Wings

Wings is included because it was on the New York Times Bestseller List, Children’s Chapter Books (Retrieved July 19, 2009 from http://www.aprilynnepike.com/) and it is also an ALA Best Books for Young Adults 2009 nominee (Retrieved July 19, 2009 from http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/yalsa/booklistsawards/bestbooksya/titlesnominated.cfm). Film rights have been optioned by Disney and it will be produced by the same company as the Twilight movie. (Retrieved July 19, 2009 from http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118005989.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&ref=bd_film)

Author: Aprilynne Pike
ISBN-10: 0061668036 ISBN-13: 9780061668036
City and Publisher: New York: HarperTeen
Copyright Date: 2009
Author’s Website: http://www.aprilynnepike.com/

Reader’s Annotation: Laurel has always been a little different from her peers, eating only sugar and fruit. It’s not until she moves from home school to high school that she begins to realize how different she really is.

Plot Summary: When Laurel moves from home schooling in a small town to high school in a slightly larger town, she has a lot of anxiety about fitting in. When she meets David, a warm, friendly, science-minded guy, he begins to help her feel she might have a chance at being happy in high school. When she is shocked as a wing-like blossom begins to grow on her back, he helps her even more with his acceptance. Together they traverse the mysterious intersection of human and faerie, meeting creatures and facing situations neither of them could have ever imagined.

Critical Evaluation: Written slowly and not quite dreamily, Wings unfolds as a generally sweet story. Although the characters aren’t always sure of themselves, most of them are good guys. The villain shows up in time to lend a little mystery and evil, but no one else performs any bad deeds, even unintentionally.
The biology of Laurel’s condition (fairies are actually walking and talking plants) is fairly interesting, as is the budding romance between Laurel and David (and the triangle created when Tamani appears). Despite the lack of conflict, Wings is an engaging story. It will be eaten up by girls in love with fairies. Laurel is a shy but generally attractive character, and girls may both identify with her and dream of being her.

Reading Level/Interest Age: 12 and up
Curriculum Ties: A modern take on traditional fairy legends, Wings could be assigned as a companion novel to a folk tale or mythology unit. Wings also covers aspects of plant biology, and would be an interesting just-for-fun read for students in a botany or biology course. At a more advanced level, the sexual symbolism of Laurel’s flower could be discussed in a semiotics course, and if her eating habits were also examined Wings would create plenty of fodder for a feminist critique.
Booktalking Ideas: Mention that Wings will be the next movie produced by Twilight’s producers. Explain that it depicts a fairy in a way that has never been seen before and provide a short plot summary.

Genre: Paranormal
Beasties and Supernatural Elements: Fairies
Influences from Other Genres: Mythology, Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Popular Science

Challenge Issues:
Wings is a very sweet story, and there is not a lot of controversy in it. One potential worry is Laurel’s diet. Much is made of the fact that she eats very little, and teens with body eating issues may not need additional encouragement to diet. Laurel is in reality a plant though, and hopefully girls will realize that human animals need a bit more nourishment.

About the Author: Wings is Aprilynne Pike’s first book, intended to be the first in a series of four. Pike has a BA in Creative Writing but, like many authors, worked at several jobs before completing her first novel. Most interestingly, she has worked as a doula and a childbirth educator for pregnant teens. Pike shares something with Stephanie Meyer, the author of the popular Twilight series; they are both Mormon. (More details at http://www.aprilynnepike.com/about-aprilynne)

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