When Laurel, who has never been quite a typical teenage girl, moves to a new town and starts public school (she’d previously been homeschooled by her hippie parents), one would think that meant her life was becoming pretty ordinary. While she misses being outdoors all the time, she’s getting along pretty well at her new school, and she’s made a couple of friends. All seems to be going okay, but that’s not exactly the truth; when Laurel’s family moved, her life was unknowingly taking a turn for the not-so-normal.

This becomes apparent when Laurel sprouts a giant wing-like flower on her back. When Laurel was three, she was left on her parents’ doorstep in a basket, with no knowledge of where she came from–but no one could have predicted this. It turns out she’s not even human; she’s a faerie. 

She was sent to her parents to guard the land that they lived on, land that holds something very important to the faeries, but when they got an offer to buy the land and her family moved to a new town, things suddenly became dangerous for the faeries. The gate to Avalon that they have protected for ages is now threatened, and Laurel must help save the faeries’ secret, protect her family, sort out her confused feelings for a classmate, David, and a faerie, Tamani, and figure out her own identity and place in both worlds. 

Wings is a lovely debut novel. Aprilynne Pike is a wonderful writer, world builder, and storyteller; it grabbed me immediately, and I was completely absorbed in this story and unable to do much of anything else until I finished it. 

The characters seemed so real, particularly Laurel’s friend Chelsea; I probably would have been quite annoyed with her if I’d had to hang out with her in real life (though I suspect I’m similarly tactless sometimes; it’s something I’m working on), I loved Aprilynne Pike’s ability to write a character who was so believable. David, however, was a little inconsistent sometimes, and while I liked him, he was sometimes elusive; I still don’t feel like I got a real feel for who he was. I can use some adjectives that describe him, but I still don’t have a full grasp of his personality. That’s the best way I can put it. As for Laurel, I liked her, too, but I also felt like she made some weird decisions and missed the obvious sometimes! For example, SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER STOP READING SPOILER AVERT EYES when her father was sick, and she had found out that her faerie power was making potions, it never ocurred to her to try to make a potion to cure him. Even if it probably wouldn’t have worked, I can’t believe she never thought of it. END SPOILER END SPOILER END SPOILER. I also thought it was a little surprising that, despite her close relationship with her parents, she didn’t tell them about the growth on her back, especially when it was just a big lump and she thought it might be cancer or something. However, regardless of how I felt about Laurel’s stupidity sometimes, it did not significantly detract from the excellency of the novel. 

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters and the story and the writing (and the cover!), and I was thrilled to read on Aprilynne Pike’s website that this is one of four books about Laurel, because even though this story felt complete on its own, I still didn’t feel like Laurel’s story was over. 

Five out of six windows: