Aprilynne Pike’sdebut novel is an eye-catching beauty. The eye is drawn to it like a butterfly to nectar. A book this lovely needs very little in the way of blurb to get me to bring it home, and although I’ve been stung in the past by this tendency, Wings did not disappoint. In fact, the only disappointment connected to this book is the fact that I did not discover it. In only it’s second week in print Wings hit the #1 spot on the New York Times children’s best seller list. Since this honor is well deserved I shall commence to getting over the fact that I wasn’t ahead of the curve on this one.
Laurell Sewell spent the formative years of her life living in a very small town on property that has been in her mother’s family for generations. Homeschooling never seemed so idyllic! Now the family has relocated to a larger town where they own and operate a book store. For the first time Laurell is thrust into a new public high school, an awkward misery that anyone who has ever had to change schools will appreciate. In fact, feeling like a stranger in the proverbial strange land is a universal emotion that anyone who’s ever been in high school (or college) can relate to. As if things weren’t awkward enough for poor Laurell a growth between her shoulder blades turns into a wing like blossom, at which point the novel really takes off!
Changelings are part of fairy lore throughout history. The idea of fairies, or Fae, or Seelie has enchanted audiences for centuries. From Shakespeare’s Midsummer’s Night Dream to modern offerings such as Frewin Jones YA series The Faerie Path or Laurell K. Hamilton’s very adult Meredith Gentry novels, fairies have been done and done again. They’ve been portrayed as mischevious pixies in Peter Pan and as lucious vampire bait in Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire novels (upon which the television show True Blood is based.) Considering all of these different variations on the myth, Wings really is “a remarkable debut” in that Pike gives us an entirely new take on fairies!
Without spoiling the reveal as to the origin of Laurell’s Wings, it is safe only to say that the author seamlessly lessons on biology with the action in her novel. Rarely does magic have a scientific origin; that it is done so well here is thrilling!
Wings is to slated to be a series of four novels, and the first one has already been optioned for film by Disney.