Victoria Forester's The Girl Who Could Fly
Children's book review by Kimi McDiarmid
Ages 10 and up
Synopsis: Piper McCloud was no ordinary baby, and she is no ordinary girl. She has always been able to float, and one day, she decides to teach herself how to fly. When her extraordinary ability to fly is made public, she is sent to a special school where she anticipates her skill will be developed.
Unfortunately her skill, and the abilities of the other children, are considered dangerous and the school turns out to be a more sinister experience than Piper expected.
Throughout the book, Piper shows that she is actually very special, even compared to the other extraordinary children.
Review: I really enjoyed the ideas behind The Girl Who Could Fly, Victoria Forester's first book. It's very fun to think of being able to fly, and the idea of conservative, traditional parents who live in a gossip loving small town having an absolutely unconventional child (whose ability they try to hide) is great.
There is depth there, too, in Piper's confusion and her desire to play with other children. (And it's almost cute how she thinks that everyone else could fly if they just tried).
But when I was about 18, I decided to repaint my room. I carefully followed instructions, used primer, everything. When my dad saw it, his assessment consisted of "Well, it's pretty good - for your first time painting."
My dad's impression of my painting is similar to mine of The Girl Who Could Fly. I didn't feel the book flowed as well as it could have - during certain parts I felt like I could just put the book down and go off and do something else.
It was a pleasant read, however, and the ending was satisfying - not surprising, but it tied everything up neatly. The other children at the school had somewhat obvious skills, but they are still good sparks to the imagination.
There are a lot of good things about the book. I thought Conrad was a well-written character - selfish, brilliant, and hurt all in one. While it didn't necessarily make sense that his ability would cause such a problem, he's a great character to have around.
And Dr. Hellion makes a great antagonist: she seems sincere until you discover the meanness behind her. The way some of the characters were named is funny - especially Agent Agent, and the people in Piper's hometown.
In general, the book is made of good characters, a good idea, and somewhat interesting events. Each character has his or her own motivations, which the reader discovers as the book unfolds. However, in this case, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. It should be a great book, and instead it is just a good book. I guess I was expecting more from the idea and the beginning.
I would recommend this book to readers who enjoyed Jenny Nimmo's Midnight for Charlie Bone series. While this is an obvious comparison, I do think that readers will enjoy The Girl Who Could Fly if they liked Charlie Bone's adventures in school (and now that I think about it, he does meet a girl who can fly in the first book of the series).
I also think this would be a good book to read aloud with your family. Perhaps due to Forester's screenwriting experience, the structure of The Girl Who Could Fly and of the sentences lend themselves well to being spoken and this would make a great family experience.
Read more of Kimi's book reviews.
Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.