Sarah's Stars

Aprilynne Pike. Wings
HarperTeen $22.50 ISBN 978-0-06-166803-6 304 pg.
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 15

All of the petals were tinged a dark blue at the center that faded to the softest sky blue in the middle and white at the ends. The edges were ruffled and looking eerily like the African violets her mother painstakingly grew in their kitchen. There must have been twenty of the soft, petal-like strips. Maybe more.

Laurel turned her front to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

Laurel is a girl who definitely has an otherworldly quality about her. She's strong and slim. She prefers only to eat organic fruits and vegetables, otherwise she'll get sick. She can't remember ever having bled. Her hair is soft and shiny but using shampoo makes it oily and brittle. And her eyes are almost completely colourless. But the weirdest thing about her is that she was left on her adoptive parents' doorstep as a baby. Who are her real parents?

After moving from their secluded property to suburbia, Laurel realizes that the qualities she has about her may make it hard to fit in at school. But fitting in is the last of her worries now! A hard lump on her back blossoms into, well, a blossom! And soon enough Laurel and her maybe-boyfriend David are drawn into a secret magical world; a world of beauty, great power and danger.

The first thing that drew me to the book Wings was the astounding cover art. And when a book has a particularly good cover, I expect a good story. I know, I know, don't judge a book by its cover, but sometimes you just feel as if the cover reflects the story itself, good or bad. Sometimes this is definitely not true because I have read wonderful books with terrible covers and horrible books with beautiful covers but in this case, Wings, for the most part, delivered. The premise was great. It sounded beautiful and exciting. Laurel herself is a lovely character. She's unique, for one thing, and her mindset is refreshing. And the supporting characters such as David, Tamani and Chelsea keep the story moving, without being annoying.

But on the other hand, while the story began well, it didn't necessarily develop well. Before reading this book, I'd been hearing high praise about it, so I was looking forward to a shining gem of a novel. While it certainly entertained me and kept me reading, I really didn't feel as if there was anything to distinguish it from any other contemporary fantasy books out there. The plot was there, and so were the characters but it just didn't deliver as well as it could have for me. The build-up to the point where Laurel discovers her identity and her new "wings" was the excitement of the story but after that, my interest slowly petered out. Evil trolls trying to take over the world? Yawn, been there, done that. So while the first half of the book was wonderful and almost surreal in its loveliness, I really wasn't impressed with the second half. But a possible love triangle, a hidden world of faeries and an interesting enough main character will still keep me on the lookout for a sequel.

I give Aprilynne Pike's Wings three and one-half stars.


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