Thursday, July 7, 2011

The girl who could fly by Victoria Forester

This book is so good I feel like I hardly drew in a breath for 327 pages. When I read a book like this I wonder several things – Do others know about this amazing book? How did I find this amazing book? (I think it was Mr K again!) What have others said about this book?

I want to stand on top of the highest book mountain and shout out to all students in Years 4-6 go out and grab this book it is utterly fabulous.

If you loved The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, Fearless by Tim Lott and Tensy Farlow by Jen Storer this is the book for you. This book also reminded me of the evil woman in Northern Lights.

Piper is a very special girl who is a born into a simple farming family. Piper has a gift – the gift of flying. Her older parents love their only child so much but they are simple folk who find change and difference of any kind very difficult to cope with. They keep Piper and her gift secret from the rest of the community and while Piper longs for freedom and friends, life is going on quite comfortably until the family attend the annual Fourth of July Picnic. By some coincidence I read this book on the fourth of July!

All goes well at the picnic although Piper discovers the awful prejudices of the townsfolk who are also suspicious of difference and who unfortunately listen to the local gossip Millie Mae Miller. During the baseball game Piper decides it is time to show these people who she really is and so she flies high to catch a ball and performs a series of aerial maneuvers. Piper has revealed her difference and this unleashes a dreadful chain of events.

Within days she finds herself whisked off an institute that specializes in assisting “special needs children… in learning skills so they can fulfill their dreams.” This is how it is explained by Dr Letitia Hellion but on her arrival at the school it seems things are not quite right. The other students do all have special and varied gifts but they are also very hostile to the newcomer. None more so than Conrad who takes particular pleasure in making Piper’s life a trial as he inflicts more and more diabolical punishments upon her.

The biggest thing to know about this book is to expect the unexpected. No one will conform to your opinion of them. I especially loved they way all the kids had gifts which, when combined, allowed everyone to fulfill their destiny. Little Jasper has perhaps the most important gift of all but be warned this is not revealed until right at the end.

I cannot recommend The Girl who could fly highly enough although I think the title could be more inviting and the cover design is not really inspiring (the US hardcover one is better) and I wish they had left off the Stephenie Meyer endorsement on the cover (Meyer does not match the audience for this book) but putting all this aside you must go out and grab this book. You might discover some things about intelligence too – brains are important but so is the emotional intelligence displayed by my hero Piper.

I would like to conclude with some wise words from Piper :

“Think you’re the only fool who ever made a mistake?” Piper looked at Conrad as if he was crazy. “Phhhhh! Talk about delusions of grandeur. One mistake isn’t nothing. Heck I’ve made more than that before I even get up in the morning. Can’t learn nothing worth knowing with out makin' a few mistakes first!” If you read this book with a class here are some questions.

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