and the sky was so big.
p. 24
But things on the ground have a way of catching up with Piper McCloud. Eventually her special talents land Piper a spot in the prestigious, yet unheard of, I.N.S.A.N.E.. And even though Piper is exceptional and anything but normal, she goes to the Institute of Normalcy, Stability, And NonExceptionality in the hope that she'll finally have a place where she can be a flier and still fit in.

If you can't tell from the above quote, The Girl Who Could Fly is a beautifully written book about an introspective girl. Except that this introspective girl also has a bit of a temper, an inability to lie convincingly, and the bad habit of sticking up for what is right even when it has the potential to ruin her. I loved reading this book. Piper's adventures at I.N.S.A.N.E. were both the normal kinds of things a young girl who has never been allowed to attend school might have (if you've never seen a bully, how do you react to a mega-bully in a mixed-age classroom?) and the kinds of things that you'd expect to happen at a school for kids with superhero abilities.

Before things go south at I.N.S.A.N.E., Piper is the poster child for doing what she's told and standing up to bullies, or kids who like to electrocute littler kids, just as an example. Having grown up on a farm with only her parents for company, Piper is in many ways older than her 10 years. This might be a problem for some readers, especially when Piper waxes poetic about how they should all have goals in life and take the hard road as long as it's the right one. But Piper is just so genuine that I couldn't manage to be bothered by it. Her conviction (some might call it stubbornness at times) comes through the page, and it's easy to see how the other kids can go along with her, even when they think she's a little odd.

Unlike similar books, TGWCF has some more fantasy to it. Each of the kids at I.N.S.A.N.E. has some kind of special ability, each of which is important to the story and important to their plans. Other than their abilities (and little bits of backstory), many of the other kids are pretty one-dimensional. Still, Piper manages to make friends, and those friends are fully realized characters. This book definitely has a lot of precocious kid elements to it, especially when the kids all start working together. I think it will be a good fit for fans of the Lemony Snicket books or The Kneebone Boy.

Book source: I bought it.

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anachronist said...

I am conflicted about this one. On the one hand an interesting option - a usual girl with unusual abilities. On the other a precocious child not always makes a good fictional character. Well, it seems I will need to find out.

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I really like the paperback cover (much more than the hardcover) I saw this somehwere and they described is good for fans of X-Men. I need to pick it up!

Lawral the Librarian said...

anachronist - Piper isn't annoyingly precocious, though there is another character who is an annoying genius. She's mostly just sweet, but with some southern attitude. :)

GreenBean - This cover is so much better than the original. You should never put a little girl jumping off a roof on the cover of a happy book! Even one with this title. Hopefully the new cover, which I think is also a lot more eye-catching in general, will attract more readers.