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The Girl Who Could Fly

The Girl Who Could Fly

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The Girl Who Could Fly

4/5 (40 peringkat)
271 pages
3 hours
Jun 24, 2008


You just can't keep a good girl down . . . unless you use the proper methods.

Piper McCloud can fly. Just like that. Easy as pie.

Sure, she hasn't mastered reverse propulsion and her turns are kind of sloppy, but she's real good at loop-the-loops.

Problem is, the good folk of Lowland County are afraid of Piper. And her ma's at her wit's end. So it seems only fitting that she leave her parents' farm to attend a top-secret, maximum-security school for kids with exceptional abilities.

School is great at first with a bunch of new friends whose skills range from super-strength to super-genius. (Plus all the homemade apple pie she can eat!) But Piper is special, even among the special. And there are consequences.

Consequences too dire to talk about. Too crazy to consider. And too dangerous to ignore.

At turns exhilarating and terrifying, Victoria Forester's debut novel has been praised by Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight saga, as "the oddest/sweetest mix of Little House on the Prairie and X-Men...Prepare to have your heart warmed." The Girl Who Could Fly is an unforgettable story of defiance and courage about an irrepressible heroine who can, who will, who must . . . fly.

This title has Common Core connections.

Praise for Victoria Forester and The Girl Who Could Fly:

"It's the oddest/sweetest mix of Little House on the Prairie and X-Men. I was smiling the whole time (except for the part where I cried). I gave it to my mom, and I'm reading it to my kids—it's absolutely multigenerational. Prepare to have your heart warmed." Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight saga

"In this terrific debut novel, readers meet Piper McCloud, the late-in-life daughter of farmers...The story soars, just like Piper, with enough loop-de-loops to keep kids uncertain about what will come next....Best of all are the book's strong, lightly wrapped messages about friendship and authenticity and the difference between doing well and doing good."--Booklist, Starred Review

"Forester's disparate settings (down-home farm and futuristic ice-bunker institute) are unified by the rock-solid point of view and unpretentious diction… any child who has felt different will take strength from Piper's fight to be herself against the tide of family, church, and society."--The Horn Book Review

The Girl Who Could Fly is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Jun 24, 2008

Tentang penulis

Victoria Forester is the author of The Girl Who Could Fly, a Booklist Editor’s Choice and Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year. She is also a successful screenwriter, and originally wrote The Girl Who Could Fly for film. She liked the story so much that she decided to expand it into her first book. Victoria grew up on a remote farm in Ontario, Canada, and graduated from the University of Toronto. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and cat.

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The Girl Who Could Fly - Victoria Forester



PIPER DECIDED to jump off of the roof. It wasn’t a rash decision on her part.

This was her plan—climb to the top of the roof, pick up speed by running from one end all the way to the other. Jump off.

Finally, and most importantly, don’t fall.

She didn’t make plans in the event that she did fall, because if you jump off of the roof of your house and land on your head, you really don’t need any plans from that point on. Even Piper knew that.

So that’s what she did. She jumped clean off of her roof.

But before we get to what happens next, you’ll probably need to know a thing or two about a thing or two.

Piper lived with her ma and pa on a farm. It wasn’t much of a farm to be sure, just an old clapboard house and a bank barn that leaned dangerously to the left. For longer than anyone could remember, the McClouds had lived in Lowland County on those same twenty rocky acres of land. Piper’s grandpa and great-grandpa and great-great-grandpa, and so on and so on, all breathed their first, last, and everything in between right in the same house where Piper was born, and because of that, the McClouds never planned to live anywhere else. Betty McCloud felt that folks ought to stay in one place and not move around too much so that the Almighty knew where to find them if He needed to.

If the good Lord wanted things to keep changing all the time, then the sun wouldn’t rise up the same way every blessed morning. Betty was a plain, no-nonsense, solidly round woman who believed in only two things: the Good Book and something that she called providence, as in—

I told Millie Mae not to fool with that newfangled gardening hoe. Can’t say I’m surprised them black beetles is eating clear through her tomatoes now. It’s providence, I tell you. Providence.

Unlike Millie Mae, Betty McCloud never tempted providence.

Joe McCloud, a lanky man with sun-weathered skin the color of browned autumn leaves, never said a word about providence, but then he never said much about anything. If pressed with a question, he’d likely ponder it for a long stretch before finding the words to answer in his measured way, Well, that’s just the way things is. And the way things was, was plenty good enough for Joe McCloud.

So it was in this manner that Betty and Joe quietly went about the business of tending to their land, as the seasons and years passed them by, one no different from the next. And never was it heard to be said in Lowland County that a McCloud didn’t do things as they were supposed to be done. That is, until someone said precisely that.

No, I ain’t. It’s not the way of things. Betty McCloud argued with Doc Bell when he announced that she was pregnant. After all, Betty had celebrated no less than twenty-five barren years of marriage and was no longer considered a young woman.

Four months later Betty McCloud birthed a baby girl.

That baby girl was named Piper. Piper McCloud.

News of Piper’s birth traveled with great speed through the remote fields of Lowland County, where cows outnumbered people by a ratio of ninety-three to one.

It’s not the way of things, Millie Mae hotly declared to the ladies’ Tuesday afternoon sewing circle, each one of whom immediately pressed her ears more closely inward. Fancy a woman Betty McCloud’s age prancing around with a newborn baby! A first-time mother at that. It ain’t right!

Many of the ladies nodded in agreement. Dire predictions soon followed that the child was sure to grow up queer in such circumstances, and without a sibling to boot.

For the first time in her life Betty McCloud was tempting providence. And she knew it. She certainly didn’t need the whispers of local gossip to inform her of the fact. In an attempt to restore balance and appease providence, Betty and Joe set about the business of strictly rearing Piper in the prescribed way that McClouds were raised. Which is to say, without a lot of fuss and nonsense and a solid portion of hard farmwork thrown in for good measure. They were simple and honest farmers and they didn’t hold with any fancy child-rearing notions that some city folks got into their heads.

Much to their relief, Piper was what every other baby was. At first. It was only when Piper reached the age when most babies were learning to crawl that her development took an entirely different turn.

It was a Thursday afternoon like any other that Betty set about changing Piper’s diaper on the kitchen table, no differently than she’d done a hundred times before. When Betty turned away for just one moment, Piper rolled, quick as a flash, off of the edge of the table. Now any other baby would have immediately fallen to the floor and screamed itself silly. Not Piper. To Betty’s astonishment, Piper simply floated in the air next to the table.

Lord save us, Betty choked, her hand clutching the terrified swallow inside her chest. Piper giggled and bobbed up and down in the air.

Betty quickly scooped Piper into her arms and held tightly on to her from that moment on. The word providence flashed through Betty’s mind. This is what you get when you don’t do things as they should be done, the left side of her head said to the right.

As time passed, and despite Betty’s sincere prayers, the situation got worse, not better. Piper was discovered bobbing about the parlor ceiling and either wouldn’t or couldn’t return to the ground. Joe was dispatched out to the shed to fetch the ladder. Several weeks later in the wee hours of the night, Joe discovered Piper sleep-floating several feet above her crib. Then there was that particularly gusty day when Piper suddenly took to floating and was swept up in a wind that carried her three full fields before she became snared in the branches of a tree and Joe was able to fetch her down.

When Piper reached the age of five and was still known to unexpectedly float across a room, Betty finally felt that the time had come to broach the matter.

Seems like she ain’t normal is all I’m sayin’, Betty helplessly offered to Doc Bell.

How’s that? Doc Bell questioned. Doc Bell had seen generations come and go and all manner of things happen to them in Lowland County. He’d seen the youngest Smith boy cough up a screwdriver and a whole package of two-inch nails. He’d been there when Clara Cassie Mareken’s head turned all of the way around and then back again. Doc Bell had even seen a grown man talk backwards after he was bumped on the head by a hay baler. The little girl dangling her legs off of his examining table had ten fingers and ten toes, was no taller or smaller, no smarter or dumber, no thinner or fatter than a child her age should be. She was, in short, like every other child in the farming community of Lowland.

Well, Mr. McCloud and I, we’ve been noticing that she’s . . . stammered Betty, not sure exactly how to describe her condition, . . . well, she’s a might high-spirited.

Doc Bell chuckled and turned away to wash his hands. A child her age should have plenty of energy to spare, but it isn’t anything you need worry yourselves about. Give her plenty of exercise and lots of fresh air. Nothing wrong with her, she’s as normal as you or I.

When Doc Bell turned back around, he discovered that Piper had somehow managed to hoist herself five feet into the air, where she was dangling on the light fixture that hung from the ceiling. There she began to swing back and forth. For the briefest of moments, Doc Bell looked into Betty’s alarmed face and the notion that Piper McCloud might indeed be more than high-spirited crossed his mind. Doc Bell was a man of science, though, and so he naturally let the matter go.

You’ve got a little monkey on your hands, Mrs. McCloud. Doc Bell chuckled.

And upon that medical recommendation and with great relief, Betty decided to let the child be. All the same, she felt it wise to homeschool Piper until such time that her high spirits, however normal they might be, were . . . well, less high.

By her ninth birthday Piper had long nut-brown hair that was fixed into two braids, bright blue eyes (which she liked), more freckles than the sky had stars (which she hated), and her most constant companion was loneliness, as well as some other feeling she couldn’t quite place a name to.

Ever think something’s not right but you can’t get at it, Pa? Perched atop a fence, Piper watched Joe as he fixed a loose blade on the plough.

Joe shrugged uncertainly.

It’s like I got an itch right in here, Piper continued, pointing to her midsection just below her ribs, but I can’t get at it and it just keeps scratching at me and scratching at me, but on the inside. You reckon maybe there’s something that’ll make it stop itching so?

Joe shrugged again. He often felt dizzy when Piper talked to him. It wasn’t that the words she used were so different—heck, Piper talked like everyone else in Lowland County. It was the ideas that the child got into her head. She asked questions he wouldn’t have thought up in a million years and couldn’t begin to figure an answer to.

I told Ma about it the other day and she figured it was caused by all the fool ideas I had in my head. Piper continued, heedless of her father’s inability to respond. I didn’t think my ideas were fool but Ma says that I’d do better to keep quiet, keep my feet on the ground, and to mind my own business. She says it’s wrong to be frittering away my hours asking questions when there’s work to be done. But I don’t see how a question can be wrong. Can you, Pa? Ma says the Bible sets out what’s right and wrong so we don’t have to bother ourselves with it none but it seems to me that it ain’t so matter-of-fact. Like when you kilt that old cow last week and I didn’t want to eat it ’cause he was my favorite and so gentle besides. Ma said I was sinful to waste food. But I said that maybe we shouldn’t go about killing and eating cows when they was so peaceful-like. Ma said that was foolishness and that God put the cows here just so as we can eat ’em. But that don’t seem like such a good deal for the cows to me. Preacher told us not more than four Sundays ago that God loves all his creatures, but it ain’t loving to my way of thinking to create a thing just for it to be food. Them cows ain’t never done nothing to us. Which got me to thinking that maybe we got it wrong and they got a purpose we don’t know nothing about. Maybe it’s a secret. So I started watching the cows, quiet-like so they wouldn’t notice, aiming to see if I couldn’t guess that purpose. And I think I knows it now, Pa. I do. Wanna hear?

Joe drew his forearm across his brow to steady the dizziness. Somehow this conversation had spiraled out of control and he was about to learn the secret destiny of cows, a revelation that Joe McCloud was not ready for. Not ready by a long shot. Had he known how to stop Piper from continuing, he would have. Alas, all he could do was stand helplessly rooted to the spot as Piper continued.

Which, of course, Piper did.

It was the way they was flicking their tails to ward off the flies that gave it away. Piper leaned in toward Joe and lowered her voice secretively lest the chickens catch wind of her words. You see, all of them was doing it but one. The black heifer with the brown eyes was just standing real still, looking off to the next field over where the sheep was grazing. The flies were buzzing around her just the same as the others but her tail stayed dead still. So I got to watching that cow and every day she did the same thing until I realized what she was looking at.

What? Joe asked, breathlessly unaware that he posed the question.

The place where her calf done died on her not more than six months ’fore. Remember?

Joe nodded. Indeed he did remember. It had been a difficult birth and the weakened calf had only lived a few hours before it passed on.

She’s mourning him something terrible and it seems to me that if a cow can feel so for its young‘un, then it’s probably got feelings about all sorts of things. Feelings we don’t know nothing about. And then I got to thinking that if each of them cows got feelings, then they can have a purpose no different from us folks. Which got me thinking about our purpose. And I realized that a person should get a handle on their purpose in this life if they aim to do something about it. You know what I mean, Pa? Piper looked into her father’s face and found only lines of confusion.

Piper McCloud!!! Betty squawked as she emerged from the henhouse to find Joe, once again, standing like a fool listening to the child.

Joe sheepishly got back to working on the plough while Piper scrambled from the fence.

But I was just telling Pa how . . .

I couldn’t care less about your fool ideas and stories. When there’s work to be done I expect you to do it. Now git.

Several days later in the heat of the afternoon, Piper escaped to the biggest oak tree on the farm and climbed halfway up it to enjoy the breeze that rustled through the leaves there. The itch inside her was acting up and wouldn’t give her any peace, and so she rolled over on the branch and held her stomach. From her position, she could spy a robin landing on her nearby nest, where she began feeding a fat worm to her babies. Watching the robin, Piper let her mind wander.

Maybe other kids my age have the same itch. Piper considered. Maybe if I could talk to ’em they’d tell me how to get at it. Fat chance that was ever going to happen, what with her stuck out on the farm and all. I never get to go nowheres or do nothing, Piper thought to herself. Only two places I’ve ever been is church and Doc Bell’s.

Why can’t I go to school like them Miller kids? Piper had asked her mother a thousand times. Each morning Piper watched them from the hayloft walking to school. She’d have given her front teeth to go with them.

You do your schoolwork just as well here, that’s why. Betty, as always, was plain and to the point.

All of a sudden Piper was roused from her thoughts by an unexpected drama that was unfolding on the branch before her very eyes. The mother robin was nudging one of her babies toward the edge of the nest. The little fellow was hardly bigger than Piper’s thumb and had a smattering of feathers poking out of him. Using her beak, the robin gave her baby a good shove that pushed him clear out of the nest, over the branch, and into the air. To Piper’s horror, the baby robin dropped like a stone in a flurry of wing flapping. But then, just as he was about to hit the ground, he managed to pump his wings so hard that he stopped falling and started slowly, very slowly, rising. Right then and there that little bird learned to fly, and Piper saw the whole thing.

Holy moly, Piper breathed and shook her head in wonder. It was the darndest thing she’d ever seen. Then the mother robin did it again and her second baby was born into flight. By the time the third baby was being readied for takeoff, Piper was struck by a lightning of an idea.

Piper sat bolt upright on the branch, almost falling off of it completely. Grabbing hold with both hands, she steadied her body while her mind raced like a jackrabbit.

From the moment she was born, Piper had floated. It came naturally to her, like breathing. Because she’d always done it, she didn’t think it was such a big deal. One minute she’d be sitting on the rug in front of the fire and the next she’d be bobbing up to the ceiling. It happened all of the time and it was fun. The problem with floating was that you never knew where it would take you, which wasn’t all bad, but sometimes a person likes to have a bit more direction in their life than to be at the whim of any strong breeze. There’s a big difference between floating and flying. Clouds float. Balloons float. But birds fly.

Maybe Ma and Pa just forgot to push me like them baby birds, Piper considered, knowing full well that she was going to have to take matters into her own hands. It’s high time I got to flying too.

Not wanting to waste any time, Piper quickly shimmied down the tree trunk and immediately set about formulating a plan.

The very next morning Piper woke up before the rooster crowed. The sky was just beginning to glow in the east as she eased her way out of bed. Pushing open her window, she was able to slide across the ledge until her feet hit the shingles. From there it was hard work to crawl up to the ridgepole. She stayed on her hands and knees and moved slowly.

The roof was slick with dew. Just one wrong move and quick as a flash she’d slide right off. She kicked her long, white nightgown away to stop it from tripping up her feet.

It was when Piper had climbed to the very top of the roof and was balancing on the ridgepole that she realized exactly how scared she was. To be precise, she was terrified. All of a sudden Piper knew that there was a big difference between planning something and actually doing it. The roof was steep and high, and below it the ground was as hard as a rock. If things went wrong, she was going to get hurt, and hurt badly. Piper’s breath caught in her throat and for a moment she couldn’t breathe at all.

Her thoughts came fast and furious then. What if I can’t fly? What if I smack the ground with my head? Maybe my brains will spill out all over the place and then I ain’t never gonna leave the farm and make a friend. Maybe it’s best I hightail it back to bed and forget the whole notion.

Now perhaps it was because Piper didn’t yet believe in a right way or a wrong way of doing things, and so for her, all things were still possible. Or maybe it’s because the itch deep inside Piper that no one, least of all herself, could get at was itching so much it was going to drive her crazy. Or it could have been the same reason that Piper was able to float—which is to say, no one really knows. Whatever reason it was, Piper stayed on that roof and didn’t go back to bed. Instead she raised her arms up at her sides like an airplane and placed one foot in front of the other. With fear, courage, and anticipation all mixing together in her stomach, she began to walk the ridgepole of her

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  • (4/5)
    The narration style of this book took a bit of getting used to, and even at the end of the story I had trouble picturing the children as children, or at least as children as young as they were stated as being. Even so, this is a delightful book, and it explores how people are different from one another and how we can use those differences to either help or hurt the people around us. And it does this without being preachy, which is so very refreshing.
  • (4/5)
    I read this book when it was first published in 2010, but when I saw the sequel out in hardcover (2015), I purchased them together. The Girl Who Could Fly is a story with strong voice, well-paced plotting and convoluted friendships. Piper McCloud can fly and she knows she likes it. Though her conservative parents and community try to convince her that flying is impossible and bad, Piper can't accept that something that makes her feel so good can be harmful. Though she tries to be a "normal" girl, her temper gets the best of her and she flies in front of everyone. Her ability goes global and she is whisked away to a top secret school for children with special gifts, under the purview of the kind-seeming Dr. Hellion. At school, Piper's goodness is quickly at odds with the smartest boy in the world, Conrad, who is mean and cruel to everyone. But when even Dr. Hellion, Piper's new hero, tells her not to fly, Piper begins to suspect that the school, its leaders and its purpose are not what they seem. Piper McCloud's voice shines in her forthright and positive attitude as she is faced with both cruelty and hope, friends and enemies. Forester keeps the plot twisting in this fine middle-grade science fiction novel as Piper strives to fulfill the epigraph "to be nobody but yourself."
  • (5/5)
    The Girl Who could Fly is about a girl named Piper McCloud who is pretty much normal except for one thing, she can fly. Every since she was a baby she could hover above the ground. Her parents didn't anyone knowing so they made her stay in her whole life. These people come from a school called I.N.S.A.N.E and want her to go there because it's a school for extraordinary people. It seems like a dream come true to Piper, she'd have people just like her there and she wouldn't have to afraid of what would happen. After a while Piper realizes that her "dream" school is not what she thought it was. It was actually putting her life in danger. She ended up escaping from the evil people there and having a normal life as kid.I think that The Girl Who Could Fly deserved four and a half stars(I didn't have that option for the rating).It was a good book overall I just don't think it was the best book I've ever read.It ends as you would expect it would the main character gets the life she wanted.It was a good book,but it just needed something to me.It was pretty good though all together.
  • (1/5)
    This was such a beautiful story to read. Piper is immediately someone you draw close to. Her character is warm, charming, inspiring, feisty with a heart as big as the sky. I don't usually read children's stories but this one had opened the door to reading more. My only regret is the awful chapter with torture. I cannot comprehend including such vivid details of torture in a children's book. It's why the four stars instead of five.
  • (1/5)
    Cliched, predictable, with too many exaggeratedly mean and/or stupid characters. Almost a parody, almost a 'dark and stormy night.' Not to mention, at least two of the covers are big spoilers, and the foreshadowing is awfully heavy. While it's necessary to have uniforms, we like to honor each student's individuality by allowing them to choose their own material and color," Dr. Hellion pointed out.... Um, yeah, right. I got 1/3 through, because it is after all a very quick read, and decided I couldn't bear to waste one more minute on it."
  • (3/5)
    Unfortunately, the wispy cover illustration doesn't begin to hint at the action and conspiracy inside which will make this a hard sell without a solid booktalk. Piper is a down-home farm girl who discovers her ability to fly. Her parents Betty and Joe are spare, practical folk who've worked hard to hide this odd talent. But when Piper takes flight at a town picnic, the government swoops down and steals her off to an institution for "special kids" like herself. At this underground, high-tech laboratory, Piper meets kids with other unusual talents: telekinesis, superstrength, high intelligence, weather-making. Piper also discovers torturous experiments being conducted on other living creatures in other floors of the lab. It's Piper's unaffected Pollyanna attitude and bright naivete that encourages the the kids to band together for escape. The Scooby-Doo plot twists can be seen in advance by the more experienced reader, but it's a rip of a fantasy for action lovers. Give time for the slow start to set the stage.
  • (3/5)
    This was a cute book recommended by my 10-yr-old neighbor girl.
    Comment by Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight saga: "It's the oddest/sweetest mix of Little House on the Prairie and X-Men. I was smiling the whole time (except for the part where I cried)...Prepare to have your heart warmed."
    And that about sums it up! Really a fun read :)
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    I thought it was amazing the book was so good ?

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    This book is cute. It has action, adventure, and a bit of scariness (not to mention creepiness). Piper is an outgoing little girl who wants to know the world. I suspect Children will love Piper, especially when she asks all those questions to her bewildered parents!The book is also scary, as an adult, there are some truly creepiness happening. Younger kids will probably find it too scary. As a children's book - it is presented as simple as possible. There is a black and white quality to the book, and at the end, you wonder who the true villain actually was. But, as an adult, I found this book to be too simple. Its a very bright, cartoon like world. Not a lot of background. The children presented in the story are all special, and at times, cardboard caricatures, but never not interesting.So, if you read this book - expect a simple story for children, some scary moments, and well written book.
  • (4/5)
    When I read Stephanie Meyer's plug for the book ("It's the oddest/ sweetest mix of Little House on the Prairie and X-Men"), I knew I was in for a treat. I enjoyed Forester's feisty heroine and eccentric characters, and the plot "loop de looped" even more than Piper in flight. The implausibilities were so charming that I happily suspended disbelief. My one issue came toward the end: the resolution seemed just a little too pat, a little too rushed. Ultimately, though, a fun and satisfying read. The mysterious "J" pops in at the end of the book long enough to warn them that things still aren't safe-- perhaps we'll hear more from Piper.
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Good for readers who like adventure. The story was quite awesome. There are discussion questions in the back that my 9YO loved. Lexile Reading Measure: 920L

    1 person found this helpful

  • (2/5)
    It was cute, but kind of too cutesy. And then too upsetting. And then too cutesy again.

