The Girl Who Could Fly by Virginia Forester, copyright 2008, ISBN 1429986360, published by Feiwel and Friends features Piper McCloud, a girl who has the exceptional ability to fly. She is born to an old-fashioned country couple who believe in doing everything the traditional way, so she's flown by helicopter to a government facility where she is supposed to get the help she needs to become normal. Dr. Hellion, the beautiful and soft spoken administrator of the institute I.N.S.A. N. E., claims to be the only one who can help such exceptional children. And, this special place is supposed to be the only place these children can live in comfort. She tells them they have no place else to go. The best of food is lavished on them for ulterior motives. But, the worse punishment torments them when they don't follow code. There's even a machine to mold them when all else fails. It doesn't take Piper long to realize that punishment and consequences at the Institute are far worse than any she would have ever received back on the farm.
Piper and Conrad Harrington, another student at the facility Piper thinks is just a spoiled rich kid, team up to plan an escape when Piper discovers Dr. Hellion's true colors. Piper has a heart of gold and nearly loses her own life when she refuses to leave the others behind and fly away with Conrad.
The writing style is similar to my own regarding a particular book I wrote over a decade ago. Some of the phrases and language and the way Ma talks remind me of my own novel, and the way my mother spoke using certain phrases. One of the characters has the name of one of my main characters in my novel, but the story told here is its own.
I laughed and cried my way through the story that illustrates how we shouldn't judge the book by the cover, no pun intended. Dr. Hellion was beautiful and well dressed on the outside, but showed no true feelings or emotion. The reason why is discovered at the end of the tale. On the other hand, Piper wasn't what people expected her to be, and she was institutionalized to try to conform her and make her become what others thought she should be. But, Piper had feelings and emotions and others mattered to her. If you've ever felt out of place or had others not want to have anything to do with you because you were different, weird by their standards, you'll identify with Piper McCloud and root for her. If you feel God made us all as unique human beings and that we shouldn't be carbon copies of one another and be expected to be cookie-cutter models, you'll love this novel. Your heart will go out to each child with his or her own special God-given talent or gift, the ones they were not supposed to use.
It will rip your heart out when a cricket Piper helps saves his only song just for her. You know when an author can make you cry over a cricket, she can write. This book showcases the problem of conformity in society and illustrates the fact that if we were all carbon copies, it'd be a pretty dull, boring world. The ending has a surprise that makes sense and allows us to see how and why Dr. Hellion became a robot of a person.
I give the book 4 stars. It's available in ebook format for the Kindle or Nook at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.com. It's also available in paperback and hardcover.