The Girl Who Could Fly
|Publisher||Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, Inc., Scholastic|
The Girl Who Could Fly is a bestselling children's novel by Victoria Forester.
The story starts with Betty McCloud, and the doctor says that she is pregnant. Betty is too old to have children, and Millie Mae Miller spreads a rumor that Betty's child is a crazy person who isn't in its head. The novel is about Piper McCloud, a country girl who lives in Lowland County with her mom (Betty McCloud) and her dad (Joe McCloud). Piper had previously been able to float as a baby. As she got older, about nine years old, she learned to fly by watching mother birds push their fledglings out the nest.
Her first attempt was successful. Piper jumped off the roof and ended up flying. From all the sounds, her mom and dad think it's someone hanging around the roof. When they figure out it's Piper, Betty nearly faints.
After seeing her daughter fly, Betty warns Piper not to fly but Piper doesn't understand.
Piper gives another try on flying and secretly teaches herself how to. 1. You don't need to jump. 2. Think of the sky and nothing else.
Betty notices Piper not-as-enthusiastic and figures out she's flying.
A few days later, Betty tells Piper that they'll be going to the Fourth of July picnic, Piper gets excited because it would be a chance to make friends. However, she instantly loses her new friend, Susie Miller right when she made a friend, because of the mentioning about her mother, Milly, kicking the butt of a dog. Susie is scared, and not knowing that Piper can fly, thinks she is spying or stalking her family.
Piper embarrasses herself when she keeps missing the ball during the game while Milly Mae Miller keeps sneering at her. Piper then cheats angrily and flies in the air to catch the ball. The next morning Milly is greeted with reporters trying to get the latest scoop on 'The Girl Who Could Fly', attracting an evil scientist named Dr. Letitia Hellion who was determined to wipe out all special abilities, easily brainwashing brainwash the children.
Whisked away by Dr Letitia Hellion, a stunning agent who works at a school with children with 'special' abilities, Piper eventually agrees to reside in the academy and board, on the condition that she does not fly at first. Her father gives her a hand carved bird tied to a blue ribbon wrapped in a handkerchief before she leaves.
She arrives at Level Thirteen, where all the children live, including Conrad (high intelligence), Smitty (x-ray vision), Kimber (electrical manipulation), Violet (shrinking and growing), Nalen and Ahmed (weather manipulation), Daisy (super strength), Jasper (unknown), Lily (telekinesis), Bella (optimism, creates rainbows) and Myrtle (super speed that matches Sonic the Hedgehog). Dr Hellion explains they foster not only humans but plants and animals with special talents as well. She meets the other members of the academy as well and is teased by Conrad, who. Conrad destroys Bella's flower that she had grown for Science, and takes an immediate dislike to Piper.
At lunch, Piper's glass slides back and forth, which is eventually found to be controlled telekinetically by Lily, who Piper turns the tables on and ends up spilling Lily's own water on her dress and earning the approval of all the classmates. She finds the food delicious. When back in class, Conrad bullies Jasper, a boy who apparently forgot his talent because Nurse Tolle "yelled at him so badly", and bashes his basket up. He tricks Piper into flying to save herself from falling to her death, which causes her to be nearly expelled. Bella is seen making rainbows. At first, everyone cheers, until they realize Bella is crying. Conrad offers to take her to Nurse Tolle. Piper later bonds with Dr Hellion and the kids. Conrad finally pushes her to her tipping point, and during the graduation of a dull-looking Bella, steals her hand carved bird and chucks it in the trash. She fights with Conrad and they are both sent to Dr Hellion's office.
While on their way, Piper escapes to the incinerator and meets a growling rose, which a machine nearby sprays a black substance on it. A tiny drop lands on Piper's arm and it burns her, and she feels sorry for the rose. She meets a turtle with a heavy block crushing its back and decides to leave her bird and save the animals. The turtle, being freed from the block, bounces playfully around the room. It escapes out of a window. Whilst trying to catch it, Piper finds the black cricket (whom she later calls Sebastian) she met and she finds he is being bound with sticky glue. Using some Q tips, she gets rid of it and keeps the cricket. She hears Jessie and Moo coming and hides in a room, where she finds a giraffe. She strokes him lovingly because he is chained by the legs, and it glows in happiness. Whilst hiding, she hears a voice, which is found to be Dr Hellion's. When the scientists find the black cricket missing, CCTV reveals Piper took it, and Dr Hellion walks to her office, thinking she is there. Piper flies with difficulty to her office and spots a phone, which she uses to dial her Ma and Pa. Unfortunately, Conrad ends the call and dissects the phone, proving it to be bugged. He hands her her wooden bird and explains he made a replica and threw the replica in the trash. He tells her to keep the cricket and play along. Conrad immediately blurts to Dr Hellion that Piper was hiding something, and tells her Bella took a black cricket and let Piper touch it. Dr Hellion questions him about a fight over him throwing Piper's bird in the trash, which he denies and Piper holds her bird up. After lights out, Conrad explains that the academy, called I.N.S.A.N.E, tries to make everything that walks through its doors normal. Through the food, they put a formula in tailored to every human to deactivate their abilities and do the same thing with the animals and plants and if all fails, destroys them. Conrad was only picking on Piper so she could wake up and fly. Piper refuses to escape with him unless the rest are going, and begins to encourage them to dream about using their talents in a good way. The only person she can't get an answer out of is Jasper, who is scheduled to graduate next (when someone has fully lost their power). They tell the kids and plan an escape plan, which fails with Dr Hellion catching them. Dr Hellion puts Piper in a M.O.L.D., where J. comes and tries to get her out, but she refuses. J. leaves. Sebastian comes and sings to her, revealing his talent as a cricket, but is effectively killed by Dr Hellion with agent A. Agent's shoe, which causes Piper to black out.Conrad was confused on how he could have possibly failed and starts to stay in bed. She arrives a few weeks later, after Conrad awakes from weeks of lying in bed, thinking that Piper might have the answer. The kids find that Piper has forgotten who she was, on top of being crippled, and Conrad suggests they leave without her. Jasper refuses and finally remembers his talent, which is healing. He heals Piper and she remembers herself and how to fly. They instead do not escape but revolt. Piper and Dr Hellion fight, leading to Dr Hellion uncovering the secret ability to fly. She finally falls into the icy cliffs then remembering a terrible flash-back about her younger sister Sarah who died from falling into a cliff when she and Dr Hellion were out flying. Then Dr Hellion stops flying and Piper tries to save her but Dr Hellion falls into the icy cliffs below and kills herself, and several months later, Conrad joins Piper as a part of her family after being abandoned by his. They go to the picnic, along with their friends from I.N.S.A.N.E and win a baseball game. Lowland County has been told that Piper had pulled an illusion on them and was sent away to an academy to straighten her out. Finally, Piper and Conrad talk, and Piper flies into the night sky, towards the stars.
The book won the Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, the Black Eyed Susan Award, Booklist Editors' Choice, Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award Master List, Indiana Young Hoosier Award Master List and the Utah Beehive Book Award Master List Awards. The novel was under the Top 10 First Novels for Youth.
- Macmillan: The Girl Who Could Fly: Victoria Forester: Books, Retrieved on 6 September 2010
- J. could possibly be Johnny, Dr. Hellion's brother who was taken away as a child.