    Oh, and I haaated the dialect.
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Piper McCloud had amazing abilities since she was born. Her mother notice she could do some exceptional, out of the ordinary. But, the McCloud's did not deal well with Piper's ability. Betty, Piper's mother, warned her to never use her ability, until one day Piper could no longer hide her talent. Once her true person is revealed, she is whisked off to an institute for kids with great abilities. But that was not even the half of it. Piper goes a grand joinery of fingering herself, as well as her place in the world. An amazing read.!

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Piper is a wonderfully bright and exciting little girl. With her "country" accent and simple, pure-hearted values, she's an easy character to love! She's the only child of older, farmer parents. Piper's mom especially, prides themselves on being simple folk who toe the line. Their lives have always been the same and they've never found a reason to have to look for change. Having Piper was enough excitement for the old parents, but when they discover their daughter could fly - well that changed everything! Piper's soon recruited to the I.N.S.A.N.E. school, for children who have extraordinary talents, such as hers. However, wonderful the school seems at the beginning, darkness lurks beneath the surface and soon, Piper finds herself questioning what is true and what isn't.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (3/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Looking for a fun book to read with your children? Try “The Girl Who Could Fly” by Victoria Forester. I was told by my best friend’s 13-year-old niece that Ihad to read this middle grade novel, that I would loveit, and that it was awesome.So when a space in my reading schedule opened up (and when a copy of the in-demand novel finally became available at my local library), I decided to give it a go.The strong-headed and inventive 11-year-old girl, Piper McCloud, is this story’s central character. She lives in a sleepy, agrarian town in the South, where life is typically nothing more than normal (and when it is, oh, how people will gossip)! Poor Piper’s just not ordinary enough to fit in — she was born with the ability to float in the air — prompting her parents to home school her with the hope of avoiding any embarrassing debacles regarding Piper’s special “talents.”Finally, Ma and Pa McCloud give their daughter the opportunity to play with the town children at a picnic festival. Piper tries her best to make the children like her. Unfortunately, her best includes using her special powers to catch a highflying runaway baseball — right in front of the whole town, might I add. It’s not long after this ordeal that strangers show up at the McCloud residence, and they want Piper. The family reluctantly agrees, and Piper is whisked away by Dr. Hellion and Agent Agent to a special institute called INSANE, which she is promised will help her to develop her skills and to help other children learn the joys of flying too.At this boarding school-come-scientific research lab, Piper is manipulated by the faculty, being asked not to use her powers since it could make the other children jealous. Eager to fit in for a change, she agrees. The new children all have unique gifts of their own including the ability to manipulate weather, telekinesis, X-ray vision and shrinkability. Conrad, a crotchety super genius and the unquestioned leader of the students, seems intent on making Piper’s new school experience as horrible as possible.Will the children figure out that the institute is not trying to help them develop their talents but rather trying to erase them altogether? Will Piper be able to save the day and make new friends along the way, or will she lose her powers and finally become normal like everyone else?“The Girl Who Could Fly” will teach children tolerance for those who are different at the same time that it espouses caricature-like stereotypes. I was so frustrated with the anachronistic and maudlin portrayal of Piper’s backwoods, Southern hometown that I almost gave up on the story after reading the first two chapters. I was also irritated by the cutesy naming conventions: Agent Agent, Professor Mumbley, INSANE. However, I believe these same features, which were hindrances to my enjoyment, might be of great delight to the child reader. It would be a near impossibility to read the story aloud without affecting Piper’s maple-syrupy accent — and don’t children love it when their parents use funny voices to read a story?I’m glad I didn’t give up on “The Girl Who Could Fly” despite my initial misgivings. Once Piper arrives at INSANE, the story really takes off. The authoress is a master of description, which makes up for her dialogue-writing difficulties.This post is dedicated to Connor.

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  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    The Girl Who Could Fly is a great, fun, quick read! Written for Young Adults, it is still a fun story for adults as well. I tended to forget the age of the characters while reading and simply enjoyed the story. A young girl discovers she can fly but that makes her an outcast until she goes to a special "school" where she meets other children with unique abilities. Who hasn't dreamed of having a special or unique ability! This is a great book if you want a light, fun read!

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  • (5/5)

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    I didn't know what to think when I first started this book but it turned out better than I ever thought it would be. Very mysterious and kinda depressing leaves you really thinking and questioning what happened.

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  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    This book is about a girl who finds out she has the ability to fly. Soon afterwards, she is invited to a school for other children like her, but she finds out that the real purpose of the school is to stop them from using their powers, meaning that they lose them forever.

