Do you enjoy a good story with compelling and memorable heroes and heroines? What if they’re homeschoolers, too – that’s even better, right? This monthly column features homeschooled characters in literature and film. Wish you had your own copy of the book or movie? Just click on the product image and it will take you to the author’s site or Amazon to buy it!
Wings is the debut young adult fantasy romance novel by author Aprilynne Pike. It’s the first of four books about a 15-year-old girl named Laurel who discovers that she is a faerie sent to live among humans and guard the gateway to Avalon.
When Laurel was about three years old, she was found in a basket on the doorstep of Sarah and Mark. Homeschooled by her adoptive mom and dad, Laurel has enjoyed a sheltered life near the small town of Orick, California, in the vicinity of the Redwood National and State Parks. The land they live on has been in her mother’s family since the Gold Rush days.
But then her father buys a bookstore, which was always a dream of both her parents. They move to Crescent City, and Laurel is enrolled in public school. Upon entering the 10th grade at Del Norte High School, Laurel has some adjustments to make. For one thing, she is not at all like the other teens. Sunlight seems to shine through her fair skin, she never gets cold, she craves being outdoors, and she eats a strictly vegan diet.
Despite her differences, she soon befriends a classmate named David – a sweet, scientific-minded boy – who is accepting and supportive of Laurel and her eccentricities. Things are looking up for Laurel until a bump between her shoulder blades sprouts into a small bud. It grows to the size of a softball and blooms as a flower with foot-long petals.
Hesitant to tell her parents about this unusual affliction, Laurel confides in David, and together they investigate the strange phenomenon of her “wings” or blossom. David examines Laurel’s tissue under a microscope and sees that her cells are more plant-like than human.
On a trip back to the family home, Laurel’s situation becomes even more complicated when she encounters handsome Tamani. Laurel finds herself inexplicably drawn to him, and he provides many of the answers that she has been seeking. Tamani tells Laurel that she is not human, but rather is a plant; or more specifically, a faerie. Laurel was meant to inherit the land that holds the gate to Avalon, which has been guarded by the faeries for ages. This plan was nearly thwarted when Laurel’s family moved away.
When a creepy real estate agent pressures Laurel’s parents to sell their land, the teens become suspicious. Soon they are fighting for their lives in a centuries-old battle between faeries and trolls. Laurel must help keep the faeries’ secret, protect her family, and sort out her confused feelings (she is torn between her love for David and her love for Tamini), while struggling to understand her own identity and her place in both worlds.
Wings has been compared to the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. The authors actually do come from similar backgrounds. Both are Mormons, and both were first-time novelists at the time their books were written. Aprilynne Pike was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. She earned her B.A. in Creative Writing from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. Stephenie Meyer also grew up in Phoenix. She attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where she received a B.A. in English. Meyer endorsed Pike’s novel via a cover blurb, which reads, “Aprilynne Pike’s Wings is a remarkable debut; the ingenuity of the mythology is matched only by the startling loveliness with which the story unfolds.”
Wings was released on May 5, 2009, and became a New York Times Best Seller in its first week of sales. It reached #1 on the Children’s Chapter Books list in its second week. Wings was also a Publishers Weekly Bestseller and went on to become an international bestseller in 2010. Romantic Times awarded Wings a “Top Pick,” calling it “an enthralling story of danger and love. This re-interpretation of the faerie story is one that will captivate readers with its plausibility and imagination.”
The sequel to Wings, titled Spells, was released on May 4, 2010. The third book in the series, Illusions, was released May 3, 2011. The series concludes with Destined which was released on May 1, 2012. (Grades 6-10.)
As homeschoolers, it’s always exciting to read a book – or see a movie – about characters who are homeschooled (even if they are fictional!). Have you read a book or watched a movie that fits in this category? Send your book report or movie review to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may publish it!