Reviews for Girl Who Could Fly

Booklist Reviews 2008 June #1
*Starred Review* In this terrific debut novel, readers meet Piper McCloud, the late-in-life daughter of farmers. Her parents revel in conformity, so it's disconcerting at best when Piper shows a talent for flying. Homeschooled and kept away from outsiders, Piper is lonely. Finally, her parents let her go to a community picnic, where she thinks she'll meet new friends. Instead, she terrifies the neighbors by flying up to catch a ball during a kids' game. In no time, the McCloud farm is besieged. Then, out of a helicopter comes the empathetic Dr. Letitia Hellion, who whisks Piper off to a secret school for kids with special talents. But are things there what they seem to be? No. Forester gets almost everything right here. The story soars, just like Piper, with enough loop-de-loops to keep kids uncertain about what will come next. Her plainspoken heroine has a big heart and a strong streak of defiance, and Piper's reactions always seem true, even in the midst of sf machinations. Many other characters are also clearly set within the context of their lives, giving them dimension sometimes lacking in supporting casts. Best of all are the book's strong, lightly wrapped messages about friendship and authenticity and the difference between doing well and doing good. Give this to fans of Trenton Lee Stuart's The Mysterious Benedict Society (2007). Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
Midwesterner Piper McCloud, who can fly, is whisked off to a top-secret institute whose purpose is to make the children normal at all costs. Piper's indomitable personality makes credible her efforts to rally an elite resistance force, and readers will take strength from Piper's fight to be herself. Forester's down-home-farm and futuristic-ice-bunker-institute settings are unified by a rock-solid point of view. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #6
The daughter of salt-of-the-earth Lowland County farmers, Piper McCloud scandalizes her conservative parents with fool questions ("Do cows have feelings?") and a contrary-to-nature ability to fly. Convinced that such unusual goings-on "ain't the way of things," Betty and Joe McCloud keep Piper hidden until a spectacularly caught fly ball at her first church picnic lets out her secret. It also attracts the attention of Dr. Letitia Hellion, head of a top-secret government facility for unusually talented children (and highly unusual creatures of all kinds), who whisks Piper off to her institute. The other students (telekinetic Lily, high-voltage Kimber, genius Conrad, et al.) haze Piper severely but can't break her Midwestern can-do spirit. Then one day Conrad reveals the sinister purpose behind the institute: to make the children normal at all costs. Forester's disparate settings (down-home farm and futuristic ice-bunker institute) are unified by the rock-solid point of view and unpretentious diction, and Piper's indomitable personality makes credible her efforts to fuse her comrades into an elite resistance force. A plot strand about an invisible ally trails off, perhaps included to ignite future sequels, but any child who has felt different will take strength from Piper's fight to be herself against the tide of family, church, and society. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 June #1
With homespun charm, Forester focuses on the extraordinary Piper McCloud, daughter of an elderly couple who worry that revealing her gift of flight will put her in danger--with good reason. After Piper's first attempt to play baseball at a Fourth of July celebration results in a spectacular exhibit of her unique talent, Letitia Hellion's helicopter and black sedans show up to whisk her to a special school. At I.N.S.A.N.E., the Institute of Normalcy, Stability And Non Exceptionality, Letitia introduces Piper to classmates with equally unusual talents. The facility harbors many secrets, some unpleasant, many horrifying and none more unusual than genius Conrad Harrington III, rejected son of a powerful politician. Plucky Piper faces nearly insurmountable odds and must keep her innate sense of right and wrong focused through her trials. This fantasy has an air of reality, maintained by the aw-shucks flavor of the dialogue and its determined, good-as-gold heroine. Hints of a sequel appear after the tidy ending of this X-Men-like superhero take on the world. (Fantasy. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2008 September

Gr 5-8-- Somewhere in the U.S., in a small farming community called Lowland County, a girl named Piper McCloud is born to a simple, God-fearing farmer and his wife. Piper has a special talent: she can fly. What follows is an uneasy mix of fantasy and science fiction that has plot points that are fairly derivative. When her talent for flying is discovered, a charismatic director of a special school takes Piper under her wing. She arrives at an amazing place with multiple floors and discovers a lot of other kids with extraordinary powers, too--as well as a nefarious plot to remove their special talents by altering their DNA. Character development is achieved by the author telling, not showing, readers, and speech patterns are not always successful. Piper's rural, colloquial manner of speech seems out of place in a time period that appears to be present day and borders on caricature, especially when she utters phrases such as, "Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit!" The writing style is clunky, and the author strives to be clever with wordplay. For example, the evil director of the school is named Dr. Letitia Hellion, and the German professor, whose accent is almost unintelligible, is named Dr. Mumbley. The acronym for the school, or institute, is I.N.S.A.N.E. (Institute of Normalcy, Stability, and NonExceptionality). The book ends with the kids taking over the school, and the affirmation of everyone's differences, and everyone's right to "be themselves." Libraries looking for engaging fantasy will want to look elsewhere.--Jennifer Ralston, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, MD

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