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  • (1/5)
    racist, ableist, and disparaging of the rural South. The characters of color are introduced as sociopaths and stooges, although at the end, they're suddenly nice enough people with no connection to their characterization at the beginning.

    The girl protagonist is tortured and loses the use of her legs, which at first no one notices and when they do, they're horrified and cannot cope with her disability. Then the youngest (white) boy who has never used his powers while at the school suddenly has the power to heal and magics her all better. As a disabled, amnesiac person, Piper is grotesque-ified and made a subject to be ignored. (Guess how infuriating I found this. As if a person has lost all worth to her friends and to her society because she's been victimized by a psycho!) Worst, the kids' respect for her is only reestablished once the boy protagonist restores her health and she -- ta-da -- suddenly adn conveniently recovers from traumatic amnesia.

    If you take out all the offensive parts, it's a pretty good story, but THIS OFFENSIVENESS is what people would teach elementary school children and ingrain in their minds while they're young.

    Beyond that, the story is incredibly derivative. It's very X-Men Academy meets Superman meets Wolverine meets Supreme Power meets Runaways. I'm a happy reader of fanfic, so I don't mind that it's derivative (true originality is so rare these days -- we'd all be stuck if that were a requirement for enjoyment of a book or movie), but it's worth being aware that other sources have done it differently and better.

    The best part about this novel, though, is that it's a solidly feminist book, where girls and boys all have equal potential for talent or weakness.

