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The Girl Who Could Fly (Piper McCloud)

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The Girl Who Could Fly (Piper McCloud)

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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 neighbours 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). Grades 4-7. —Ilene Cooper —This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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