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Wings: Aprilynne Pike: Young Adult Fantasy Review

Book: Wings
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Pages: 304
Age Range: 13 and up 

Wings_cover_sidebar I had heard good things about Aprilynne Pike's Wings, first book in a projected four-title series (and already optioned by Disney for a movie starring Miley Cyrus). Wings is the story of a teenage girl named Laurel who is starting school for the first time, after 10 years of homeschooling. Laurel has a bit of trouble adjusting to school - people question her oddly restricted diet, and she finds it nearly impossible to stay indoors all day. Then, just as school is starting to get easier, Laurel discovers an odd bump between her shoulder blades (you may be able to guess from the title what happens next). After that, attempting to fit in becomes much more difficult.

The opening of this book drew me in. I was curious about Laurel, and how she would manage in high school. Here are the first couple of paragraphs:

"Laurel's shoes flipped a cheerful rhythm that defied her dark mood. As she walked through the halls of Del Norte High, people watched her pass with curious eyes.

There's nothing worse than being exactly where you don't want to be. Homeschooling had worked just fine for Laurel over the last ten years; she didn't see any reason for that to change. But her parents were determined to do everything right for their only child. When she was five, that had meant being homeschooled in a tiny town. Apparently, now that she was fifteen, it meant public high school in a slightly less tiny town.

After double-checking her schedule, Laurel found the biology lab and hurried to claim a seat by the windows. If she had to be indoors, she wanted to at least see outside." (Page 1, ARC)

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about Wings, overall. Laurel is a likeable character, and I did find it intriguing watching her discover the truth about her origins. Wings features hidden worlds, suspense and treachery, as well as family loyalty and close parent-child relationships. I think that many Twilight fans will enjoy Wings

However, I personally found the dialog to be a bit stilted, and some of the descriptive passages felt cliched. I won't give examples, since I'm reviewing from the advance copy, and these things may be changed. But Wings definitely felt like a debut novel to me. Also, Pike sets up a love triangle between Laurel, a human boy from school named David, and a mythical character named Tamani. Now, I'm a sucker for a good love triangle. But for me, this particular triangle fell flat. I didn't see why Laurel would be interested in either character, or why David, in particular, was so drawn to Laurel in the first place.  

However, Wings fits in well with the current trend of stories about supernatural beings becoming involved with humans and doing their time in high school. It's nice to have the supernatural being be the girl in this story (after various examples of ordinary teenage girl falling for the attractive vampire or werewolf or fairy). If the 118 customer reviews on Amazon are any indicator, the idea of a seemingly ordinary high school girl suddenly sprouting wings is appealing to many readers. I can see the movie working. Wings has an intriguing premise, and an engaging main character. With the right male leads, the movie is sure to be a hit. I'll be interested to hear what people think of the later books in the series.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 5, 2009
Source of Book: Advanced review copy from the publisher. Quotes are from the ARC, and should be checked against the final printed book.
Other Blog Reviews: Not Acting My Age, Finding Wonderland, Twisted Quill. Wings is a 2009 nominee for the Cybils in Fantasy and Science Fiction.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission on purchases (with no additional cost to you).