    I realized a few minutes after finishing this that the book's main villain is only evil because she herself was a metahuman who took her sister flying and her sister died when they flew into a storm. So. Survivor's Guilt ==> EVILNESS (if you're meta). There's nothing else about her that would lead her to try to "rehabilitate" or kill off meta kids. Her parents were apparently nice, supportive people. The cause was just her guilt over something she couldn't control. *annoyed*
  • (3/5)
    Enjoyable book with a great heroine who never gives up. I liked that the story was different than what I expected it to be. The characters as well. A fun read.
  • (4/5)
    Piper can fly. It started when she was a baby - floating above her crib sometimes. But once she really starts flying, her parents don't know what to do. Then the lady from the government shows up. Dr. Hellion represents a special school where Piper can learn about her powers and how to control them. Piper has been homeschooled her whole life and never had a friend, so she can't wait to go to this new place.But it's not what she expected at all. The new kids are not especially friendl...more Piper can fly. It started when she was a baby - floating above her crib sometimes. But once she really starts flying, her parents don't know what to do. Then the lady from the government shows up. Dr. Hellion represents a special school where Piper can learn about her powers and how to control them. Piper has been homeschooled her whole life and never had a friend, so she can't wait to go to this new place.But it's not what she expected at all. The new kids are not especially friendly, and there are lots of rules to follow. She's not even allowed to fly. When can she see her parents again? What's really going on?I really liked this book. It was a book group pick, but for some reason I couldn't get the book so I missed it that month. I'm glad I went back and read it. It was a lot of fun.
  • (4/5)
    Piper McCloud was born and raised on a normal country farm in a normal country area. Piper, however, is far from the norm. Able to float from infancy, things grew immensely more complex when she learned she could fly--restrained by her mother and rejected by her community, she welcomes the opportunity to go off and learn with a government program when it comes to collect her. At the institution, she meets children gifted in other ways and happily allows herself to be grafted into their family, but something lurks in the background that isn't quite right. I first discovered this book at Barnes and Noble because a friend and I were hanging out in the children's section reliving our youths by pointing out books we loved as kids, had read as kids and yes, even hated as kids. True to form we were being a touch louder than perhaps was welcomed, and manage to get in the way of a young lady [indeterminate age, probably around ten or so] who was, in fact, looking for this book. We ended up chatting a little [when offered or imagining an opening, I always like to ask what people read] and she told me that she wanted to read it. I don't recall why, but I looked at it, was intrigued, and then put it back to buy the fourth Percy Jackson, which I have yet to read [and will remedy soon enough, I am sure...then again, I never did finish Spiderwick either. Oi!]. Then, the next day, Mikey and I wound up at another BN. I gave in and bought the silly book. Today I read it, more or less, in one sitting. But it's a kid's book, not too deeply written and quite engaging. Which is basically what I think of it. No, really! The book was an extremely easy but entertaining read. Forester was a happy balance of diction that did not patronize early readers and wouldn't send them to the dictionary every five minutes. She captured a lot of the spirit of youth and the drama therein with Piper and her dealings with the others--unexpected judgment and rejection from the local kids when she first meets them [even without letting them know about her talents], and then the cliquish/clannish behaviors of the children in the institution. We see the highs and lows within Piper too, watching her learn and grow and be subjected to things that no one, let alone a child, should have to handle. Something that delighted me beyond all reason, however, was the pacing--everything happens without an interruption of flow. The reader is not left in a pool of worthless babbling description or inane dialogue while waiting for the actual story to progress. There are even times when Ferguson toys with the flow of time by breaking it down from minute to minute and building tension. If it were a film [and I would not be surprised if this became one], you would seriously be holding your breath as all this mayhem went on. It's a very sweet, actiony story with characters you can get behind. Again, it's not life-changing or soul-moving, but it's pretty awesome. I have but one complaint but will form it in a request to the general populace: I know that a lot of people really want to write novels--something I can completely appreciate--but I would like to request that all of you contemporary novelists-to-be politely refrain from allowing your typing habits learned from IMs and so forth become part of your story presentation. This includes but is not limited to denoting emphasis through excessive repeated exclamation points [!!!!!], question marks [?????] and bold text [!?!?!?]. It is, as a rule, unnecessary if you have managed to do your job correctly in building the proper context surrounding the incident and line, which, hopefully, you have. Thank you. 
  • (5/5)
    Piper McCloud can fly…however the small farm town she lives in cannot accept such a thing. Interest comes from a woman who runs a facility where there are other children with special abilities. And there the adventure really begins. Great story about friendship, loyalty, standing up to the man (or woman in this case), and being true to who you really are. Sound like there could be a sequel…Ages 10+
  • (3/5)
    This is the story of Piper, a girl who can fly. It is also the story of both the people who would take this gift away from her and those who struggle to protect and justify her uniqueness. Who among us has not dreamt at some point in our lives of being able to glide through the air like a cloud. Would we be willing to give up this gift? The book takes a while to get up to speed, but then it takes off and soars. It seems to suffer a bit from being a trifle verbose in the opening chapters. I did like the use of dialect for developing Piper's character. Younger readers may find the story slow going at first, but it pays to stay the course. They will be rewarded with the action and the lessons learned in the later chapters.
  • (5/5)
    I got this book from our local library to read to my 7yr old at bed time quickly i got hooked and each night i found myself reading more and more after she was sleeping. This is the story of Piper McCloud a 9 yr old girl who has a special gift of flying , that started when she was a baby. When exposed to the small town she lived in Dr Hellion shows up and takes her away to "help" her and soon Piper meets pther kids who have other talents. The story gets in to all kinds of twist and turns and you find out the "school " the kids are at is trying to make them normal ... but i don't want to spoil the rest ... have fun reading this one .. just remeber there are a few dark places that might scare smaller children.
  • (5/5)
    Although this book had some over cutesy parts (names mostly - McCloud for the girl who could fly, Bella Lovely for the girl who could make things beautiful and was always cheerful, etc.), it was still an entertaining read. I enjoyed the trials of a young outcast in a very closed community and how she overcame them all. I loved the battle between Conrad and Piper and all that happens at the Institute. And the relationship between Piper and her parents nearly brought me to tears. If you can handle the overdone parts that play to a really young audience, it is a very good story, if a bit predictable in parts.
  • (1/5)
    I had read a really intriguing review about this book, and waited for a long time to read it - it seemed like lots of people had it on hold. But once I started reading it, I had a really hard time finishing it - I just did not like it at all. Part of it was the combination of a feel-good book and science fiction. Piper is a girl who can fly - it is her special talent, and she is taken away to a special facility once it is discovered that she can fly. It turns out that this special facility is actually called INSANE and it is a facility to make people more normal. This book seemed like a combination of the HIVE books and the Maximum Ride series, except worse. I really did not like the writing style - it seemed to be too wordy and sort of condescending. This book seems like it will probably have a series - at the end all the kids have escaped and gone back to normal life, but I don't think it will be normal for long. Regardless, I won't be reading the next one.
  • (4/5)
    When Piper reveals to the townfolk that she can fly, she is whisked away to a secret institute in Antarctica with other talented children--and unusual plants and animals. There she discovers a dreadful secret. I would have liked this a lot better when I was ten, but it's pretty good even to an adult reader.
  • (4/5)
    What a great book! Part fable, part sci-fi. The unstoppable Piper makes an excellent lead character and I was rooting for her the whole way!
  • (3/5)
    I don't really know what to make of this book. It seems to freely borrow from Harry Potter and the Golden Compass, but still be something unique. The character names are ridiculous at times (evil Mrs. HELLion, Boris Yeltsinov) and yet the story works. It's a solid middle school age fantasy that should interest young readers. More sophisticated readers though will find the plot thin and the ending a little too pat. But the message is clear -- everyone is unique & should relish in that.