Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Girl Who Could Fly: my review

The Girl Who Could Fly
by Victoria Forester

My rating:
5 of 5 stars

This is a MG book that was published in 2008. My summary below:

When baby Piper McCloud first floated, it scared her mother Betty McCloud half to death. Floating was something that just wasn't done. It was tempting providence. In all the hundreds of years McClouds had owned the farm, no one had ever floated there--and Betty, vowing not to tempt providence any further, decided that little Piper McCloud must be homeschooled.

Now nine, there are only two things Piper wants: to have friends, and to wrestle her floating ability into flying. Spurred by a hunger she can't ignore any more, Piper climbs a haystack and whispers,

I'm as light as a cloud, as free as a bird.
I'm part of the sky and I can fly.

And she flies.

But when Piper's longing for friendship and instinct of flight clash, sending the town and then the world into a frenzy about the first flying girl, Piper is whisked off to a special facility for plants, animals, and children with special abilities. Although Piper quickly makes friends with the shyer girls at the facility, Conrad, an antisocial supergenius, seems bent on pushing the kids over the edge. And he has special plans for Piper McCloud.

But is he really cruel, or is there another reason for Conrad's tricks? Could the director Hellion whom Piper has come to trust be responsible for destroying the amazing animals kept in the lab--and the reason children are forgetting how to use their abilities? In a place designed to strip away uniqueness, Piper has only the strength of her heart to get them all out, before the girl who could fly exists no more.

I LOVED this book. I don't think this would fly so well as YA (no pun intended) but within the realm of MG, it's the perfect mix of realism and imagination. Piper McCloud is a persistent and lovable protagonist whose desires can be related to by any kid, but whose struggles challenge youthful selfishness, and carry through ideas of sacrifice, friendship, and belief in dreams. Very adult themes packed realistically into Piper's own unique journey.

Plus, the creativity of this novel is amazing--the powers and abilities of the animals feel unique and well-written. I found myself loving and lingering even on minor characters, even on bad characters; Bella, Nurse Tolle, Jasper, Lily, and of course the elusive J (I have a *guess who this is--anyone want to guess with me?).

I have a very special love for Conrad. His conflict was the perfect balance for his incredible intelligence and his mean streak. I mean, we should probably hate this guy, who is cruel most of the book and even when he's not cruel, isn't a very good friend. But he's so driven and personally tortured and dang smart. Love him.

A couple things did take away from the writing; the author often used CAPS FOR EMPHASIS along with bold, italics, and TONS!!! of exclamation points, maybe even some extra question marks?!! that made her dialogue go cheesy at times. The character of Lelita Hellion was amazing, but I felt like her backstory came at us in too much of a rush, in the very cliched way that happens all too often and leaves the character feeling somewhat flat, rather then well rounded.

The other thing I found frustrating was not being with Piper during the dark moment--we get one scene, then we switch to the other characters, and we see Piper return from their POV. It felt like cheating. I wanted to be with Piper. However, our return to her was perfect. And these issues as a whole were so minor that I barely noticed.

In sum, this was an enchanting book that I read in one long read; the ending was perfect; and it will definitely stick with me.

Five stars.

This review was originally published on Goodreads. You can check out more of my reviews here.

**Now for my big guess. Don't read if you don't want spoilers!**

J is actually Jonathan, Lelita Hellion's brother that she sent away after the accident with Sarah! How cool would that be, right? I don't think we'll find out for sure unless there's a sequel, which I don't expect there will be since this was pubbed three years ago, but there were definitely threads left for one.


Karen Akins said...

I thought it was fun, too. I've been a little shocked that there hasn't been a sequel, though. It certainly pointed to one.

Creative A said...

I read on the author's site that originally, this was written and optioned as a screenplay which she decided to write in book form as well. So perhaps that's why there hasn't been a sequel yet? I agree with you, by the end I expected one.


Anonymous said...

Oh, now I've got to pick this up. There's always been a special place in my hear for MG and YA books. They're just perfect bite-size slices of imagination and the real world blended nicely together. Love it.

I shall check it out.

Creative A said...

That's a really good way of putting it. You should definitely pick this up!


Katie said...

Hey, I've given you a blogging award ... you can check it out over at my blog!

Anonymous said...

ihad to read this book for school and i really did'nt like it

Anonymous Me said...

Ahhh...hi everyone. This post is kinda late but...happy holidays.
Anyways, I totally LOVED the book and I really want a sequel.
Have you read the book "The Girl With the Silver Eyes"? It's just as good, if not better.
Hey, I read your description thing. I'm writing stuff too (well, I never finish most of my stories, but still...)

Creative A said...

Hey AM, no, never read that! Will have to check it out. It may be silly to hope for a sequel to The Girl Who Could Fly now, but hey, a girl can dream, right?

Happy new year to you as well!

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