Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Wall and the Wing by Laura Ruby

This young adult fantasy novel takes place in an alternate version of New York City where some pretty strange things are going on. Most people can fly, for instance - so birds are revered, cats are considered vermin and those born without flying abilities are mockingly called "leadfeet". There are also some very odd creatures living in the city's subway system - rat people, punks, albino alligators and terrible musicians. (OK, maybe that last one is not TOO different from some modern day subway systems.) Then there's the odd, reclusive professor with a garden growing on his head...

The Wall and the Wing centers on the adventures of two children, nicknamed Gurl and Bug, who meet up in an orphanage where none of the children can remember their past and the matron, Mrs Terwiliger, is Miss Hannigan's evil twin. The discovery that Gurl has the very rare ability to make herself completely invisible leads to all kinds of interesting problems for both children. Eventually, they manage to find happy endings in spite of the nefarious adults in their lives who don't have their best interests at heart.

This was a cute book - it managed to put a fun and creative spin on some rather tired storytelling devices. If there's a 9-13 year old fantasy fan in your life, you might want to suggest this book next time you visit the library. I'm going to see if I can convince my own picky 11 year old bookworm to give it a try.

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