Monday, 31 August 2009
Is it a bird?
The Girl Who Could Fly - Victoria Forester.
My plans to indulge in the Booker Longlist went awry this weekend when I failed to be at home when the delivery man tried to bring me my parcel. (I was a bit cross about this as it also has Mr Bookworm's anniversary present in it - oh well better late than never!)
Instead I lost myself in a book that really surprised me. The Girl Who Could Fly was included in a big box of random books and I knew nothing about it, and the first few chapters really led me astray. I thought I was going to be reading just the sort of book that cram my shelves - an old fashioned American adversity tale.
Piper McCloud is different from all of the other children around and to protect her from teasing she has been homeschooled by her loving but strict parents. I assumed that this was going to be a tale of overcoming adversity and making good in the community after Piper saves the day in some dramatic way - and this isn't a criticism I love tales like this!
However Piper is special because she can fly. Unaided. Lots of people are interested in this and once Piper lets her talent be seen in public many people try to exploit her. Piper decides that for her safety, and that of her parents she will go away to school and learn how to use her special powers safely.
And this is where the book takes a sharp right angle from expectation and becomes a gripping thriller with great sci-fi undertones.
I love being surprised by books, especially ones as well written and compelling as this one. It would have been a good book had it followed the lines I'd assigned it, it became a great book with the twist.
The copy I read was an American hardback and I think that the cover helped misguide me some what. the book will be out in the UK in January 2010 and the cover is going to be very different:
I'm not sure that I'd have necessarily chosen it from a pile with this cover and I don't think the story would have surprised me quite as much as it did.